Re:Connect was a pilot programme with the purpose of building strategic design capabilities to SMEs and designers.
Re:Connect, was a pilot program for 5 SMEs and 10 designers, provided by the Hellenic Design Centre in collaboration with experts on customer insights, user experience and product/service development, that aims to build Strategic Design capabilities to SMEs and Designers.
Re:Connect had two main goals. On the one hand, SMEs could better understand the market and the real needs of their customers in order to increase their satisfaction and dedication rates, making themselves more "customer-centric". On the other hand, designers with different professional backgrounds, could develop new skills and "train" in Design Thinking methodology to incorporate it into their mode of operation.
The programme was designed to last 6 weeks, with only one dedicated meeting (2-4 hours) once a week that could vary from B2B meetings to workshops for all the Re:Connect participants. In particular:
• 3 B2B sessions with all working group members, where Hellenic Design Centre staff provided guidance in order to enable the group to define the existing KPIs by focusing on the overall performance, on processes, employees, sales etc.
• 2 joint workshops with all beneficiaries/working groups, where they were trained in the use of customer-oriented and customer experience identification tools, while at the same time they had the chance to exchange experiences and insights.
• 1 closing event where beneficiaries had the chance to share what they had learned and executed during the six-weeks period.
The Hellenic Design Centre (empowered by KEPA) funded the programme with 18.000 €.
Participation was free for the companies and the designers.
Evidence of success
Based on the evaluation reports, the Participating SMEs highly appreciated the trainings - workshops, the strategic B2B meetings and the overall collaboration with the designers assigned to them. They also reported that the ‘triangle’ between the Hellenic Design Centre, the SMEs and the designers worked way much better and harmonically than expected. All participating companies changed part of their strategies. From the other hand participating designers gained new knowledge.
Based on the feedback and the suggestions gathered from the participants, together with HDC’s staff insights on the implementation of the pilot, a different application form is needed for the next rounds of the programme that will include more qualitative data on the current state of the company.
Potential for learning or transfer
Re:Connect was a pilot programme aimed at a limited number of companies and designers and focused on quality and in-depth learning rather than quantity. The programme had double purpose. On the one hand to help companies understand basic user centre design principles, build confidence and help them get closer to their customers by providing them with simple design thinking tools and techniques on how to engage with their clients and put their needs at the center of moving their business forward. On the other hand, to support local Designers to develop their skills, expand their knowledge and connect with innovative companies. Re:connect was a small and flexible design support programme that was meant to build both supply and demand for design in Greece, at the same time. The initiative can inspire countries that are lagging behind in design driven innovation and are looking for a small and low budget programme to support both design supply and demand in their ecosystems.