Thursday, May 27, 2010

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.

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