The Design Council is to spin off Designing Demand, its recently launched design for business programme, to become a separate standalone operation.
Design Council head of partners and programmes Ceri Willmott has been named as Designing Demand national programme director. She will oversee the programme from the council’s offices in London’s Bow Street, but it will now become a separate cost centre. Willmott says that funding for the initiative, which aims to encourage businesses to adopt design to drive their top-line growth, has now been secured from all of the Regional Development Agencies.
‘All nine of the RDAs have now bought into the programme in different ways and it is now fully funded until 2010,’ she explains.
Willmott says she has sought to establish solid working relationships with the RDAs and has put in place a steering group with representatives from each one to provide guidance and recommendations, as the programme is rolled out.
According to Willmott, more than 700 businesses have taken part in the Designing Demand initiatives set up in Yorkshire, the West Midlands and the South East of England.
‘The Yorkshire programme, which has been running the longest, is beginning to deliver quantifiable economic impact,’ she says. ‘The 45 businesses taking part in the Generate service, which helps established businesses and start-ups to develop specific design projects, have invested a total of £500 000 in new design projects.’
‘Yorkshire Forward [Yorkshire’s RDA] has set a target for the businesses taking part in the more intensive parts of Designing Demand to each increase their turnover by £126 000,’ she adds. ‘So far, they are on target to achieve this.’