Friday, June 26, 2009

An update on our activities

There is growing interest in how design is being supported and promoted in regions and nations around the World. Design is increasingly acknowledged as a key element in the realisation of innovation and wider economic development policies and strategies, even though it is currently primarily only linked to the development of technology and new products. In 2010 or 2011 a revised innovation, or possible individual design policy, at a European level is likely to highlight the potential for design in the development of not only manufactured products but also non-technological innovations and public sector services.

Building on 15 years experience of the delivery of design support programmes and leading networks in the UK and Europe, Design Wales is an international centre of expertise for design support and related national & regional policy.

Our programme of activities includes:

Support services delivered directly to business.
Delivered on behalf of regional economic development offices and independent business organisations these workshops, training courses and events support industry in understanding and managing design issues such as branding, new product development and service innovation.

Support services for regional development offices / innovation programmes.
To help regional economic development offices understand the role of design, develop their own regional policy & support programmes and train local business support staff.

Design Wales already leads a network of 11 European design organisations and regional policy makers and established the UK design support network in 2007. The insight gained from engagement with this broad network of partners provides invaluable knowledge of the current level of regional engagement and best practice delivery. (visit
The SEE network involves both design organisations and policy makers from each of the 11 European regions. SEE is funded by the European Commission under the INTERREG IV C programme.

Design Wales undertakes research to understand the role of design support and promotion in economic development at a policy level and to further highlight best practice in support programmes. Design Wales have hosted a bi-annual International Workshop on Design Support (IWDS) since 2002 each time attracting up to 100 delegates from around the World.

In addition to the SEE network we are already delivering design support services and providing advice to several regional business support organisations in Wales, Scotland and as far afield as South America. We are also starting to grow again. This week a new member of staff joined us with specialist knowledge of European policy to help us further understand how design can be integrated into or developed alongside innovation policy and support programmes.

With changes and cuts in the business support infrastructure, the wider economic downturn and the potential for future European and regional policy to at least include significant aspects of design and non-technological innovation these are exciting and challenging times. We intend to make full use of our past business support experience, policy knowledge and networking capability. We have already formed a revised management board and over the next month we will announce firmer plans for our objectives and activities.