1. What are defined as social issues?
Social issues are problems that influence a considerable number of individuals within a society. It is often a consequence of factors beyond the individual’s control or social environment.
Some example of social issues in Singapore are:
- Income Inequality
- Gender Discrimination
- Rights for foreign/ migrant workers
- Mental Health
- Lack of financial planning/awareness
- Racism/ Racial Inequality
Social issues are different from individual problems. The former requires a collective approach to its solutions, while the latter can be resolved within the immediate power of the individual.
You can find more example of social issues here: https://www.socialchallenges.eu/en-GB/community/4/challenges
2. How to identify a social issue?
Is it perceived to be problematic by a certain group of people/ the public?
Social problems exist when there is certain objective condition and people/public defines it problematic. Social problems exist when people think they are. If there is no perception of a particular social problem as problematic, then it does not exist.
Are there negative consequences to this particular issue?
Does this issue cause a group of people / the public to have concerns? These issues usually adopt certain fundamental values and beliefs that violate the norms and values of society and therefore needs a change. These issues can be detrimental, causing suffering and prevent members of society from developing and using their full potential. These problems in society such as domestic violence, sexism or poverty, causes physical or psychological suffering regardless of cultural or personal in any given society.
3. How can we solve social issues?
1.Understand the problem and the affected stakeholders
Social issues are prevalent all-around society and an important mindset to have is EMPATHY. Put yourself in other people’s shoes. What problems are they facing? Why are they facing them? How is it affecting them?
2. Find out what is the root causes of the problem.
Once detecting the actual factors behind the issue, we are able to formulate a better permanent solution.
3. Rethink traditional processes and adopt successful solutions from other sectors
Redesign the way things are currently being done. As technology is ever-changing, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Get inspiration from other industries to discover what works and what doesn’t.
4. Relook at your problem statement and FEEDBACK!
Once you come up with a solution, ask yourself: “Does it solve the social issue you set out to solve?” Once you have a rough idea of your proposed solution, gather feedback from your stakeholders and make the necessary adjustments to the solution. With a good idea that solves the problem, start to think about implementation, feasibility and the risks of the solution.
4. How have businesses centred themselves around social issues?
1. Improving the affordability of Healthcare
Medical social enterprises such as GP+ Cooperative led by Dr Leong Choon Kit have supported better healthcare by lowering the cost of vaccines to vulnerable and financially challenged groups in our society.
More information can be found here: https://gpplus.coop/
2.Breaking barriers with people with special needs
Runninghour is a sports co-operative that promotes the integration of persons with special needs through running. They include members who are mildly intellectually challenged, physically challenged and visually challenged to join the process of keeping fit. They welcome anyone who is passionate about running to join us as running guides.
Find out more at https://runninghour.com/
3.Leveraging on technology to boost waste reduction
SG Freebie by Sharetings is a community-centric Telegram Channel founded by SNCF scholar Jonathan How in Septemeber 2018 that facilitates the giving and receiving of unwanted, useable items to maximize their use and value and to reduce waste in Singapore.
Check out their various platforms:
Social innovation can’t be achieved overnight. Let’s take our first step in working to solve these problems by developing permanent and sustainable solutions. Act Now!
This article was written by Ee Kaye Lin Tanya, a first-year Business student from the National University of Singapore. Tanya is currently a Campus & Youth intern at SNCF, passionate about creating new ideas and innovation. She enjoys adventures and spending time with her dogs.