An understanding of the current situation and processes in design in an interdisciplinary and informal context which transcends traditional sectoral boundaries.
The idea of developing “Design Strategy of Latvia 2017-2020” emerged in 2013 when not only state officials, but also various industry leaders and society recognized, that design is applicable to various socially meaningful areas. Thereby Latvian Design Council and the Ministry of Culture of Latvia with the help of guest design experts developed a strategy by mapping out a Design Action Plan, using design as a strategic instrument in the growth of national economy, well-being of individuals of society, as well as formation of the cultural identity and creation of the state’s image. Additionally a design ecosystem model of Latvia was developed within the European Union (EU) Interreg project “Design4Innovation” determining the main stakeholders, beneficiaries and components of the practice - entrepreneurs, designers, state and municipalities, education, science and research, society, information and media, international audience, support, data and reputation. The strategy’s goal is in line with a notion expressed in the context of a contemporary design exhibition cycle “Design Manifestation” held in 2015 during Presidency of Latvia of the Council of the EU - everyone has the same rights for design as they have for proper healthcare, education, living conditions. The strategy outlines different tasks according to the needs of design ecosystem participants to enhance quality and visibility of Latvian design, to integrate design in business and to improve design management.
Developers of the strategy contributed intellectual and time resources to create the practice. A handbook “Design of Latvia 2020” was produced to explain the strategy in a user-friendly way and a four part discussion cycle on design was held. Total cost of activities was 12 641 euros.
Evidence of success
The practice has developed a better inter-institutional cooperation. For example, Latvian Design Council and the Ministry of Education and Science formed a competence based model to integrate design in education within a project “School 2030” during a currently ongoing educational system reform. Also Investment and Development Agency operates a Creative industries business incubator and 15 regional business incubators to strengthen innovation capacity within creative and other industries.
The development of the design strategy would have gone easier if there were any statistical data about the design added value to economies. In Latvia as well in Europe there is no such data gathered. This is an issue that has to be solved not only on a national level, but in Europe as well.
Potential for learning or transfer
The strategy has shown how cooperation between different level institutions of different fields has created various outcomes with a high added value and a long term effect on every area of societal importance. For instance, the strategy and the handbook “Design of Latvia 2020” have supported public administration reform development in Latvia by promoting work effectiveness and lessening administrative burden. It also has helped to introduce the National Design Award of Latvia in 2017, as well as to promote design thinking methods in different target audiences and to integrate them into public administration work. In the near future there is a plan to create a Design Contact Point - a design “hot spot” to help connect people in regards to design in various different industries, to lobby Latvian design industry both locally and internationally, to aid in educating society about design, and to operate the database of Latvian design experts.
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