Design could help to reshape British businesses

Two events scheduled for today (Thursday) promise to be momentous for design. First, there are sessions to ‘sell in’ proposals in the Cox Review, due for official publication later this year. Then there is the annual get-together of the Royal Designers for Industry, at the Royal Society of Arts, where CDT Design founder Mike Dempsey will assume the awesome title of Master of the Faculty of RDIs.

The Cox Review could put design at the heart of UK business, as the Government grapples with ways to combat the challenges being set by countries prominent in the new economy, notably China. In his spring Budget Review speech, Chancellor Gordon Brown charged Design Council chairman Sir George Cox with looking at how Britain can increase its competitive edge through design.

Its potential for design is clear – more work, more influence and more Government support for regional initiatives to reshape British companies through the design, not just of their products, but of the way the businesses are run.

Publication of the review is likely to coincide with Brown’s autumn Pre-Budget statement, but Thursday’s events at London’s Tanaka Business School and at the Treasury are set to warm business and Government to the idea. The UK’s most celebrated design export, Jonathan Ive of Apple Computer, and others will help make the case for design.

With such a potent message, we can expect great things. But is design ready to step up to the role it might play? We can all cite top folk ready to make the leap, but evidence suggests that the industry generally will have to shape up.

This is where Dempsey and the Royal Designers come in. They are a select group of truly great designers across all disciplines, but Dempsey has pledged to make the faculty more relevant to the industry at large. If he can put this amazing talent pool to work, he can inspire creativity across the board. What better starting point for training initiatives that will undoubtedly follow from elsewhere?

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