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As the economic and environmental crises deepen, there is a growing recognition that many aspects of our lives need to be reinvented. Politicians routinely call for the “redesign” of society, and urge businesses to “innovate” their way out of recession. This readiness to embrace change — even radical change — coupled with advances in science and technology, is unleashing a stream of innovations. Design is at the forefront of this. Here is a link
to a related article in the NYT.

At ERRIN, we have just launched a Task Force on Design. It is lead by our Chair Eindhoven, which has one of the most renown design schools in the world, the Eindhoven Design Academy. One of the imminent goals of this new task force will be to coordinate a joint ERRIN input into a European Commission working document on “Design as a driver of user-centred innovation” that is being compiled as input into the forthcoming European innovation plan. A public consultation is currently running. But this task force grouping all ERRIN regions that have an interest in putting design at the center of their regional innovation strategies and supporing their related economic clusters will also try to establish design firmly within the ERRIN agenda of knowledge and good practice exchange between our member regions.

  • Design is an important part of the innovation process. Research shows that design-driven companies are more innovative than others.
  • Design is increasingly considered a strategic tool for user-centred innovation. As such, it is a holistic and multidisciplinary problem-solving approach that takes user needs, aspirations and abilities as its starting point and focus. The potential of design to make products, services and systems correspond better to environmental and social needs has also received increasing attention in recent years.
  • Design as an innovation activity is complementary to R&D in that it transforms research into commercially viable products and services, and brings innovation closer to user needs.
  • It is argued that although discrepancies currently exist between companies of different sectors and sizes, design has the potential to be more widely used, particularly in SMEs, low-tech companies and the service sector.
  • I will keep you posted on this initiative.

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