Thursday, July 30, 2009

Meetings at the Design Council and the Parliamentary Group for Design

On Monday 27th July, Gisele and Anna went to London for meetings at the Design Council and the Parliamentary Group for Design. The objective of the trip was to discuss the best format for presenting policy recommendations, in order to ensure that the Policy Recommendation Booklets that we will be producing in cooperation with other SEE partners provide the best support for drafting design policy.

The first meeting was with Mel Taylor (Head of Knowledge & Research) and Sara El Nusairi (Head of Government Relations) at the Design Council. The meeting was an opportunity to gain an insight into effective methods of lobbying the government. Sara described how they are encouraging the government to adopt a more systematic approach to design policy and provided us with examples of policy submissions they had produced on various topics. Mel discussed her work on evaluating the impact of their design support programmes, which we are keen to include as a case study on the SEE library. The meeting gave us real food for thought on how to achieve our policy objectives.

Our second meeting was with Jocelyn Bailey, Manager of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Design and Innovation (APGDI), which is the leading advocate for design in Parliament. We learnt about some of the group’s projects including a series of recommendations to improve public procurement, which will be presented to Parliament in October. As Jocelyn will be preparing her own policy suggestions, she was able to give us insightful tips on what strategy would be best for presenting our booklets to policy-makers in the SEE partner regions.

Having done our research, we are looking forward to collaborating with the SEE partners in developing a blueprint for our first Policy Recommendation Booklet on ‘Integrating Creativity and Design into Regional Innovation Policy’.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Services for regional business & design support programmes

We can now offer a portfolio of services for both business support organisations and regional policy makers. The first workshops will be delivered in October and more details and dates will be announced shortly.

These and other activities will be the basis for a new organisation we will launch in the next few months that will better define our objectives and capabilities. At that time Design Wales will become a regional brand for our activities in Wales and as a regional partner in the European SEE network.

So far our portfolio of services includes:

Support services & workshops delivered to business.
(either directly to industry or in partnership with regional business support organisations).
Managing new product development.
Includes 5 day-long workshops over 10 weeks that identify a design champion within an organisation and develops their skills to manage design and increase their capacity for new product development.

Managing service innovation & design.
Includes 2 day-long workshops to raise awareness of how design can help services businesses be innovative, followed by practical tools and techniques to start making it happen.

Brand Essentials workshops.
Half-day workshops to help SMEs understand the value of design, take ownership of their own brand, draft design briefs and identify appropriate expertise.

Colour & trend prediction seminars for the fashion & textile sector.
Seasonal half day seminars aimed at the fashion & textile sectors.

Support services for regional business support staff.
Design, innovation and creativity for business support staff.
A day-long practical workshop for general business support personnel to help their understanding of design, how this can help the businesses they support be more innovative and how they can facilitate them in working with the most appropriate local design expertise.

Development course for specialist design advisory staff.
A two-day short course to help new specialist design or innovation advisors in the transition from industry to being effective part of the business support infrastructure.

Recruitment of design & manufacturing advisory staff.
Assistance in the recruitment of staff with the combination of the right industrial experience, business knowledge and approach towards business support.

Support services for national & regional economic development offices.
Design and Innovation for policy makers - introduction.
A one-day workshop for regional policy makers that provides an overview of the current and potential future state of European policy and best practice models of support.

Design and Innovation for policy makers – practical tools & techniques.
A three-day practical workshop that includes the introductory course above but goes on to provide practical sessions that enable delegates to map their regional design & innovation system, develop appropriate intervention strategies and measure the potential future outcomes.

Bespoke regional design policy, strategy and support advice.
We can provide bespoke support to;
Map national design systems,
Develop regional design policy and support programmes,
Establish evaluation models for current & futures support programmes.
Conduct independent audits of the impact, service quality and regional integration of
current regional business support programmes.

Friday, July 10, 2009

New member of staff builds our policy expertise.

Just under two weeks has gone by since Anna Whicher joined Design Wales as a Research Officer within the SEE project. She has already proved effective in encouraging our SEE partners to engage with their own regional policy makers to establish what it is they really want from the policy guidelines we will be producing later in the year – and so by taking a user-centred approach.
After finishing her undergraduate studies in French and History, specialising in European integration, at the University of Reading, Anna went on to gain an MSc in European Public Policy at UCL. She already has experience of working in political circles from working in Westminster for her local MP and also spent a year working as assistant marketing and communication manager at Siemens in Paris. She will be using her experience to support the smooth running of the SEE project and helping us to best understand the part design has to play in European, national and regional policies.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

SEE project - First thematic workshop in Lyon

Following the opening conference in Cardiff last October, a study trip to Finland in May (to better understand how their design policy was realised) and the first of four thematic workshops having taken place in Lyon last month the SEE project is well under way.
The SEE project is funded by the European Commission under the INTERREG IVC programme and brings together a network of 11 design and innovation organisations from across Europe to further understand how design can help realise national and regional innovation policy. That’s interesting enough, but each of the 11 design partners has to not only demonstrate a close link to their regional policy makers but also ensure they bring their representatives with them to the workshops and events.

Gisele (Design Wales) and Justin (Centre for Design Innovation, Ireland) discuss a point!

Working for their lunch.
It might seem obvious, but from our experience of a previous network (SEEdesign) the most constructive and rewarding outputs resulted when we pushed the partners to work on addressing a topic together – rather than only listening to presentations from regional initiatives. This is the approach we are taking with the SEE project and in June the partners and their regional policy makers (24 people all together) gathered in Lyon to work on developing material to guide policy makers on - Integrating creativity and design into regional innovation policy – which is the first of four themed workshops to produce policy guidelines.

The innovation policy map taking shape.

Mapping regional policy.
Using a combination of Pecha Kucha presentations and large format questionnaires on the walls we were able to quickly map the clarity, longevity and scope of each regional or national innovation policy and related design programme. We are all European but each region and nation has a unique economic, political, industrial and cultural environment that has resulted in a broad variety of approaches to innovation policy and related support for design. This approach to mapping the current state was very successful and we intend to further interpret the results before we make them available more widely.
Following the mapping exercise the two groups, design organisations and policy makers, divided to discuss how design could be integrated into innovation policy and the barriers to actually making this happen. By placing these thoughts in priority of importance on the walls of the meeting room the groups were able to switch positions to interpret and comment on the postings from their policy or design colleagues.

Debating the results.

Publishing the results.
The findings from this workshop will be published as guidelines for policy makers. To get this right we are asking the policy makers what they actually want in terms of format and supporting information; by doing so we are hopefully taking more of a user-centred approach and will produce something that’s actually used rather than filed!
The next workshop is not until November and takes place in Denmark, but there is a great deal to do before then.