€3.8 million Pan-European design programme makes huge strides in its first year

By John O'Hanlon

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]

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