Monday, September 17, 2012

Europe's Design Leadership - Design for Growth & Prosperity

This afternon, the European Design Leadership Board set up by the European Commission under its European Design and Innovation Initiative, handed its report, 'Design for Growth and Prosperity' to Commission Vice-President Tajani in Helsinki.

The Commission's Press Release outlines the six strategic areas for policy action. They are:

- The global stage
- Europe's innovation system
- Europe's enterprises
- The public sector
- The research system
- The education system

The Report sets out in detail the Board's 21 wide-ranging recommendations within these key areas.

This much-anticipated report, (which I have had the privilege to edit with Tapio Koskinen the Director of the Secretariat of the Leadership Board and working closely with the team at the DG Enterprise of the European Commission), if taken on board by the wide range of relevant and expert stakeholders and actors intended, will have an impact in bringing a more systemic approach to policy-making for design at the European Level. It will stimulate actions and programmes across Europe to assist in embedding design as a key component of innovation success for the benefit of all of Europe's citizens.

It targets both the private and public sectors as well as governments across Europe. It focuses on the needs of SMEs and seeks to support the journey of growth for medium companies with the ambition and capacity to become successful, design-aware, large companies contributing to Europe's economy. And of course, it seeks to embed design-led innovation behaviours within the hundreds of thousands of SMEs that make up the greater proportion of Europe's GDP and where Europe's design innovation future will be determined. Design Research, design consultancy, design education and design management are all seen as key tools for user-centred, design-led innovation.

I offer my congratulations to the Commission for its foresight in setting up the European Design Leadership Board and acknowledge the role of the Design Leadership Board members in bringing the European design agenda to a next level of potential.

Whilst there is no doubt that the challenges still to be faced remain daunting and complex, there now exists for the first time, a firm policy basis upon which to grow Europe's design capacity.

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