Design Council appoints business development director in hunt for new income streams

The Design Council has appointed Marie Clark, formerly of Wolff Olins, as its new director of business development. She will be tasked with helping the Design Council develop new sources of income as an independent charity.

Marie Clark

The business development director role was created last year, and Clark replaces Vincent Cassidy, now interim director at RIBA Services.

The Design Council says Clark – a former senior account director at Wolff Olins – joins at ‘a pivotal time, as we look to diversify our income streams and become a self-sustaining independent charity’.

She will be tasked with leading the development of new commercial partnerships. Previous commercial partnerships set up by the Design Council have seen it work on a European research project on design for public good and partner with independent organisation Nominet Trust on a challenges around youth unemployment.

The Design Council, formerly a non-departmental Government body, became an independent charity in 2011.

It continues to receive central Government funding and has secured cash from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills for this financial year. In 2010 BIS committed to supplying an annual grant to the Design Council, starting at £4 million.

In 2012/13 the Design Council had an income of £.8.9 million, of which £7.3 million came in the form of Government grants from BIS and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Design Council chief executive John Mathers says, ‘This is a really exciting time for the Design Council as we continue to evolve. Marie’s commercial and business transformation experience will really help us be more agile and entrepreneurial in how we work.’

Clark says, ‘The Design Council already has a strong brand but there is still plenty of potential for it to grow its influence and to continue advancing the design industry in the UK and internationally.’

The Design Council is also recruiting a business development manager, who will be responsible for generating new income and extending the organisation’s business support services for SMEs.

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  • Mike Phillips November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Reminds me of the path that the old Business Link (and many others) were obliged to take. The minute an advisory body funded by the public starts to offer fee for service, rather than free for service, there is a conflict. It is essential that unfair,subsidised competition is avoided. However, so many publically funded bodies face this dilemma, usually shortly before their demise. No, the design community should lobby for more funding to continue with a redesigned design council,

  • Maxine Horn November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I agree with Mike;

    Its a dilemma but one I predicted occuring more than 4 years ago on the basis that gearing up for a reduction in Gov funding (and threat of closure) the DC would encroach on a % of design sector ‘strategic services’ income and become a semi-competitor to the design investment it was funded to promote.

    An inevitable game-keeper turned poacher position.

    That’s upheld by recruitment of Directors from high-flying design firms to lead the business development.

    However, without the DC would the overall status of design investment diminish and therefore push design investment back-down to a supplier status, commodity purchase?

    It’s a double-edged sword.

    Those most erked should be the official trade and professional bodies who without Gov subsidies but who operate on much the same basis (not for profits or charities) who are seriously trampled on by those with the advantage of a £4m per annum Gov grant, and who struggle financially yet, arguably, work harder.

    The Trade Associations and professional bodies could be misguided in a ‘doff the cap’ approach towards the DC in vain hope that crumbs will fall at their feet from the upper table and elevate their status to one of respected industry advisor.

    Not so when the DC itself is seeking new income streams to fill funding gaps – it has its own fish to fry.

    It is what it is.

    And objections and complaints will fall on deaf ears as the design industry has never and will never stand together in any great number to rationally evoke change for the better and certainly not for the greater good.

    What the DC is starting to prove is the inadequacies of the design sector offers (in the main) and therefore reinforces its own position as a business-led firm with statistical back-up to satisfy the number crunchers and therefore secure funding – and yes, unfairly with a £4m annual subsidy.

    The rest can read it and weep, fair or not.

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