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Design equals Growth plus Prosperity

Design equals Growth plus Prosperity

Design equals Growth plus Prosperity should have been the title of the 96-page document published by the European Design Leardership Board. This article is a quick look on the Design for Growth and Innovation document, and its implications.

The European Design Leadership Board, published a call for action document at Helsinki, for the member states of the European Union. 21 Suggestions were made. It should be noted that the paper was co-signed by major names in the design industry, mostly people by management orientation. The purpose of the call was to make member states take action towards increasing Europe's design innovation capabilities.
The first action was differentiating European design on the global stage, recommendations for this was: 1 Providing means of collaboration (I would say more conferences from a practical point of view), 2. Promote increased use of design in Industry (again this could be through design awards, design symbols etc, which was not mentioned), 3. More Intellectual Property Protection, 4. Create a Designed in the European Union Label (Which is perhaps not a good idea, as not all designs would have the required qualities to sustain a high level of brand identity).
Design equals Growth plus Prosperity
5. Suggestion is to make scientific research on measuring the impact of design on businesses, this is a very good idea. 6. This suggestion requires more bureaucratic procedures for identification and categorization of design fields. 7. Is to include design for the innovation incubators which is good. 8. Is support for open design, which I think is good, however it is always a question about where the support money goes, who decides it etc. 9. Is to develop policies for the public procurement of innovative solutions. (It sounds very nice, however this could also lead many designers to be excluded from partaking if the legislation is oriented towards high-level offices.)
10. This suggestion says improve access to design management expertise and tools, which is a great idea (however, I think this should not be a subsidy to companies that provide such tools or services, rather an open platform could be made.). 11. This suggestion is about a design leadership program, which would benefit only big companies, it is a pity that SMEs are kind of excluded. 12. This suggestion is very generic, and is about developing programmes to support medium sized companies, I think country-wise design award programs subsidized by governments would be a good approach.
13. This suggestion is about establishing mechanisms to let design know-how to travel between SMEs, large companies, academia and others. My suggestion is the usage of design conferences and awards for this purpose, which is an existing tool that works for dissemination of know-how. 14. Is about supporting SMEs for design involvement. I would say, that companies should be outright given subsidies for design procurement. This is a method followed by many other countries. In most cases a percentage of design costs are covered by the state.
Design equals Growth plus Prosperity
15. Is to recognize and value apprentice-ships and vocational training. I think, many European countries lack designers who have field-experience, this could be a good opportunity for fresh graduates to use their skills. 16. Is a suggestion for increasing usage of design in public sector. Their suggestion is to establish a design lab or commissions, I am against this as this will create excluded societies that channel government money to those who partake in such projects, I think a centralized and open approach would be more beneficial to Europe.
17. Is to help public sector administrators to procure design, their suggestion is through case studies, tool kits, and others. My suggestion is to create a eu-level tool for design tenders, that is open to all citizens, without any cost of submitting projects. Think it like a platform; at European level, guaranteed payments, real projects would definitely attract young talents as well as professional design houses.
18. is Embedding design research in EU research system. I think this is by far the most important suggestion by the paper, as mostly designers find difficulty to participate in EU Framework programs. 19. th suggestion is about creating a EU platform, like the academia website for instance for designers and innovators to come together. I like such platforms, however, I think for all these needs conferences are much effective, instead of so many platforms for everything, I think more conferences could be held, with both academic, and non-academic purposes, this would ensure that new people meet eachother.
Design equals Growth plus Prosperity
20. This suggestion is about raising the level of design literacy, which is a great idea. 21. This is an extension of the 20th suggestion, with details, and I also agree highly on this. This has been a summary of the 21 suggestions by the paper.
Especially the suggestions of increasing the awareness, the inclusion of design research in EU Frameworks, and teaching design at an early age are very very important policy suggestions, which have definitely a great value proposition behind them. However, my insights is that there should have been several more points that are actually the most important elements of design innovation: designers. Especially freelancer designers will not benefit from the majority of applications of these policy suggestions as the major benefits will go to the great enterprises that have the funds to get and hire people to apply for design subsidies.
Here are my other suggestions to improve design innovation. My suggestions focus on not the enterprises but rather the designers who are indeed the primary resource for the innovations. The first suggestion: 1. Organize government-subsidized design awards and competitions, with a lot of award prizes to be distributed to the designers. This helps designers to not only build a portfolio, but also get feedbacks from the jury members, thus increasing their knowhow, furthermore the gala-nights and award ceremonies bring together industry and the designers, making dissemination of information easier.
Second suggestion: Stop working with famous companies, and organizing impossible to join tenders . Let young designers to participate in design tenders and projects organized by governments and public sector, through an international open platform, that does not require thousands of bureaucratic steps to register or partake. My simple suggestion: Make something like for Europe. That's it.
Remove taxes on design and design research completely. Design, it self is research; it involves trying to figure out how to make better products, services etc. Design is education. Design services provided by designers to companies, is in a sense, educating companies to do better. Why Design is taxed directly? Design companies, architects etc should not be required to pay taxes; because their input is very similar to education. You must not tax education. You must not tax design. This is my professional insight as an Economist.
Design equals Growth plus Prosperity
Remove bureaucratic issues from Design protection. Make it easier for designers to register their products without paying tons of money for patents. Make design patents free of charge, and publicly available. Put a 10% royalty fee and 1% fee to the administration. Let designer choose which company would produce their products, enforce these payments but make it easy. Designers are productive, and usually underpaid, by improving the so called intellectual property laws, you will be only protecting the corporate culture who has the necessary funds to patent ideas. Rather, make it easy for designers to disseminate their ideas (that will definitely create innovation) and make money. More money for designers mean more motivation, and opportunity to come with better designs. Allow designers to copy existing products; and built upon them, think it like the pyramid of referrals, they can refer existing patent or design registration, and the previous designer would also get a percentage of fees if someone builts upon his design something better.
Open design? I think it is a great idea. But it will be so good exploited, by companies who would figure out ways to patent the ideas generated in such platforms. As I said earlier, it would make more sense to make sure that designs, especially industrial designs are covered by copyrights (i.e. in an automated way), not patents. Provide a means to help designers register their designs for free such as the service.
I think the EU should create a dissemination network, a quality design magazine with sections for major design, crafts, arts and architecture fields and design research. I underline the quality aspect : The platform, let it be a magazine, a network, a social networking site, should not managed by some uninterested unmotivated unqualified staff that is paid by the EU tax money, but rather a big platform, an existing design magazine or organization for example. BEDA is okay. But professional companies could very well alternatives given the experience in managing such sites. A collaboration would be equally good.
Do not let design mafia rise: This means any policy should not be exclusive but inclusive, and it should not limit anyone to take a part of the pie in the design industry. This means less bureaucracy, more dissemination of opportunities: If there is a tender, it should be known by all, not the select five family members of the design mafia who would invite selected designers to take part. This is serious issue.
Design equals Growth plus Prosperity
Create open spaces, public centers, not some restricted hubs or so called incubators. Create design centers that are: Like public libraries: 1. Anyone can use. 2. Free to use. 3. Has meeting rooms. 4. Open for anyone. 5. Registration is simple. 6. In the city center. 7. Has wifi or internet. 8. Smaller rooms that could be rent for a month. 9. A desk and reception. 10. A free to use lab or 3D machine to make prototypes etc.. What I mean is like building a design guild in each and every city, where young designers could visit to work, to learn etc. Can be expanded further.
Design equals Growth plus Prosperity
More could be added, the summary of my suggestions is to: focus more on the bottom line; the designers, and make the life easy for them, and the rest will follow. In any case, I suggest people to read this paper, it has a lot of intelligent points but as I said, more could be added from a designers perspective, to make it work totally.
Design equals Growth plus Prosperity
Remember, design increases quality of life, well being and everything else; because: Design is making something that makes sense. It is improving existing things, and perceiving and suggestion for new ways of doing things. It is making tools to make life easier, products that are ergonomic, systems that are effective, and life enjoyable. Why tax it? (Through direct taxes or bureaucratic things alike). Embrace and respect design.
Design for Growth and Innovation, European Design Innovation Initiative, "Report and Recommendations of the European Design Leadership Board" ISBN: 978-92-79-25946-3

This article was added on Monday, 27th of January, 2014 at 06.26 am by author Onur Cobanli Tags: design innovation, design for growth, design for prosperity, design for sustainability. Read our copyright policy here.




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