BDI calls for innovation reform

British Design Innovation is calling on the Government to rethink its use of universities and publicly funded bodies to deliver innovation programmes, claiming it is damaging private-sector design consultancies.

In a report released today, BDI calls on the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills to reconsider the way in which it delivers its innovation programme. Publicly funded activity is threatening private sector consultancies, says the report, through a lack of engagement, ‘distortion of the market through unfair competition’ from university research departments and a lack of best-practice procurement procedures. The report is calling on the DIUS to recognise commercial consultancies as part of its Innovation Voucher Scheme, which provides up to £3000 of design and prototyping consultancy to SMEs, which are directed to universities under the scheme.

It is also appealing for greater ties between universities and private-sector consultancies, as well as measures to prevent competition between the two. The Delivering the Innovation Dream report was commissioned by the DIUS after BDI raised the issue with it at a meeting attended by BDI, Design Business Association and Design Council representatives.

Growing concern among BDI members and the industry surrounding the issue was underlined by a letter to Design Week signed by 12 North West product design consultancies (DW 11 September 2008).

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