€3.8 million Pan-European design programme makes huge strides in its first year
Design for Europe has reached more than 25,000 people since launching a year ago. The three-year,€3.8 million European Commission (EC) funded programme aims to help organisations in the public and private sector use design to accelerate innovation. The project was set up to boost economic growth and job creation across Europe through design-led innovation.
Design for Europe is part of the EC’s Action Plan for Design-Driven Innovation and is being delivered by a 14-strong consortium led by Design Council in the UK. In the first year the consortium has:
· Established the Design for Europe web platform designforeurope.eu which brings together knowledge and examples of design for innovation from across the EU. The aim is for the site to become a one-stop-shop for anyone in search of the latest tools, techniques and research for applying design and to help them connect with peers.
· Held 26 awareness events across 15 European countries and 19 cities, engaging more than 2,000 people.
· Reached more than 23,000 people online, spanning policymaking, the public sector, SMEs and their intermediaries.
· Established a network of hundreds of influencers in ‘need to reach’ countries such as Poland, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Latvia, where uptake of design has historically been low.
· Created an expert group including leading figures in design, academia and business to bring in additional expertise and insight to the programme.
Annabella Coldrick, Design for Europe programme coordinator and Director of Policy and Research at Design Council, said: “Europe’s economy needs innovation to grow. 21 percent of European companies are already using design as a means to encourage innovation, but we want to increase this. To do that we need to promote the adoption of design as a driver for competiveness, prosperity and well-being across the EU.”
“In the first year, Design for Europe has had considerable success in reaching a wide audience across Europe. As we move into the second, we want more organisations to join our growing community and help us change the way business, the public sector and policymaking work for the better. Organisations can do this by suggesting case studies, events and resources for inclusion on our web platform.”
A Design Council report, Design Delivers for Business, showed that every pound invested in design translates into £4.12 net operating profit, £20+ net turnover and £5.27 net exports. In addition, the Danish Design Centre also found that companies who purchased design enjoyed gross revenues approximately 22 percent higher than companies that didn’t.
For more information about Design for Europe and to sign up for the newsletter visit designforeurope.eu. For organisations looking for expert speakers on the field of design innovation, Design for Europe can help, contact [email protected]
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”