Wednesday, November 25, 2009

SEE at the European Year of Creativity & Innovation Third Flagship Conference

2009 is the European Year of Creativity and Innovation (EYCI). As part of this initiative, 27 Ambassadors have been appointed to support the EYCI objective of promoting policy debate on these issues. Last week the Ambassadors published their Manifesto recommending seven lines of action relating to design, education and the knowledge economy. To coincide with this launch, the European Commission Directorate-General for Education and Culture (D-G EAC) organised on 23-24th November, the EYCI Third Flagship Conference ‘Beyond the Crisis: Design for a Sustainable Future’.

Anna Whicher, Design Wales Research Officer, attended this event in order to collate research and best practice examples for the second SEE Policy Booklet ‘Bridging Design, Sustainability and Innovation in Regional Policy’. This is an output of the SEE project, which aims to lobby regional governments to incorporate design into their policy measures. SEE is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVC programme.

The two-day event was opened by Odile Quintin, D-G EAC, who was keen to encourage horizontal cooperation between several Commission Directorate-Generals in order to bring design up the policy agenda. Highlights from the first day included the speeches from two of the EYCI Ambassadors, Erik Spiekermann, Designer, and Damini Kumar, Design Professor NUI Maynoot, who spoke animatedly about design thinking in diverse contexts.

The conference was also an opportunity for design stakeholders and policy actors to engage with one another. Anna used the event as an occasion to network with Commission officials in order to disseminate the first SEE Policy Booklet ‘Integrating Design into Regional Innovation Policy’.

On the Tuesday, the theme explored design thinking for sustainability in innovative organisations, processes and services. For the second SEE Policy Booklet, the most intriguing presentation was from Anne Stenros, Director of Design at KONE, who discussed design thinking as a “process between analytical and intuitive thinking”. Richard Hill, Managing Partner of EuroPublic, summed up the session by emphasising the need to “brand Europe as the place to create".

The next issue of the SEE bulletin, featuring an article on EU versus regional policy developments relating to design, will be published in January 2010. The second SEE Policy Booklet will be published in March 2010.

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