John Sorrell steps down as Design Council chairman at the end of the month. What single thing would you say he has achieved that you’d like to see his successor, Royal College of Art rector Christopher Frayling, build on?

‘John Sorrell managed to install a rudder on to what was a rather wobbly ship. The effect was to steer a clear course and create an understanding of what the Design Council stands for. Frayling needs to keep a firm hand on the wheel, but should occasionally drop anchor in an exotic port to create a few surprises. That way the council will not become over institutionalised.’

Mike Dempsey, Director, CDT Design

‘For me, Sorrell’s main achievement at the Design Council was to bring gravitas and focus to an organisation which was in danger of losing its credibility. Chris Frayling’s fabulous track record in the media gives him the opportunity to use Sorrell’s solid foundation and give the Design Council a mass, rather than limited appeal. Wouldn’t it be terrific if great interior design could lose its “Changing Rooms” image, for instance?’

Callum Lumsden, Director, Lumsden Design Partnership

‘John Sorrell took on the challenge of chairing the Design Council at, without doubt, one of the toughest times in its history. He’s created a leaner and more focused organisation which can now easily justify its Government funding. The challenge for Chris Frayling is to continue that process and improve the council’s agility so it can cope with the pace of change in the business world.’

Gary Lockton, Chief Executive Officer, Deep Group

‘John Sorrell’s success in creating relationships in Government and industry, presenting British Design as a crucial tool for business should be the starting point for Chris Frayling. If he can continue to build on the value of effective, pragmatic design work he will be a worthy successor.’

Astrid Martin, Design Director, M&K Design

‘John Sorrell got rid of the dull, ponderous Civil Service culture that was crippling the Design Council. What it does now has much more relevance in the real world. Chris Frayling should complete its transformation into a sharp-thinking and outspoken centre of knowledge that helps businesses and organisations anticipate the future, using design.’

Tim Rich, writer and consultant

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