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Design takes centre stage in Government's drive for innovation and growth

Design is to play a central role in the Government's new Innovation & Research Strategy for Growth - unveiled recently by the Department of Business Innovation & Skills.

Design is written into each of the five key areas of the new strategy, including central roles in commercialising science & technology, supporting business innovation and growth, driving innovative new approaches to big societal challenges, developing rigorous research on impact of design, and using design to attract inward investment and promote export opportunities.

"Design can help organisations transform their performance, from business product innovation, to the commercialisation of science and the delivery of public services," announced David Willetts, Minister for Universities & Science.

"That is why design forms an integral part of the Government's plans for innovation and growth and features strongly in our Innovation & Research Strategy for Growth. The UK has the potential to succeed globally but to do so we must harness our strengths. Design is undoubtedly an area where we are amongst the best in the world, with potential to do even better."

The Design Council has published a parallel paper called 'Design for Innovation' which sets out the design action plan with supporting economic evidence. The design plan is fully integrated into the Government's Innovation & Research Strategy for Growth and includes:

- A support package for business: an expansion of the Design Council's mentoring programme 'Designing Demand', stronger links with the Business Coaching for Growth programme and the Manufacturing Advisory Service, and a key role in the forthcoming Technology Innovation Centres

- Training and demonstration programmes for Government as a commissioner of services and products: programmes to help policymakers put design at the heart of procurement and service commissioning, and more opportunities for national innovation challenges to encourage design-led solutions to complex social, economic and technological challenges

- A university based research programme to increase understanding of the economic role and value of design, delivered via a collaboration between the Design Council and the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

Chief Executive of the Design Council, David Kester, is delighted with the news, saying:

"At the Design for Growth Summit in June, ministers announced that design would be central to their plans for innovation and growth. I am delighted that the Coalition Government has delivered on this commitment. We now look forward to working with industry, government and the universities to make it happen."

Also released yesterday were four short films, produced by the Design Council and funded by the Gatsby Foundation, which encourage businesses and public services to look afresh at how they use design, and to put it at the heart of improving performance and innovation.

Introduced by businesswoman Deborah Meaden, the films include contributions from John Cridland - Director of the CBI, John Longworth - Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce and Terry Scuoler - Chief Executive of manufacturers' association the EEF, as well as design-led business leaders including James Dyson and Jonathan Ive.

The films and the Design Council's 'Design for Innovation' plan can be viewed at:


E: [email protected]

9th December 2011

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