Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Helping to develop Design Support in Scotland.

Design Wales spent yesterday facilitating a workshop for key design stakeholders in Scotland. At the invitation of Scottish Enterprise we prepared a programme of activities for key stakeholders from the public, private and education sectors to explore the potential need, scope and objectives in developing a design support programme for the Scottish Enterprise region.

Scotland has a strong track record in running design related events, festivals and programmes and could have undertaken the workshop themselves; but Design Wales were brought in to initially provide an overview of the state of design support across Europe as a benchmark and then to prepare activities and facilitate a workshop to explore the potential for design support in the region.

The activities provided a framework for broad and in-depth discussion, which was captured on pre-prepared worksheets that will now be reviewed as the basis for a workshop report to be provided to Scottish Enterprise.

With a mixture of classic and modern architecture, Glasgow is always a pleasure to visit and yesterdays mild weather had plenty of people sitting outside cafes enjoying the sun -even if they were still in their coats. Pictured above: Glasgow City Chambers on George Square and the Clyde Arc Bridge.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Award for Design Wales client

Flying the flag for the UK at last nights Design Management Europe Awards (taking place during the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven) were two companies based in Wales; Nomad Wheelchairs (Aberaeron) and Contour Premium Aircraft Interiors (Cwmbran). Nomad was awarded the winner of the First time users of design Category and Contour received an honourable mention in the very competitive Large companies Category.
Design Wales has special pride in Nomad’s success for playing instrumental role in assisting in their design strategy. In no small part, the advice given by my former Design Wales colleagues Simon Chaytor, Lucy Richardson and Alan Mumby has been recognised by Jon and Mark Owen of Nomad, as well as the invaluable creative work of Elfen, Attic2 and Studio SDA. The DME Award is the first Award gained by Nomad since the two brothers started to work together on developing a new and desirable wheelchair. Their excitement and pride was tangible as at last their hard work and intelligent management have been awarded.

Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven 17-25 October 2009

In their bid to become a World Design Capital 2012, the City of Eindhoven has shown its commitment to design with its showcase Dutch Design Week Festival. For Eindhoven design entrepreneurship has been targeted as a solution by the City to fill the vacuum left by the relocation of Philips manufacturing. However, the legacy of the Philips heyday is noticeable in the many huge factories left empty, as well as the history of innovation and technical capabilities.
With more than 250 events across 60 locations, the Dutch Design Week is an impressive event. It has taken place in Eindhoven every year since 2003.
Among the highlights of this year’s exhibitions are the Design Academy Graduation show and the Dutch Design Awards. I particularly liked the Paper Zoo exhibition, with very interesting conceptual creatures made of paper, a lot of creativity and clear conceptual thinking, At the Graduation show students were able to show interesting and challenging concepts, presented with functioning prototypes and well written brief justification of their ideas. Also impressive was the attendance to the exhibitions. The student show was buzzing even though it was a midweek morning.
Another fun element of the event’s infrastructure were the ‘design rides’, specially decorated taxis to transport visitors around the many design venues. Great service and good fun adding to the city’s creative atmosphere!
The Week’s key event was the Design Management Europe (DME) Award 2009 (following the DME Award 2008 which took place in Cardiff) on Thursday 22nd. The venue was one of the old Philips factories, the De Machinekamer in the Strijp-S. Being the decommissioned power station for the Philips Factory, the venue provided an authentic experience to the DME Award attendees.

Friday, October 16, 2009

SEE attended 1st European Innovation Summit!

In order to enhance the quality of the research presented in the SEE Policy Booklet, an output of the SEE project (co-financed as part of the INTERREG IVC programme), I attended the First European Innovation Summit held in Brussels on 13th and 14th October.

On the Tuesday morning I met our Belgium partner in order to find out about the new Flemish Innovation Policy being published this month as well as to discuss a case study on intellectual property rights, both of which will feature in the booklet. I also had the pleasure of meeting Prof. Mary McBride, Director of the Pratt Institute Design Management programme (New York) to moot the contribution of design to innovation in public policy and discovered the Catalyst Strategic Design Review.

In the afternoon from 14.00 until 18.30 I attended a series of three lectures focusing on ‘Innovation Policies and Practices Across Europe’ at the European Parliament as part of the First European Innovation Summit. The first panel, moderated by Claus Schultze, Director of the European Regions Research and Innovation Network, centred on the strategic role of the Regions in the European Innovation System. The second panel, moderated by Gernot Klotz, Director of Research and Innovation at the European Chemical Industry Council, discussed private sector participation in the innovation process; while the final panel, chaired by Andre van der Meer, Permanent Representative for the City of the Hague to the Institutions of the EU, centred on future EU innovation policy and concluded with insightful questions from the floor.

The event was a great success and enabled innovation practitioners and EU policy-makers to engage in dialogue. However, design as a strategic disciple for innovation and public policy did not feature on the agenda so the SEE Policy Booklet will be an opportunity to advance the debate.


2009 Prince Philip Designers Prize

Last night I was lucky enough to attend the award ceremony for the 2009 Prince Philip Designers Prize in Buckingham Palace. In addition to taking place at The Palace, it was really well organised by the Design Council and attended by the great and the good of the design world to celebrate 50 years of the Prince Philip Designers Prize.

Special commendations were given to Jeff Banks and Michael Peters but I was really pleased when the award for 2009 was given to Andrew Ritchie, the man behind the Brompton folding bicycle. I’ve had a Brompton for about 11 years and love its simplicity and functionality – apart from pumping up the tyres and giving it the odd drop of oil it just keeps going. Children in the rougher parts of town do make the odd funny comment when you whiz past them but you soon get your own back when it folds into a tiny package to fit behind the seat of the train or into the boot of a car.

Also interesting during the presentations was hearing about the origins of the Award. Launched in 1959 the original drive was to encourage manufacturers to make use of design to develop affordable and desirable products that could compete on the World stage – we’ve come a long way since then but it does still sound rather familiar.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

UK Design Support Network meet in Bristol.

Gisele and Anna from Design Wales attended the UK Design Support Network meeting on the 8th October at the Arnolfini in Bristol, hosted by Anna Traylor of the South West Design Programme.

Divided between presentations from design organisations in the South West of England and discussion between the attendees from across the UK, the three key topics of discussion during the meeting were: funding sources, the promotion of design, and how to work together. One simple suggestion we made was sharing the cost of bringing overseas speakers to the UK – hopefully we can make this work.

The UK Design Support Network was established by Design Wales in 2007 as a platform for any UK organisation involved in supporting and encouraging the use of design in industry. The group meets twice a year at venues across the UK, each meeting hosted and organised by the regional design organisation/programme. The next meeting takes place in the South East of England.