Friday, December 3, 2010

SEE Policy Booklet 3 'Evaluating Design' is launched

The SEE project, led by Design Wales, has just published Policy Booklet 3 entitled 'Evaluating Design: Understanding the Return on Investment in Companies, National Industry, Programmes & Policies, Economy & Society'.

A lack of knowledge and tools to evaluate the rate of return on design investment is often cited as a severe barrier to advancing the understanding of design’s value among policy-makers and civil servants. With design firmly on the European political agenda as part of the strategy ‘Innovation Union’, policy-makers across Europe will be looking at how design can meet challenges in industry, services and society. However, without insight on evaluating design and its strengths compared with other disciplines, we risk missing key opportunities for consolidating the contribution of design to competitiveness and social innovation in our regions.

This third SEE Policy Booklet provides an overview of current practice in design evaluation and identifies actions to improve these methods. The Policy Booklet notes that there are several different dimensions that must be taken into consideration when investigating design evaluation, which should include micro and macro levels in both the private and public sectors. :Each section of the booklet discusses a different dimension of this framework, exploring how design can be evaluated in different contexts and providing illustrative case studies. The four sections are:

1. Return on investment in design for individual companies

2. Return on investment in design in national industry

3. Return on investment of public funds in design programmes or policies

4. Role of design and its impact on the national economy and society.

This publication is one of the outputs of the SEE project, a network of eleven European partners engaging with European, national and regional governments to integrate design into public policy. The project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVC programme. This is the third of four SEE Policy Booklets to be published between 2009 and 2011. An electronic copy of the booklet is available to download from the SEE website: If you would like to receive future SEE Policy Booklets please email

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Petition Design for Innovation in Wales is accepted by the National Assembly's Petitions Committee

Thanks for all of your support in signing the Petition Design for Innovation in Wales. The petition closed on Friday 12th November with 369 signatures.

On the 16th November it was reviewed and accepted by the National Assembly's Petitions Committee. As result, the petition was referred to the Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills Lesley Griffiths AM for her view about further action.

The focus of the petition was also described as ‘interesting’ by Veronica German AM, who also proposed a second action to establish who else in the Welsh Assembly could address the issues raised in relation to ‘social enterprise and new ways to deliver public services’.   
On the 17th November, the Design Wales team met with Andrew Rt Davies AM, member of the Petitions Committee, to reinforce our recommendations and to discuss how we can ensure the momentum we have created can be sustained and lead to a greater commitment to design by the Welsh Assembly. (photo by Darragh Murphy)

Design Wales wants to raise the profile of design ahead of next May’s elections and ultimately aims to see the assembly members form a cross-party group for design and innovation in Wales.

We would like to thank once again all the endorsers of the Manifesto and individuals who have signed the petition. The manifesto would not have been possible without the SEE project, a network of 11 European partners, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVC programme.

To learn more and to download the Manifesto ‘Design for Innovation in Wales: Industry, Services & Society’, visit:

Monday, November 8, 2010

4th design policy workshop takes place in Poland

On the 4th and 5th November Design Wales took part in the latest thematic workshop involving the 11 SEE Project partners and their regional government representatives in Cieszyn in Southern Poland.

Opening address by Polish MEP Jan Olbrycht.

Hosted by the Silesian Castle of Art & Enterprise the theme was “Bringing innovative ideas to the market more quickly” and combined presentations from leading European innovation programmes as well as hands-on workshop sessions for the partners and their government representatives.

SEEProject steering group meeting.

Facilitated by Alexander Grots of Gravity Europe (Germany) the presentations of current design/innovation intervention programmes included; Jonathan Ball, Design Council (UK); Sergey Dmitriev, Sea Xray AS (Norway) and Sami Heikkinemi, Tekes (Finland). The first day concluded with a presentation by Aron Losonczi, founder of the company Litracon (Hungary) who have brought an innovative and award winning product to market in the form of concrete that allows light to travel through it via thousands of fibre optic cables or plastic rods moulded into to it.

Litracon - see-through concrete

The second day of workshops saw the partners unfolding in some detail various case studies of how design has played a role in bringing innovations to market, the development process that might have been followed and the part that government intervention can play in possibly improving this.

The workshop sessions taking place in the old castle stables.

The key output of the workshop will be a policy guideline booklet intended to inform policy makers but available to all via the SEEProject website early next year. SEE is co-financed by ERDF through the INTERREG IVC programme.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

SEE bulletin 4 now available!

The SEE project, led by Design Wales, has just launched the fourth edition of the SEE bulletin, the only publication entirely dedicated to discussing design and innovation policies and programmes across Europe and beyond.

Over the course of the SEE project, we have observed how the use of design has been evolving. More and more, we are seeing that design approaches are not only being applied to product development, manufacturing and technology, but to a growing array of other domains such as the public sector, social innovation and sustainability projects. This edition delves a bit deeper into how design techniques are being applied to specialist scenarios such as peace and security.

This issue includes:
  • Research: Designing Programmes in Contexts of Peace and Security – Derek B Miller, Lisa Rudnick (United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research) and Lucy Kimbell (Saïd Business School, Oxford University).
  • Interviews: Design Policy and Promotion Map with insights from Chile, Croatia, India and South Africa.
  • Research: National Design Systems – Dr Gisele Raulik-Murphy (Design Wales, UWIC).
  • Case Study: Design Advisory Service (Canada).
  • Special Report: SEE Project Activities and Results.
  • SEE Library: papers and documents related to design and innovation policies.
  • Design Policy Conference: SEE project final conference will be held on 29 March 2011.
SEE bulletins are distributed to over 60 countries around the world and are available to download from

Don't forget we are still collecting signatures for the petition 'Design for Innovation in Wales', which is an output of the SEE project. Your signature is very important in generating attention at political level. To sign visit

SEE is a network of 11 European partners exploring how to integrate design into policy. The project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVC programme. If you would like to receive SEE communication in the future please email us at

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Coup for design in Wales".

Our recent actions to raise the profile of design at a political level in Wales have caught the attention of the Associate Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group (APDIG) in Westminster. The APDIG Group Manager, Jocelyn Bailey, drafted a thorough and sharp critical appraisal of whats happening here in Wales for their October Newsletter, describing the full context of the recent unanimous vote for design in the Senedd during a debate about innovation.

Read the whole article via:

Remember; you can still join in the campaign by signing our e-petition via:  
Saesneg / English:

Cymraeg / Welsh:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Manifesto Launched - Petition on-line

Last night saw the launch of our Manifesto for design innovation in Wales at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay. In parallel with this we also announced our intention to compile a petition that follows the same themes - this is now available to sign on-line.

The wording of what we are petitioning for follows a standard/approved format and is as follows:

We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Assembly Government to consider the potential significant role for design in future innovation, public service and social enterprise policies and programmes. This is in the light of increased commitment to design agenda by other nations around the world and in preparation for a new Innovation Policy due to be published by the European Commission. This imminent new policy is likely to include a broader definition of innovation that embraces services in the public & private sectors and social enterprise on equal terms with traditional research and development (R&D).

There is also some background information.

You can following the link below to sign the petition:

Saesneg / English:

Cymraeg / Welsh:

There are two possible outcomes - an official enquiry (which will not happen in this case) or individual AMs will be encouraged to find out more and get involved - which is what we want- with some of them hopefully coming together to form a Cross-Party Group for design innovation to keep it on the political agenda.

The petition closes on the 12th November.
Please forward this anyone you think might be interested.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Design on the political agenda

Our Design Manifesto - set for launch on 14th October.

This year the Cardiff Design Festival is not only about celebrating design, there’s a political dimension too. On 14 October, Design Wales is launching its Manifesto ‘Design for Innovation in Wales: Industry, Services and Society’ in the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay. The manifesto is an output of the SEE project, a network of 11 European partners, co-financed by ERDF through the INTERREG IVC programme.

The manifesto aims to secure design’s place on the Welsh political agenda ahead of the National Assembly elections in May 2011. It calls for Assembly Members to establish a cross-party group for design and innovation to champion the benefits of good design. It presents the rationale for the Assembly to act upon regional design resources and take advantage of design strategies for adding value to industry, services and society. It describes case studies for fostering innovation in companies using design processes, for creating more effective services (both private and public) and for using design for social innovation and promoting an inclusive society.

The manifesto has been endorsed by a number of international, national and Welsh organisations including among others the Bureau of European Design Associations (BEDA), UK Design Council, Creative and Cultural Skills, South Wales Chamber of Commerce, Institute of Welsh Affairs, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, University of Wales Newport, Swansea Metropolitan University, EcoDesign Centre, Design Commission for Wales and Wales Quality Centre.

The document has already attracted significant political attention. On 5 October, the manifesto and design was raised in plenary session in a debate on innovation. Mark Isherwood Conservative Welsh Assembly Member quoted the manifesto saying that “Wales needs to step up to the mark and harness the power of design for innovation. If our nation is to create user-centred services, embrace social innovation and excel as a competitive economy, the Welsh Assembly Government must act now”.

Mark Isherwood AM

A Welsh Assembly Government report entitled ‘Economic Renewal: a new direction’ has been published on innovation and in a motion that ‘Welcomed the steps taken by the Welsh Assembly Government to encourage world-class research and development’ an amendment to include design was unanimously approved. Lesley Griffiths, Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills stated “the UK has a strong reputation for design excellence, and Wales should develop its own design expertise”.

Gavin Cawood, Operations Director for Design Wales said; “The Welsh Assembly has been consistent in supporting the use of design by industry since 1994, but this new development is a major step in placing design on the political agenda and sets the foundation for design to find a key role in improving public services and supporting design beyond the constraints of traditional R&D”.

New Service Design Programme for Wales

Design Wales have always been supporters of new approaches to design; so when service design first came into prominence we were right there to support it. Our first foray into this emerging sector took the form of a document called 'Design Matters; Design For Service' which was published in September 2008. The document explored some of the trends at that time and presented a two case studies from Max Bank and The Baltic.

Design Wales also worked with Engine Service Design to produce a document called Design For Service, this was a much more detailed look into how service could benefit SME's in Wales, the three vision case studies are particularly useful for any business looking into service design.

The next stage of work has just started with Design Wales sucessfully proposing to the Welsh Assembly Government that they deliver a service design support programme - focussed on supporting he use of service design in industry as well trying to develop a strong cluster of regional expertise. It's a very exciting piece of work and a programme that will benefit Welsh Design and wider industry in the form of jobs, the economy and the international reputation of these sectors.

Personally I’m really pleased to see such a progressive move from the Welsh Assembly Government and look forward to working towards an internationally recognised hub of service design excellence here in Wales.

If you would like to find out more about the programme then have a look at our web page or follow @SD_Wales on twitter.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Service Design Network

Design Wales are excited to be attending the service design network conference in Berlin next week. The annual meet up of service design practitioners, agencies and academics has been growing every year and you can see pictures and videos of last years event on:

We look forward to sharing our new Service Design Programme with the wider community and hearing about the latest work from around the world.

Friday, September 24, 2010

PechaKucha Cardiff - Oct 7th

The next PechaKucha event organised by Lou Cameron takes place on the 7th October at Chapter.

Presenters include:
  • Richard Weston, "Ammonites to digital delight."
  • Richard Huw Morgan, "Croeso i Gymry/u Fwyaf!"
  • Ric Bower, "Did you ever Start Something."
  • Guto Evans, "Brand shit."
  • Corinne Thompson, "Flutterbugs - My creative journey."
  • Theo Humphries, "Crapestry."
  • Dr. Ben Evans, "Bloodhound, 1,000mph car."
  • Orkid Studio, OrkStudio: Shelter for the Soul."
  • Huw James "Science and sport - A relationship of two halves."
  • Jon Chase "Life - An autobiography."
Check out the e-flyer and pass it around. You will need to register for free tickets at


Monday, September 6, 2010

Colour and Trend Event A/W 2011/12

Booking Now Open!

Design Wales Forum Presents
Colour and Trend Event A/W 2011/12

October 2010 sees the return of Design Wales’ much missed colour and trend event. Presented by Jaana Jatyri CEO of Trendstop, the event will cover the A/W season 2011/12. The inspirations behind the trends and their practical application will be covered.

The event will feature a round up of the developments in the fashion and textile sectors in Wales in the past year. If you have any developments/ awards/ facilities you would like others to use/  in your business, organisation or network and you would like to share them with your peers, please forward the information to Victoria Jones at

who should attend: fashion, textiles, product and graphic designers
date:15th October 2010
venue:Central Cardiff
cost: £50 (including lunch)

To secure a place contact Victoria Jones on 02920 417 018

Friday, August 20, 2010

Design for Innovation in Wales Manifesto

Design Wales is currently preparing a manifesto entitled Design for Innovation in Wales: Industry, Services and Society. It presents the rationale for the Welsh Assembly Government to act upon regional design resources and take advantage of design strategies for adding value to industry, services and society. It describes case studies for fostering innovation in companies using design processes, for creating more effective services (both public and private) and for using design for social innovation and promoting an inclusive society. The manifesto aims to secure design’s place on the Welsh political agenda and establish a cross-party group for design and innovation to champion the benefits of effective design.

The manifesto will be launched during the Cardiff Design Festival on 14 October 2010 in the Pierhead building next to the National Assembly for Wales.

Monday, July 26, 2010

DME Award 2010- open for entries.

The only award dedicated to the management of design, the DME Award, is now open for its fourth edition. Previous winners of the DME Award including Virgin Atlantic, NHS, Festo, Decathlon, Senz Umbrellas, Roca and EDF all represent highly innovative organisations where design plays an integral part of their strategy and operation. This year the award will be located in Lisbon and represents a new era of the DME Award.
Wales, through PDR at UWIC, has and continues to play a significant role in developing the DME Award,  coordinating the judging process and hosting the award ceremony in Cardiff back in 2008 (with the Welsh Assembly First Minister openning the event) and providing technical expertise for this years award.
Companies and organisations wishing to enter the DME Award 2010 should visit:
Welsh companies have found success in the DME Awards, including; Nomad Wheelchairs, Performance Health Products, Thrislington Cubicles and Sobor.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Practical insight to design careers from the DESIGN WALES FORUM

The audience.
Professional "mingling" after the interviews.
The panel.

We’ve been receiving great feedback about the Design Wales Forum event we held earlier this week (20th July) at the Wales Millennium Centre.

"Help I’m a graduating designer…what do I do next"?
brought together a panel of established creative professionals from the design sector in Wales to talk about their career paths since graduation to provide insight to those just finishing their degree. The panel revealed their personal stories whilst being interviewed, chat-show style, by Design Wales Forum Coordinator Victoria Jones. If there were common threads about how their creative careers had developed, it was probably in maintaining a singular focus and desire to work in the creative sector. This along with making sure they were ready to take advantage of every opportunity they came across – which frequently came from unexpected places and had results they could never have foreseen.

After a rapid 90 minutes of interviews the audience, panel and Design Wales team were encouraged to “mingle”, swapping contact details and exchanging ideas – because you never know where your next opportunity or even a possible business partner might come from!

We have to thank the panel for their time and being prepared to tell their personal professional stories. They were:

Felicity Sawkins (fashion),

Carla Reynolds (ceramics and creative business advice),

Dominic Eggbeer (product design and research),

Tim Harling (graphic design),

Kate Vaughan (copywriter),

Ollie Wells, (interactive media),

Emma Luczyn (interactive media)

This event was a partnership between the Design Wales Forum and the Wales Millennium Centre, who expertly provided the venue, sound engineer and house staff.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

SEE nominated for RegioStars award!

The SEE project, led by Design Wales, has been nominated for RegioStars – the awards for regional innovative projects.

SEE is a network of 11 European partners sharing knowledge and experience on how design can be integrated into regional and national policies to boost innovation, sustainability, social and economic development. The aim of SEE is to pool knowledge, share experiences, stimulate debate, develop new thinking and build rapport and credibility in order to influence policy at regional and national levels to integrate design. The project’s ultimate goal is to integrate design into innovation policies. This work is focused on creating better conditions for SMEs to operate, developing innovation and making use of design resources.

‘The objective of the RegioStars Awards is to identify good practices in regional development and to highlight original and innovative projects which could be attractive and inspiring to other regions.’ We were invited to submit an application under the category ‘networking initiatives supporting regional growth and SMEs’, stating how far our project objectives have been met, the strategic context of the project, highlighting the innovative character of the project and the impact.

Our objective to ‘compare strategies and delivery of design support programmes, in particular those related to the development of innovative products and services’ directly links to the project’s impact on SMEs. During SEE’s lifespan there has been a continuous debate about good practices to deliver design support for SMEs, an activity all partners undertake in their regions. The next project workshop (November 2010) will focus on support programmes for SMEs, in addressing a route to market for their innovative ideas. Concrete results are expected from the exchange of experiences/policy recommendations drawn from the workshop. Results so far have been incremental, as result of the exchange of experiences.

We will keep you informed of our progress in the application process….

SEE Policy Booklet 2 now available in French

The second SEE Policy Booklet is now available to download in French from the SEE website.

As part of SEE’s efforts to engage with government representatives and policy-makers to integrate design into policy across Europe, we are publishing four SEE Policy Booklets between 2008 and 2011. The first, Integrating Design into Regional Innovation Policy, was published in November 2009. The second, Realising Sustainability and Innovation through Design: Making it Happen in Communities, Industry, Public Sector and Policy-Making, has just been released. Both booklets outline the rationale behind policy intervention, explore how design can be employed to realise innovation and sustainability, provide illustrative case studies and put forward policy proposals.

To download a copy visit:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Design Wales Forum and the Wales Millennium Centre Present....

Help I’m a Graduating Designer… What Do I Do Next?
After all the stress and activity of finishing your degree… you begin to realise that you have to think about what you are going to do next. Should you get a job? Start a business? Study further? There are a myriad of possible paths to take and decisions to make… it can all be a bit bewildering. You are not the only new designer to have gone through this…
We have invited a panel of designers from different disciplines and other creatives to share their experiences of what happened to them after they graduated, and what they did next. This chat show style event will also include an opportunity for you to ask questions of them yourself.
This FREE event would be useful for recent design and other creative graduates. For further details and to book a place email / 02920 417 018
Date: 20th of July 2010
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Venue: Wales Millennium Centre

Monday, June 28, 2010

International response to launch of the second SEE policy booklet

We have had a great response to the launch of the latest SEEProject Policy booklet from leading design organisations around the World. The European Commission, ICSID, BEDA and the New York University Design Department have all highlighted the latest booklet in their on-line news feeds.

The SEEProject is intended to help our understanding of the role design can play in realising regional and national innovation  regional policy. The most recent booklet aimed at policy makers is entitled Realising Sustainability and Innovation through Design and can be found on the SEEProject website along with other resources.

Design Wales are the lead partner for the SEEProject, which is funded by the European Commission through the INTERREG programme.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Design Wales recruiting a Service Designer

Design Wales are looking for an experienced Service Designer to play a role in the development and delivery of a three-year Service Design programme for industry.
The project has the joint focus of developing capability in Wales whilst raising awareness and uptake of Service Design in wider industry (so increasing regional capacity whilst raising demand).
Design Wales have a strong track record in design support, primarily because of our ability to recruit designers who are interested in using their experience to help industry firstly understand design and then manage its use within the unique context of that particular business - these skills build on what's required of a good designer but have a different emphasis.

The advert above will be in DesignWeek for the next two weeks. The deadline is 5pm on 6th July and an application form can be obtained from

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Study visit to Denmark

Last week (1st & 2nd June) we joined a study visit to Denmark and Sweden to investigate social innovation projects in Copenhagen and Malmo. We were invited along by the organisers La 27e Region who had brought along a large group of French civil servants interested in learning how a wide variety of social issues and public sector services can be addressed through design thinking, collaboration between stakeholders and creative new approaches.

Of particular interest was a workshop undertaken at MindLab in Copenhagen. Funded by three Danish ministerial departments (the Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs, the Ministry of Taxation and the Ministry of Employment), MindLab acts as an innovation unit that engages the public sector, citizens and businesses in creating new solutions for society by providing a physical space and inspiring creativity, innovation and collaboration.

The discussion during the workshop centred on how social innovation might develop in the coming years and the barriers that exist in developing the wider use of more innovative approaches to resolving societal issues - such as the use of language and who has potential ownership of social innovation. The workshop at MindLab included a presentation by You, I and We, who come from an urban design background and have a vision to develop Copenhagen as an international centre for social innovation, leading the rest of Europe.

Whilst in Denmark we took the opportunity to also meet with the Danish Design Centre in Copenhagen (one of our SEEProject partners) and the Healthcare Innovation Centre in Herlev just north of the city to discuss our new service design project (more information to come soon).

La 27eRegion positions itself as a "laboratory of new public policies in the digital age. We want to provide a framework for all those and all those who wish to innovate, experiment with new approaches, and imagine the future of the territories".

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Updates from the SEE Project

May has been a busy month for the SEE project and Design Wales:

- Launched second SEE Policy Booklet – Realising Sustainability and Innovation through Design: Making it Happen in Communities, Industry, Public Sector and Policy-Making.
- Released SEE bulletin issue 3.
- Posted the Design Policy and Promotion Map on the website
- Held third SEE thematic workshop on Evaluating Innovation and Design Policies

Since policies for sustainability and innovation are expected to serve an increasing array of purposes, this second SEE Policy Booklet aims to demonstrate how design can incite a sustainable and innovative mindset among all players in society. For communities, industry, public sector and policy-making the publication outlines the rationale behind policy intervention, explores how design can be employed to realise sustainability and innovation, provides illustrative case studies and puts forward policy proposals.

In this SEE bulletin we have invited Ezio Manzini, Professor of Design at Politecnico di Milano and a leading expert on sustainable design, to contribute the research paper. His article explains social innovation and how design can play a role in this context. Jean Schneider, from the Agence pour la Promotion de la Création Industrielle (APCI), provides a summary of the 7th European Conference on the ‘Challenges of Design Promotion’. The Design Policy and Promotion Programme Map presents interviews from Botswana, Brazil, Kenya, Latvia and Poland. We present two case studies: the Irish programme ‘Innovation by Design’ guided six SMEs through a design approach to understanding client needs and identifying the right ideas to commercialise. The Public Waste Agency of Flanders has launched the Ecolizer 2.0, a smart tool that enables designers to incorporate eco-design into innovative products. Finally, the SEE Library is back again.

To get a global perspective on the growing number and increasing maturity of design policies and promotion programmes, this map presents statements from design practitioners from several countries around the world. Each statement provides us with an overview of the current developments in their country and outlines how design fits into government strategies for fostering innovation. It is now available on the SEE website!

For more information about the SEE workshop visit earlier blog post or the event report.

SEE is a network of eleven European design organisations (co-financed by INTERREG IVC / ERDF) working to integrate design into regional, national and European innovation policy.

Design Wales Presents Innovation Policy Finding at HEI Conference

Design Wales presented our study on innovation policy conducted as part of the SEE project. As a network of eleven European design organisations (co-financed by INTERREG IVC / ERDF), SEE has been investigating the scope and depth of the European policy provisions for innovation and design.

On 21 May 2010, Design Wales presented ‘Academia-Industry Links in Innovation Policy and the Role of Design’ at the HEI conference at Bradford University.

The aim of the study was to present a review of the current state of innovation policy across Europe with particular emphasis on the growing prevalence of academia-industry link and the role of design.

The rationale behind the study was derived from an observation in October 2009 by Jerzy Buzek, European Parliament President: ‘Europe is aiming to become the leading knowledge-based economy. However, innovation excellence is lost somewhere between R&D and the market.’

The presentation is available here and the results were also presented to the Welsh Assembly representatives in the SEE Policy Booklet also available online.

Design Wales at SEE Project Workshop on Design Policy Evaluation

On 10 and 11 May 2010, Design Wales and the SEE project partners met for the third SEE workshop in Florence hosted by Consorzio Casa Toscana. The theme for this workshop was Evaluating Design and Innovation Policies. SEE is network of eleven European design organisations co-financed by INTERREG IVC / ERDF.

‘If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.’
Lord Kelvin, Worldwide Governance Indicators brochure

We had a very intense two days discussing a topic that many design practitioners and even policy-makers do not reflect upon enough. At a time when design is gaining recognition at policy levels across Europe the question of evaluation has become vitally important.

Despite the volcanic ash, all eleven SEE partners attended the event and most were accompanied by a regional government representative although unfortunately two of the speakers’ flights were grounded. Nevertheless, the discussions addressed crucial questions such as:

‘what are the challenges in evaluating policies on design and innovation?’,
‘what information do governments require to inform policy-making?’ and
‘what lessons can be learned from our experiences as design practitioners and government representatives?’

All presentations available on the SEE project website.

On the second day, the SEE partners and government representatives participated in an interactive session to discuss the ideas from the previous day and propose tools to assess and evaluate the impact of design and innovation policies. This part of the workshop was facilitated by FUTOUR using their novel Digital Mosaic tool.

Participants were invited to discuss a number of key issues relating to the workshop objectives in small groups. Each group was provided with a keyboard that allowed emerging ideas to be instantaneously visible on a large screen. The issues discussed centred on how to evaluate the impact of design-based programmes and the rationale for government support in this domain. For each issue that was discussed there was a summing up so that the groups could identify the emerging patterns, key words, insights and piggy-back off each other’s suggestions.

In the afternoon, the groups participated in a scenario building exercise designed to get everyone to reflect on how to improve current practices in evaluation. The groups had to complete six tasks: identifying a research questions, choosing a methodology, investigating indicators, collecting data, presenting arguments and disseminating results.

The findings from this workshop will be presented in the third SEE Policy Booklet due in September 2010.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Design to be championed in new EU innovation policy

Design Wales is keenly following EU innovation policy developments in the European Commission. EurActiv recently interviewed the EU Innovation Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, who stated that the new EU innovation policy due this autumn will be ‘fundamentally different’ to the previous policy. More significantly the scope of EU innovation policy will broaden from the conventional drivers of innovation: R&D, technology and product development, to include a strategic role for social innovation, industrial policy and DESIGN.

When the responsibility for drafting the new document was transferred from Commission DG for Enterprise and Industry to DG Research there were concerns that the progress made by the design lobby in getting design on the agenda would be overlooked. Now it looks like the results of the public consultation will still be incorporated into the new policy although the exact role of design has not been clarified.

To access EurActiv’s interview with EU Innovation Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, click here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Second Pecha Kucha Night for Cardiff

Following the first successful event last month, Lou Cameron has organised a second, authorised, Pecha Kucha event for Cardiff (with the support of a number of organisations, including Design Wales).
This time around the guest speakers include;
Julian Sykes, Designer, Hoffi
Peter Cox, Blogger
Aisha Morris, Design student
Carl Morris, Sleeveface
Anand George, Restaurateur
Amelia Johnstone, Illustrator
Cormac West, Design student
Paul Thurston, Designer, Thinkpublic
Sarah Featherstone, Architect
Nicholas Whitehead, Spoken word artist
You can register your place in he audience via

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Consultation on Digital Media Centre

The Welsh Assembly have asked Design Wales to promote a consultation they are undertaking in relation to the potential development of a digital media centre in Cardiff Bay.

You can take part in a five minute questionnaire via or if you want to find out even more and share ideas about what you think should happen in the building and what types of offices and facilities should be available, they are a holding a workshop on the evening of Monday 17th May in the old Natwest Bank on Bute Street from 6.00 – 7.45 with drinks and light refreshments from 5.30 pm.

Please RSVP if you can make it to Toby Hyam (

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On-line Design Directory for Wales

Wales has a large, capable and diverse design industry. Since 2000 Design Wales has maintained a comprehensive on-line database of design expertise available in Wales so those in the private and public sector can find relevant and local design services.
Much more than a list of contact details the directory allows you to search by region and design discipline and provides vital information to help you find the most relevant design expertise including; principal clients, number of staff and how long they have been established.
This on-line resource can be found at;

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Design Wales hosts live web debate on design

On Friday 26th March, Design Wales hosted a viewing of the live Design Council web-cast ‘Design beyond the recession: For better or for worse?’. The event debated three motions before a live audience in London and wider on-line community - totalling more than 600 people - were able to submit their votes.

David Kester (Design Council Chief Executive) introduced the event and Ursula Davies (Research Manager) presented the latest statistics from the UK design industry survey. According to the research, there are 232,000 designers in the UK. 28% of them are freelance (up 39% from 2005) while those in design consultancies and in-house teams each represent 36%. Since 2005, around 40% of consultancies and freelancers report increasing their fee rates compared with 40% who have registered no change. The survey also revealed that only one in ten designers is a member of a regional design network.

The debate centred on three motions:
1. Recessions are good news in disguise for designers
2. Networks are fine but they won’t keep me in business
3. Tighter finances mean more on the job learning and that’s a good thing

While the debates were lively and informative they were ultimately inconclusive as the delegates and spectators agreed that in each case it was not a question of ‘either or’ but ‘a bit of both’. For example, while the necessities of a recession can lead to innovations, at the end of the day design firms need to balance the books and the figures are often stacked against them. Similarly, while networking and regional design networks can create excellent opportunities for meeting new clients and generating new business, all the fundamental business principles still apply and designers need to sell themselves. Again, in the case of training versus on the job learning, participants agreed that a delicate balance between the two was optimal.

With regards to the second motion, Design Wales was able to submit an online question, which was taken up by the panel: If regional design networks are so great, why are only 10% of UK designers members of one? Is it the cost of membership, value for money, lack of awareness of the networks or the quality of the networks on offer? The issue of regional design networks is one that is currently being examined by both Design Wales and the Design Council. Design Wales is in the process of launching a new forum for Wales while the Design Council is trying to identify the priorities for designers in regional networks across the UK.

For each of the three motions, the distribution of the combined votes from the live and remote audiences was approximately 40% for and 60% against. Nevertheless the event was a success. Although the phrasing of the motions came under criticism from the audience in Wales, the concept behind a live design debate across the UK bringing the diverse design disciplines into an animated discussion was a valuable exercise and one which all involved would like to see take place again.

The full report 'Design Industry Research 2010', including a factsheet on Design Businesses in Wales, can be downloaded from here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

PechaKucha Night in Cardiff

Design Wales are helping to promote the first official PechaKucha night in Cardiff.
Taking place at Chapter in Cardiff on 25th March the line up of 13 speakers with 20 slides shown for a maximum of 20 seconds includes; Michael Johnson of Johnson Banks and Nick Clark of The Partners. You can see the detail on the promotinal poster by visiting the official PechaKucha website.
The night will be webcast live and available on demand a few days later, the link to watch it is

Monday, March 22, 2010

Design Evaluation for Public Policy

On Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th March 2010, Design Wales attended the National School of Government course ‘Evaluating Public Policy and Programmes’ in anticipation of the third SEE workshop. Design Wales is Lead Partner of the SEE Project, a network of eleven design organisations examining how to integrate design into regional policy. SEE is operating from September 2008 to June 2011, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVC programme. The third SEE workshop will be held in Florence on 10th and 11th May and will focus on ‘Evaluation Tools for Implementing Design Policy’. As Lord Kelvin stated in the Worldwide Governance Indicators brochure, ‘If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it’. Evaluation is a key stage in the policy cycle, one which is too often overlooked due to lack to resources. The course involved a six stage policy simulation exercise which addressed each step in the process of evaluation for evidence-based policy-making. The course will not only provide input for the thematic workshop but will also provide valuable input for the third SEE Policy Booklet on the same topic. As James Moultrie mentions in the first SEE bulletin, ‘Whilst there is some evidence to demonstrate the value of design to the firm, there are very few studies that have successfully demonstrated the value of design at a regional or national level’. Therefore evaluation is one of many barriers to achieving the SEE objective of integrating design into regional policy. The absence of a pan-European definition for design means that design is hard to measure and if you cannot measure performance, you cannot evaluate its contribution to public policy. Therefore the challenge set for the third SEE workshop will be investigating various tools and methods for evaluating design in a policy context.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Design Wales to host regional debate event.

On the 26th March between 9:30 and 11am the Design Council are hosting a debate in London that will be available via live webcast. The focus of the event is on design and the economic recession and the questions debated:
  • Are recessions good news in disguise for designers?
  • Has the downturn forced designers to value their networks?
  • Is on-the-job learning better than no learning at all?
And there will be no fence-sitting –at the end of each debate there will be a vote "for" or "against".

Digital design specialist Simon Waterfall is the compere for the morning, calling in the votes not just from the event but from a live webcast audience as well. Speakers locking horns include iconic product designer Tom Dixon, graphics grandee Mike Dempsey and creative industries number cruncher Mandy Merron.

You can register to view and vote from your own computer by visiting:

Design Wales are also hosting an  event to view the webcast and discuss the issues off-line after the vote. If you would like to attend please e-mail

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Design Wales' SEE Project Quoted in Key Design Procurement Report

Earlier this month (2nd March) the Associate Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group (APDIG) and Design Business Association (DBA) launched their report Design and the public good: Creativity vs. The Procurement Process in the House of Lords.

The report is the result of a six month inquiry into the procurement of design services by the public sector and includes a reference to our own SEE Project Policy Booklet - Integrating Design into Regional Innovation Policy.

In addition to highlighting the problems from the perspective of the designer the report expertly outlines the potential benefits being missed by the wider public sector through not working effectively with creative services and goes on to propose recommendations in terms of:
  • Knowledge; to deepen the understanding of the value of design amongst policy makers and buyers.
  • Skills; to improve the capacity and skills of public sector design and innovation procurers.
  • Process; to transform the procurement process for design and innovation.
This report makes a lot of sense and wherever possible we will champion the report in the Welsh public sector through our networking and business support activities. If you want to read the report yourself then visit the APDIG website to download your own copy and find out more about wider government-related design and innovation stories.
For more information visit:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

SEE invited to European Commission St David's Day celebrations in Brussels

1st of March is St David’s Day, the national day of Wales. In preparation for the celebrations, the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones AM hosted a reception in Brussels, at the Concert Noble, on the 22nd February.

Design Wales was invited by WEFO, the Welsh European Funding Office, to attend the reception presenting the SEE project. It was an opportunity to discuss the SEE project with Welsh government representatives and European Commission officials. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Brand Essentials, One-to-One workshops.

We continue to receive enquiries from individuals asking for advice and support about how to develop a brand.  To meet this demand we can now offer a half-day workshop tailored for and delivered to individual organisations to help them understand and manage the brand process – building their confidence to define their specific needs and get the most out of working with external design agencies. This impartial advice will help them make the most of the money they invest in what should be their most valuable asset – their brand.
The workshop includes:
  • A thorough introduction to the brand process.
  • Discussion on how to define your brand values in relation to the competition.
  • A framework for specifying your needs via a comprehensive brief.
  • Guidance on how to find, select and manage the most appropriate external design expertise.
  • Post-workshop support in interpreting quotes & proposals from prospective design agencies.
Dates: The workshops can be arranged at a time convenient to you.
Location: Cardiff, but all other locations can be arranged.
Cost: £300

We can also run this successful and popular Brand Essentials workshop for groups of companies on behalf of any regional business support organisation in the UK - just ask for details.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

SEE bulletin issue 2

At the end of January 2010, the SEE project launched the second edition of the SEE bulletin, one of six to be published between 2009 and 2011.

In this issue, the research paper is a contribution from Hong Kong by Professor John Heskett. ‘Aspects of Design Policy in History’ traces the evolution of policy from images of identity to economic intervention across ancient civilisations, political regimes to present-day economic doctrines. The article ‘From 2009 to 2010: EU and Regional Design Policy Developments’ is a review of the current state of play in the EU and regional design policy debate, a continuation from the article published in the previous SEE bulletin. We also explore the imperative of modernising policy-making through comparing two different approaches to drafting policy in the US and Denmark. This edition’s case studies feature ‘Good Design Selection’ from Korea as an integral part of the government’s innovation and procurement strategy; and ‘Better by Design’ from New Zealand, a government initiative to expand the country’s economy through the successful application of design to export businesses. Finally, we present a snapshot of world design policy news through interviews from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Iceland and Qatar.

The SEE bulletin is the only publication entirely dedicated to exploring matters related to design policies and programmes for design support. It is published by Design Wales, lead partner of the SEE project. The SEE bulletin is distributed to 58 countries around the world.

SEE is a network of eleven European partners exploring how to integrate design into regional and national innovation policies. The project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVC programme. An electronic copy of the bulletin is available to download from the SEE website: If you would like to receive SEE bulletins in the future please email

Saturday, January 30, 2010

SEE visits National Assembly for Wales Senedd

On 28 January 2010, SEE went on a reconnaissance visit to the National Assembly for Wales Senedd in Cardiff Bay. The objective behind the visit was two-fold. First, to explore the Senedd and surrounding administrative buildings in order to possibly in the future locate a SEE project information stand; and second, to ask questions about plenary proceedings and protocols to meet the SEE project aim of liaising with regional government officials in order to integrate design into public policy.

The tour of the Siambr (debating chamber), Public Gallery, Committee Rooms and Oriel (open public space with views down into the Siambr) provided a good context for our theoretical knowledge of the workings of the Senedd. We also discovered that it is possible to set up exhibitions in this area, which might potentially be an option for the SEE project information stand. The visit was also an opportunity to learn about Assembly agenda-setting - the most valuable nugget of information being the news that a petition or manifesto, signed by at least ten Welsh residents has to considered by one of the Committees.

The building itself is very iconic and inspiring architecturally and symbolically. The most striking features include the four glass walls representative of democratic transparency; the Oriel, a large funnel in the centre reflecting natural light into the Siambr intended to encourage visitors to meet and share ideas; and the technological advancement of the Public Gallery, which enables onlookers to see the voting results of the Plenary sessions in real-time and so experience politics in action. The structure is a showcase of sustainable design as the majority of its building materials were locally sourced and with its ingenious use of renewable energy – natural lighting, innovative ventilation system (the Oriel is the largest wind cowl in Europe) and intriguing earth heat exchange system comprised of 27 boreholds each 100 metres deep.

SEE is a network of 11 European design organisations working to integrate design into innovation policies across Europe. It is co-financed by ERDF / INTERREG IVC. For more information visit

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

7th European Conference on Design Promotion

The 7th European Conference on Design Promotion was held in Paris on the 10th and 12th January 2010. It was promoted by APCI, the Agence pour la Promotion de la Creation Industrielle.

The two day-conference was inspired by the theme ‘Design: by all?’. Here are some notes:

Opening speech:
- Nabeel Hamdi, Professor emeritus, Oxford Brookes University (author of ‘Small Change'). If in the past participation could be seen as an obstacle to creativity, engaging with society is now a key for change. Designers must act as catalysts, who can understand the citizens’ needs and plan for change. However, how far should we go when we design? What is the least we can do to get the things done? What is the right balance between freedom and intervention?

First day/morning: Which approaches and methods can satisfy many stakeholders and develop successful results?
- Andrea Siodmok, Dott Cornwall (UK): To promote real change you have to immerse yourself in the context. Dott Cornwall addresses sustainability and an inclusive society, in a world that is complex, where the community doesn’t live in the community green anymore. Involving citizens from the very beginning and throughout the process is important in order to build their ownership and engagement in the project.
- Nathalie Arnould, City EcoLab (France): The involvement of citizens, who are believed to be the actors of change in the context of social innovation. International network was emphasised, in both capturing examples of solutions developed for similar problems, as well as sharing the solutions created in France.
- Daniel Mignolet, Habitat et Participation (Belgium): Again, designers can be catalysts and promote the engagement of citizens in the process of change. However, engagement must be developed responsibly, in order to avoid manipulation, and value empowerment (see ‘Ladder of Citizen Participation’ by Sherry Arnstein, 1969).

First day/afternoon: Living labs in rural areas, commitment of institutions – which types of organisations, partnerships and governance are key success factors? This session was chaired and concluded by Gisele Raulik-Murphy, Design Wales Senior Researcher and SEE project coordinator.
- Jesse Marsh, TLL-Sicily (Italy): Living Labs are user-driven open innovation systems based on a partnership between business, citizens and government, which enables participants to take an active part in the research, development and innovation process. This is applied to technology, ICT and communication sectors. The speaker also talked about the role of regional innovation policy and designers in the current context (which has shifted from building infrastructures to building networks). Regions must overcome the slow policy process at EU level, be creative and promote transversal, demand-driven innovation policy. Designers have the role of contributing to policy formulation, innovation transfer and partnerships. Link to the Governance and Innovation social network.

- Salvador Fernandez Marquez, Cudillero Living Lab (Spain): a practical example of a Living Lab, Cudillero shows the use of information technology benefiting the traditional fishing industry.
- Philip Joyce, Newcastle City Council: examples of projects that have engaged citizens in the course of developing Newcastle, reinforcing the differences between engaging citizens and empowering them during this process. Principles underpinning community engagement in Newcastle: fairness and equality, clarity, learning, inclusion, and capacity building.
- Claes Frossen, City Move Interdesign (Sweden): integrating a multidisciplinary team, where design methods are applied to engage the community around an issue of local and international relevance. Project managed by SVID, the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation, model provided by ICSID, the challenge: to move Gellivare (the town and the community) to a new area, in order to avoid the risk of ground collapse due to the mining industry.
- Gisele Raulik-Murphy, Design Wales/SEE project (UK): To what extent the initiatives could be transferred to other contexts? Is it possible to replicate solutions and magnify the results? The contrast of traditional policy-making (top-down approach), and modern policy-making (bottom-up approach), which seeks for examples of good practices to inform evidence-based government policies.

Second day/morning: The management of design in turbulent times.
- Thomas Bertin-Mourot, Quantum Glass (France): despite the economic crises, the company invests in product development and innovation in the field of high technology glass.
- Patrick McGowan, IBM/Lotus (USA): not all the design decisions must be based on statistics and facts; however, the designer must have the data available to argue its decisions, even if it is against the evidence available. Co-design is an important process also in the private industry, in order to generate design awareness, demystification and appreciation: ‘When you involve people you must do it in a constructive manner’.
- Robert Sachon, BSH Bosch (Germany): in times of difficult economy, good brands seem to perform better. Bosch has continued to invest in design, and its position is still on the top of the brand benchmarking tables.
- Darragh Murphy, PDR, Design Management Europe – DME Award (UK): a comparison of design strategies, based on the practice presented by the participants of the Design Management Europe Award 2008, followed by a critical comment of their performance in the last year, facing the economic downturn. ‘Where design is a supportive activity, companies invest in design according to their performance’. ‘Where design is a core activity, companies invest heavily in design to overcome poor performance’.

Second day/afternoon: Recreating society: a new design territory?
- Stephane Vincent, La 27eme region (France): the application of design methods and creative thinking within local authorities in order to address social innovation issues. ‘I’d like designers to work with public authorities but they have to be proactive and work with other professionals’. At national level there is little exploitation of design, because it is seen primarily as a tool for economic development. At regional level there are more opportunities, as design is employed in social innovation.
- Pelle Ehn, University of Malmo (Sweden): from ‘thing=object’ to ‘things=governance’, the issue of systems, where design plays a role in developing solutions for the future use and users.
- Sara de Boer, T+Huis/Caren Weisleder, Kolding School of Design (The Netherlands and Denmark): design thinking to solve social problems, illustrated by a case study from Eindhoven, The Netherlands, where the city council entrusted a social challenge to design students, who delivered promising results in the context of rescuing women from prostitution and street life. Their design brief: to create a service that would promote perceivable improvement in the women’s lives.

Final session:
- Charlotte Arwidi, DG Enterprise and Industry: what the Commission is currently saying about design, the results of the public consultation ‘Design as a driver of user-centred innovation’, and some possible future (promising!) steps for design at EU level.