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”.

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