Introducing the European Design Innovation Initiative (EDII)


Design has been recognised as a key discipline and activity to bring ideas to the market in the Innovation Union – Europe’s 2020 flagship initiative.

Strategic use of design in all sectors of the society contributes to user-driven innovation for the benefit of the citizens. In the business sector, design plays a key role in the strategies of enterprises as an intangible asset for innovative companies, growth and jobs. In the public sector, design contributes to user-driven, innovative and cost-effective services. It also offers innovative solutions to policy-making processes that involve complex issues.

To exploit the full potential of design for innovation and to reinforce the link between design, innovation and competitiveness, the European Commission launched the European Design Innovation Initiative (EDII) in January 2011. The initiative aims to raise awareness about design as a driver of innovation in Europe. Another key goal is to enhance the role of design as a key discipline for bringing new ideas to the market and for transforming these ideas into user-friendly and appealing products, processes or services for enterprises and public services in the EU.

At the Commission, EDII is placed under Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry in the Innovation Policy Unit.

European Design Leadership Board

The European Design Leadership Board was set up by the European Commission to draft proposals to enhance the role of design in innovation policy.

In order to ensure the crucial link between design and innovation, the Board consists of 15 experts with diverse backgrounds, representing business/industrial sectors, higher education, a professional design association, national and regional agencies promoting design and innovation, and an umbrella organisation for SMEs.

The Board is working hard to finalise its policy recommendations on the value of design for Europe 2020 strategy. The recommendations will be presented to Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani in September 2012.

EDII Secretariat

As a result of a call for tenders, Aalto University was selected by the European Commission to run the Secretariat for the European Design Innovation Initiative. The Secretariat’s first task was to help the Commission in establishing the European Design Leadership Board.

The EDII Secretariat assists the Commission and the Board in the establishment, development, operation and promotion of EDII by providing secretarial services to the Board and by acting as a coordinator, promoter and animator of EDII.

The Secretariat organises events, such as the meetings of the Design Leadership Board, the Co-Design Workshop and European Design Innovation Summit, and ensures communication and dissemination of information concerning EDII and its Design Leadership Board.

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