In September the members of the European Design Leadership Board handed their report to the Vice President of European Commission Antonio Tajani during the design Innovation Summit in Helsinki. The report contained 21 recommendations about how to raise the profile of design in European business, industry, public sector and wellbeing. In the end of November the representatives of six design for innovation projects around Europe gathered in Brussels to discuss the recommendations and how they will be met in a concrete way. The European Commission has funded these six projects with approximately five million euros, and they involve 46 organizations in 19 countries.
The event was lead by Mr. Bonifacio Garcia Porras, the Head of Innovation Policy for Growth unit in European Commission and organised by Mr. Antti Valle, policy officer of the same unit. “These six projects will be fundamental in fleshing out the action plan”, said Mr. Porras to the representatives in the beginning of the event. “We are committed to growth, to providing jobs for citizens. […] We try to be practical, provide concrete exaamples, and make people understand what we mean when talk about design as a key to innovation. […]We need to make a special effort to be clear, to translate the results into language that are understandable by those who are doing research, making business and working for the citizens in public organizations.”
The six projects are IDeALL (Integrating Design for All in Living Labs), SEE Platform (Sharing Experience Europe), €Design (EuroDesign), DeEP (Design in European Policies), REDI (When Regions support Entrepreneurs and Designers to Innovate), and EHDM.
IDeALL brings together communities of designers and Living Labs to connect and create a common network, to share methodologies and experiment with companies and to disseminate the knowledge through various means, such as events, conferences and training.
SEE Platform is aimed at building a pan-European platform for enabling different actors to understand innovation growth, engaging policy makers in practical workshops, communicating with regions that don’t acknowledge design in the policy level, and building a bank of evidence and rationale for integrating design with policies.
€Design addresses the question of measuring the value of design: how can we measure the impact of design in GDP growth and why is this important; how can be build the capacity of measuring design as a factor of production?
DeEP is a consortium of seven organizations, whose main goal it is to understand the impact of design innovation policies and to evaluate them in action. The main focus is on non-technological, user-centered innovation in the levels of a general framework, indicators, macro level (EU, national, regional…), micro level (specific initiatives), main beneficiaries and the policy-making apparatus.
EHDM works in transferring design management know-how and knowledge from the private to the public sector. The project aims at co-designing and adapting design tools that are built for private, often commercial sector, to be used in public sector. This will help the administrators to understand that
REDI describes itself as a very much down to earth project, where the aim is to encourage regional implementation of design from the point of view that every country, region and even city has a situation of its own. The three problems with use of design in SMEs REDI is addressing is the lack of awareness and uneven support f design practices, the lack of creative industry resources (the design students tend to gravitate to larger cities as they graduate) and the lack of integration in the broader picture of innovation.
In addition to charting how well the projects are meeting the recommendations of the leadership board, one of the main aims of the gathering was to find points of synergy between the different initiatives and to find areas where the projects can either collaborate for better efficiency, or avoid duplicating work to avoid unnecessary costs. With projects that have such a huge reach both of these points are extremely important matters.