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Foster Community Innovation – Small Shops Cre-Action Lab‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎

what we do
Foster Co-Creation

Small Shops Cre-Action Lab: Connecting Community Actors to Prototype Solutions for Neighbourhoods

Duration: August 2022 – November 2022

Project Partner: Social Enterprise Summit

Project Collaborator: REstore, Life Workshop, Catholic  Diocese of HK Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Workers



The Yau Tsim Mong district (YTM) has long encapsulated the cultural diversity and rich history of Hong Kong, but the prolonged pandemic has sapped its vitality and scarred the lives and local economy that form the very fabric of this neighbourhood. Despite these challenges, the pandemic also brought to light the importance of local small shops in YTM. Their unique role as the anchor for neighbourly support and connections, which often transcend their commercial focus and was further accentuated during the pandemic, makes them valued social capital for community resilience building amid the gloom of a crisis and as the pandemic gradually receded.


The Project

Recognising a window of opportunity to unlock the untapped potential of these small shops and test out alternative ways of collaboration in the community, Good Lab initiated the community programme “Small Shop Cre-Action Lab”, engaging community members and local shops in a co-creation journey. Our goal was simple: to provide a platform where unlikely relationships and synergies can be developed between these community actors. Together, they can leverage their collective creativity to prototype actions to revitalise the post-covid Yau Tsim Mong community.


Our Approach

Leveraging our strength in community engagement as the intermediary, we designed a co-creation journey underpinned by the Design Thinking methodology:


  • Stage 1 – Build relationships through empathy: In most cases, our relationships with local businesses tend to be transactional, and we hope to reshape that. To this end, we organised community tours and knowledge-sharing sessions, where programme participants (i.e. co-creators) connected with local small shops and learnt to see their role, from a different light, in the broader cultural and urban landscape of YTM.
  • Stage 2 – Brainstorm ideas around community challenges and strengths: After their initial touchpoint, co-creators were guided to generate ideas to tackle the challenges faced by the neighbourhood, based on the identified characteristics and strengths of the community.
  • Stage 3 – Prototype experiments with small shops: Co-creators received seed funding to transform their ideas into prototypes. As they continued to refine their community actions, they also discussed with small shops to achieve the desired impact.


The Impact

  • Forged new bonds between 20 community members and over ten local shops, including old artisan shops, multicultural shops, and new businesses helmed by the younger generation. Read the impact story here.
  • Empower community members to become active agents in the continued stewardship of their neighbourhood. Read the impact story here.
  • Three creative actions were prototyped to celebrate the unique landscape of multiculturalism, traditional craftsmanship, and emerging businesses in Yau Tsim Mong.
  • Good Lab published a community map to document these creative actions, as well as fascinating glimpses of life in the neighbourhood collected throughout the journey. Check out them out in this community map.

- A Small Shop Culture and Story Map -