Friday, 15 January 2010

design: by all? - day 2, closing

(this is the fourth and last part of my notes on the event about design promotion and design policies in the european union, organized by apci under the competent coordination of jean schneider on 11 and 12 january 2010. see the first three parts on my previous posts.)

design and innovation at the european comission:

the last presentation of the conference was given by charlotte arwidi, from the european commission, giving further information on the development of the theme design and innovation from the perspective of the commission. as an introduction it were shown the video testimonials of françoise le bail, deputy director-general of enterprise and industry and jean-noël durvy, director of innovation policy at the european commission. she pointed that the european commission had stated that design should be an integral part of innovation policies, showing a slide with the following conclusions taken from the document “towards a competitive, innovative and eco-efficient europe – a contribution by the competitiveness council to the post-2010 lisbon agenda(item 33, p 8 - download it here):

(the council) “considers that the european innovation plan should include all forms of innovation in both the public and the private sector, including non-technological innovation, research-based innovation, innovation in services, design and eco-innovation”

charlotte arwidi also quoted the manifesto for for creativity and innovation in europe, released by several lead-thinkers last year in the context of the european innovation year of 2009, as well as the document already referred above, design as a driver of user-centered innovation, which, in short:

- analyses the contribution of design to innovation;

- broadens the concept of design from a policy perspective;

- concludes that design has untapped potential as driver of competitiveness and innovation as not all companies, sectors and member states make full use of design;

- suggests that design could be an integral part of european innovation policy.

(note: this is indeed one of the core importance documents released about design policies, which I suggest you to download from the link above)

notwithstanding all the development already reached, charlotte pointed as the main barriers identified to the better use of design:

- lack of awareness and understanding of the potential of design among policy makers

- lack of knowledge and tools to evaluate the rate of return on design investment

- lack of awareness and understanding among potential design customers, i.e. private and public organizations

at the closing of the presentation, were indicated some possible next steps:

- the launch of an initiative as part of the new european innovation policy?

- a platform / community / initiative to develop priorities and joint actions?

- improve evidence base on design, e.g. with oecd (organization for economic co-operation and development)?

- addressing innovation skills, including design?

- mainstreaming design into other policy areas?

- label for "responsible design"?

- innovation labs?

a new plan should be released in the next months (spring 2010), and its release should be looked after at the innovation unlimited blog or at the enterprise and industry website.

commenting on her presentation (which was, by the way, applauded by the audience in recognition of the work being done in favour of design at the european commission), ian starvik, president of beda (the bureau of european design associations) pointed that the difficult question of assessment for design policies has already been addressed in two design effectiveness awards issued by denmark and the united kingdom (the later promoted by dba, design business association), and soon there will be indicators that could help validate these initiatives.

this was indeed a great closing speech, one bringing hope with the ways design is beginning to be considered by governments or by ultra-governmental organisms. after that, jean schneider and anne marie boutin addressed to the audience just to close the works of the conference, and hoping to meet everyone again next year in paris.

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