Embedding design at a European level

While the design world’s attention was focused on London last week, for London Design Festival and D&AD’s 50th anniversary celebrations, over in Finland, a top-level group of design leaders was taking the first steps in a plan to embed design at a European level.

EU

Source: futureatlas.com

The Design for Growth and Prosperity Report outlines 21 policy recommendations that could make design a key part of European Commission thinking.

The aim is to use design to promote job creation and social development across Europe, and also to provide consistency across the diverse European Union.

So as well as headline-grabbing proposals such as introducing a ‘Designed in the European Union’ label and setting up a European IP ‘court’, there are moves to, for example, roll out a standard industrial code for design across all European countries.

 If the proposals are accepted, they would benefit not just those countries (including the UK) where design is relatively well-represented at Government level, but also nations such as Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania, that don’t even have any national representation for design.

The authors of the report, who include the Design Business Association’s Deborah Dawton and Andrea Siodmok, formerly of Dott Cornwall, are now focusing their attention on selling the proposals in at European Commission level.

Given that the report was commissioned by EC vice-president Antonio Tajani, there seems to be a welcome chance of their success.

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  • John Hetherington November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    This is beginning to sound like a stuck record in Europe. The old formula has been rolled out once again – ‘a pinch of design and a sprinkling of innovation’ – ‘that should sort it out’. The truth is none of these grandiose ‘call to arms’ ever does anything meaningful as they are never executed by the right people. There’s a sad 25 year, £250m history of botched design and innovation ‘interventions’ here in the North-east that have done more damage than good – here we go again.

  • Deborah Dawton November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    John: I was skeptical too when asked to join this initiative. My experience is that the money that is talked about at the start of these processes evaporates as you near your conclusions!

    But I was convinced that this wouldn’t happen. To almost prove the point the EU put about €6million into a group of projects, some of which started last year. You can read about 4 of them on the DBA website (under About DBA and News).

    What isn’t there yet is that the DBA is about to start on a 5th project, with partners, developing training in design management and procurement for the public sector – something our members wanted to see happen.

    And fear not. The DBA will be consulting members about what they think should be done to fulfill the other recommendations in the report. I don’t want us to walk headlong into ‘botched’ design and innovation interventions either. No time for that.

    What would you consider a ‘meaningful’ intervention?

    And we are talking about a budget of about €80Billion (2014-2020) to get this right across Europe. Have we got ideas big enough?

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