Voxpop – which design issues would you put before Government?

The Creative Industries Council has been set up by Government to examine issues in the creative sector. What design-related issues would you like to see it tackle?

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‘It is a key and crucial need. Government want us to group ourselves together (music, crafts, performing arts, design, etc) so they can deal with us collectively (it’s efficient, etc, etc). In return we need new mechanisms that enable us to qualify for their investment. Currently ’match-funding’ is the way in which it is done – i.e. they put a pound in and so do we – however, when you have freelancers everywhere and the largest company employing 100 people or so, we just cannot match-fund with cash. We can match-fund with time (which is cash to a design business), but that doesn’t count under the current rules and it’s why historically we have had such little interest or investment from government. That is now changing. However, the rules are also draconian (and almost irrelevant to a micro-business), so most creative people just switch-off and walk away. We are also seen as a cost (largely because we get bundled in with the Arts Council cohort, which is government-funded). There are no mechanisms for measuring the ROI on creative value (which are tourism, culture and cash). We need a separate way of valuing creativity, in cash terms that is. If we look at all of this we will gain huge traction in skills, exports and overall communication to industry. It’s what the Design Council has tried to do with some success – but again, they need to get together with the Arts Council, RIBA, BFI, etc, etc, etc.’

David Worthington, chairman, Creative and Cultural Skills and Lloyd Northover Group

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‘I would like to see a meaningful response to how digital has profoundly rewritten the rules. All I’ve heard to date from the upper echelons of the design industry is lip service, but posturing doesn’t really advance anything, it merely delays the inevitable change. If you think you can talk about growth without including digital AND behavioural change at the heart of your plans, you’re going nowhere.’

Nicolas Roope, founder, Poke

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‘I would like to see CIC work to ensure all Government departments, but particularly the Department for Education, are involved in a coherent and consistent dialogue about the importance of design to the economy and therefore the need to have an education system in place, in schools, FE and HE, that develops creative, technically and practically literate, problem solvers. Currently the English Baccalaureate is actively discouraging the study of creative and technical subjects post-14. We should have in place a curriculum that values and teaches these vital skills from the age of 4 onwards.’

Richard Green, chief executive, The Design and Technology Assocation

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‘The application of  creative thinking to business issues is a vast area of little tapped potential. I would love to see the CIC broach the issue of how traditional businesses can better embrace and harness the power of creative thinking and design as a key component of business strategies. When aligned with a structured and directed approach, creativity can liberate thinking, push boundaries and tap into new possibilities. Businesses are all striving for that elusive component of differentiation so surely this is not only a no-brainer but an easy win.’

Lucy Unger, managing director for Europe and Russia, Fitch

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