UK groups win out over Scandinavians

UK design groups are more dynamic than their Scandinavian counterparts and are better able to “identify new market opportunities in expanding and robust industries”, according to a new report.

The report, compiled by UMIST’s School of Management in Manchester, reveals findings from a five-year research project comparing strategic effectiveness of consultancies in the UK, Denmark and Sweden. Some 184 UK consultancies and 78 Danish and Swedish consultancies were surveyed.

Researcher Barny Morris, who worked on the report with Dr Margaret Bruce, says: “UK firms are more likely to generate formal business plans and regularly review them.” He adds: “They are also more likely to invest in marketing personnel to seek new business.”

This approach allows designers to concentrate on design, while the consultancy markets itself aggressively in both domestic and overseas markets. “As a result, UK design is coming out of recession more healthily than its Danish and Swedish counterparts,” says Morris.

But the UK design industry faces a more cut-throat market than Denmark and Sweden. And while the more intense competitive environment in which UK groups trade is encouraging the “shift towards design expertise being regarded as a commodity”, it is also creating a scenario where clients are basing their choice of design supplier on price rather than the best design, warns the report.

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