Collaborating for a Community Response to Dementia


The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) needed support in the co-design, facilitation, and sensemaking for NVPC’s Dementia Colabs Series. The Colabs Series is a philanthropic initiative pioneered by NVPC and the Community Foundation of Singapore, that brings public, private, and social sector participants together to form a community-based collaborative approach to addressing complex social issues. The Dementia Colabs Series was centered on the aspiration statement, “How might we create a whole-of-community response for a dementia-inclusive Singapore?” NVPC sought a partner with a systems-perspective towards complex social challenges, domain expertise in dementia and eldercare, as well as a track record of effective facilitation for multi-stakeholder collaboration, and appointed Eden for this mission.


Eden’s adopted a systems-level perspective of dementia, aligned with the Colabs framework to Learn, Align, and Act. We first conducted secondary research to gain a high-level overview of the dementia landscape in Singapore to understand existing initiatives and key stakeholders, and to identify major pain-points within the ecosystem. The Colabs Series was structured to guide participants through a journey of 1) Ecosystem Immersion; 2) Problem Definition; and 3) Value Proposition Design.

As part of the Ecosystem Immersion, participants developed emotional resonance with the challenge of dementia by spending time with persons living with dementia (PLWD) and their care partners. We deployed tools such as ecosystem maps and user journey maps to explore the dementia journey in greater detail, from both the PLWD and care partner perspectives. This mapped pain-points to specific moments in the journey, from pre-diagnosis to end-of-life.

For Problem Definition, Eden shared tools and frameworks such as causal loop diagrams and root cause analysis, to allow participants to engage more deeply with the pain-points identified, so as to build an appreciation of interlinkages between issues and identify potential points of intervention. Leveraging the rich network of over fifty participating organisations, comprising gerontologists, day care operators, primary healthcare providers, corporations, community workers, and healthcare technology developers, we surfaced white spaces for innovative solutions while taking stock of existing interventions.

The final session on Value Proposition Design saw participants developing systems-level solutions to the problems identified in previous sessions, guided by a solution canvas which considered the systemic nature of the proposed solution, solution features, and implementation considerations.


Over the course of five months, Eden and NVPC designed and co-led a series of sessions as part of the Dementia Colabs, bringing together 85 cross-sector stakeholders in the dementia ecosystem to work towards realising a whole-of-society response for a dementia-inclusive Singapore.

The discussions yielded refreshed perspectives about dementia from the rich discussions among participants that related to improving dementia diagnosis, raising public understanding and awareness of dementia, introducing alternative care models, and digitalising the dementia journey.

Colabs participants collaborated to materialize four action projects addressing the upstream and downstream aspects of the dementia journey, including an aggregator platform; enhanced campaign for early detection; community engagement strategy; and novel approaches to placemaking. The progress made through the Dementia Colabs will be sustained by the Dementia Colabs Network, an informal group of 30 cross-sector leaders chaired by Dementia Singapore collaborating to realise systems-level action for dementia.

The public report for the Dementia Colabs may be downloaded here.

Created with Sketch. “We partnered Eden to bring the Dementia Colabs to life: Our Aspiration Question was: “How might we stimulate a stronger community response to Dementia?” This is a complex challenge for our aging society where we needed both an empathetic and incisive partner to work with us as we corralled over 80 cross sector stakeholders from the wider ecosystem together into this collective enquiry. Humanising the challenge was a forte of Eden where facilitators authentically shared their personal stakes and experiences with the subject matter and helped us all embody greater compassion and human-ness in tackling what can sometimes be reduced to a technical or medical issue. With Eden’s partnership, we enabled the ecosystem to identify key solution spaces, with stakeholders feeling inspired to step up and lead solution spaces after the closure of the Dementia Colabs series. We enjoyed and learned a great deal working with Eden and appreciate their recommendations to improve future iterations of Colabs.”


Ms. Melissa Kwee


National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre