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European Commission

Press Memo

Brussels, 17 September 2012

Designed for growth: Design to push innovation

Europe has a global leadership position in design. Design plays a key role as an intangible asset for innovative companies. 21% of European companies use design as a strategic means to encourage innovation and the EU's design sector has an annual turnover of €36 billion. In order to fully exploit the design's potential to boost innovation, growth and job creation, the European Commission set up the European Design Innovation Initiative1. Its policy recommendations– the report "Design for Growth and Prosperity" – which were presented today to European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani at the European Design Innovation Summit in Helsinki, the World Design Capital in 2012.

A broad understanding of design will help Europe's enterprises to provide better products and services and increase the standard of living for EU citizens. While design is a key European asset it has not yet been fully exploited to foster competitiveness.

What are the proposed recommendations for design policy?

The 21 policy recommendations of the European Design Leadership Board address six areas for strategic action:

  • the global stage; including identifying and strengthening existing European Design Centres, and creating a Designed in the European Union" label;

  • Europe's innovation system; including new methods to measure the growth impact of investment in design, and including design within innovation and business incubators and their networks;

  • Europe's enterprises; including strengthening design innovation in SMEs and facilitating access to finance for design-led companies;

  • the public sector; including increasing the use of design and designers in public sector innovation by establishing design labs;

  • the research system; including embedding design research in Europe’s research system; and

  • the education system; including fostering a culture of design learning and encouraging Member States to support the development of design competencies for the 21st century.

Who created the recommendations?

The European Design Leadership Board, a group of 15 experts drawn from industry, SMEs, national and regional innovation agencies and the academic world, delivered the recommendations. The reason for this diversity was to provide the critical link between design and innovation. The Board's members were nominated by the European Commission to steer the initiative and to make proposals to enhance the role of design in innovation policy.

What is the European Design Innovation Initiative?

In line with the commitment taken in the Innovation Union strategy, the European Design Innovation Initiative was launched in 2011 to exploit the full potential of design for innovation and to reinforce the link between design, innovation and competitiveness. The initiative aims to raise awareness about design as a driver of innovation in Europe. Another key goal is to enhance the role of design as a key discipline for bringing new ideas to the market and for transforming these ideas into user-friendly and appealing products, processes or services for enterprises and public services in the EU.

What are the next steps?

Based on the recommendations of the European Design Leadership Board, the Commission will take further measures to enhance the role of design for innovation. In October, the Commission is going to present proposals for a modern industrial policy with a view of boosting jobs and growth in Europe. The Commission will continue the dialogue on design with stakeholders.

For more information about the Design Leadership Summit see:

http://europeandesigninnovation.eu

For more information about design and EU industry:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/innovation/policy/design-creativity/index_en.htm

1 :

What is the European Design Innovation Initiative?

In line with the commitment taken in the Innovation Union strategy, the European Design Innovation Initiative was launched in 2011 to exploit the full potential of design for innovation and to reinforce the link between design, innovation and competitiveness. The initiative aims to raise awareness about design as a driver of innovation in Europe. Another key goal is to enhance the role of design as a key discipline for bringing new ideas to the market and for transforming these ideas into user-friendly and appealing products, processes or services for enterprises and public services in the EU.


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