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 |                                                                       |
 |  In the framework of the transnational innovation plan (X) and based|
 | on recommendations from a group of experts on design which met last   |
 | week in Luxembourg the Commission has decided to launch a first series|
 | of projects in this field, namely:                                    |
 |    - several publications concerning design,                          |
 |    - a basic manual on design aimed especially at managers in Small   |
 |      and Medium sized Enterprises,                                    |
 |    - a travelling conference/exhibition project,                      |
 |    - a transnational seminar on design management consultancy.        |
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                 Design, a key factor in competitiveness
    European companies have to compete in markets where the capacity to
 develop new products, or new versions of existing products, is one of
 the keys to success.  Some specialists go so far as to say that 80% of
 the products that will be on the market in 10 years time do not yet
 exist or are still in the development stage.  Design, both art-based  and
 engineering-based, is a vital skill contributing to the creation  of new
 products; to their inherent "quality", and to the "corporate  image"
 which can be a determining factor in sales and marketing  campaigns.  As
 such, design and design management are destined to play  an ever greater
 role in the innovation process itself and to become an  increasingly
 important factor in the competitiveness of European  companies.
    The Community has a great reservoir of skill and experience in this
 field, but, as is often the case, this is unevenly spread through the
 Member States both in geographic and economic terms, and the  importance
 of good design in product innovation is all too often  underestimated.
 Much can therefore be achieved by a joint European  effort to promote
 design and to work towards "design synergy" between   the existing forces
 in the different Member States.
    This is why the Commission, in the context  of the transnational
 innovation plan, recently took the initiative of creating a working
 group on design, as a sub-committee of the CIT (Consultative Committee
 on Innovation and Technology Transfer).  The first meeting was held on
 January 21st and 22nd 1986 in Luxembourg.  The experts from the Member
 States who make up the group stressed the benefits to the European
 economy, especially with regard to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises,
 that could be expected from improved cooperation on a transnational
 basis.  As a result of these discussions, the Commission has decided  to
 launch a first series of projects.  These include multilingual
 publications entitled respectively "The Design Based Enterprise",
 "Design Management in Practice" and the "Corporate Design Programme",   a
 basic manual in several languages on design aimed especially at  managers
 in SMEs; a travelling conference/exhibition project, and a  transnational
 seminar on design management consultancy.
 (X) Three-Year plan for the transnational development of the support
 infrastructure for innovation and technology transfer, OJ L 353 of 15
 December 1983.                                               ./.
           
 2.
    These projects, jointly undertaken by different national design
 centres and co-financed by the Community, will be coordinated by the
 Danish Design Centre.  Furthermore, the UK undertook to carry out a
 feasibility study for a directory of European designers, and Ireland
 will draw up proposals for a programme of exchange visits between
 design centres.  The results of this work will be examined at the next
 meeting of the group in April, when the question of a European design
 prize will be looked at in detail.

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