Innovation minister hints at NHS plan for design

Minister for Innovation Ian Pearson is pledging his support for the design industry, following the release of the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills’ White Paper, Innovation Nation.

Minister for Innovation Ian Pearson is pledging his support for the design industry, following the release of the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills’ White Paper, Innovation Nation.

Published last week with the Budget, the paper sets out a range of initiatives to boost innovation in the public sector.

In an exclusive interview with Design Week, Pearson says, ‘The Government has not given design the prominence it deserves. What we know about user-led innovation clearly emphasises the importance of design in developing new products, processes and ways of working. One of our key messages is that we want to support innovation across every area – manufacturing, public services, retail and the third sector.’

Innovation Nation sets out DIUS’s intention to roll out the Design Council’s Designing Demand initiative across public services. The scheme was launched in 2006 to teach business executives how to manage design.

‘I believe the same design approach that works with private business can also be applied more broadly in the public sector,’ says Pearson. ‘As such, we are looking at the possible delivery of Designing Demand within the NHS.’

Pearson also indicates DIUS’s support for the Design Council’s Designs of The Time 2007 festival. ‘This was an example of a very successful initiative. I think building design into local authority and Government services is going to be important for the future.’

He continues, ‘Design has always been important, but I think it is right that we recognise it more fully now.’

Boosting innovation

New Government initiatives to boost innovation in the public, private and third sectors, as set out in Innovation Nation:

• Distributing at least 1000 ‘innovation vouchers’ every year by 2011, funding small- and medium-sized enterprises to develop a new product or service with a university, further education college or research organisation of their choice

• Bringing together venture capital with universities and business to develop innovative solutions to local and regional challenges. DIUS says that it will publish a prospectus for the scheme, called Partnerships for Innovation, in the autumn

• Expanding the network of National Skills Academies, with one academy for every major sector of the economy

• Boosting the ability of small firms to exploit their intellectual property by training Business Link advisors in intellectual property management by the summer of 2009

• Each Government department is to publish an Innovation Procurement Plan that will set out how departments will embed innovation at the heart of procurement practices, encouraging them to engage with businesses at an early stage

• A new Annual Innovation Review will provide a comprehensive annual assessment of innovation in the public and private sectors. The first of these will be published this autumn

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