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 (