Taking baby-steps towards social innovation

Taking baby-steps towards social innovation

A CityU team seeks to empower retirees and working parents via an app that can help boost social harmony

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(From left) Dr Yanto Chandra, Hung Sze-wing, Chan Yin-lam, Yeung Hoi-ing and Thadine Ng Wing-yin created the app, Nanbor.
Photo: City University of Hong Kong

We are passionate about social innovation. Our final year project in the Social Innovation and Public Policy course was called “Nanbor”, a web and mobile app designed to have a positive social impact.

After receiving advice from Dr Yanto Chandra, the award-winning teacher who taught the course, we presented our project in social enterprise competitions.

Nanbor connects working parents and early retirees in the same neighbourhood. Through the app, the latter can offer childcare services to their neighbours who are working parents. This benefits both groups of people: parents can get help on a short term or regular basis, while retirees can better utilise their free time and feel good about doing something for the community.


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We discovered that many retired people had plenty of spare time and felt bored and lonely. We also found that working parents often faced problems trying to manage their children’s free time. This was because they did not have anybody to take care of their children while they were at work. Many parents hire private tutors to “look after” their kids; they don’t actually need any extra lessons.

So we thought of “matching” the two groups who both needed help. This way, retirees can pass on their knowledge and experience to the younger generation, and the children, in turn, will respect the elderly and learn from them. The parents will also be happy, since they know that a trustworthy neighbour is looking after their children.

We entered Nanbor for the Challenge Cup 2016, where we were the Second Winner in the Social Enterprise Category. We were then invited to join the final round of the competition in November 2016 in Sichuan (四川), where we won a gold prize in the same category.

We are taking “baby steps” towards becoming social innovators and tackling social problems that need urgent solutions.

Thadine Ng Wing-yin, a Year Three student in Marketing Information Management, Department of Information Systems, City University of Hong Kong; Yeung Hoi-ing, a Year Three student in Business Economics, Department of Economics and Finance, City University of Hong Kong; Chan Yin-lam, a Year Three student in Professional Accountancy, Department of Accountancy, City University of Hong Kong; Hung Sze-wing, a Year Three student in Professional Accountancy, Department of Accountancy, City University of Hong Kong

Edited by Ginny Wong

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Baby-steps to innovation

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