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.

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