PDR, Cardiff Metropolitan University
What is Design for Innovation?
Design for Innovation (Design4Innovation) is a collaborative project of eight European partners working together to promote design as a tool for user-centred innovation. Design4Innovation aims to help small and medium enterprises create more desirable products and services, be more profitable and grow faster; ultimately enhancing competitiveness of European SMEs.
The project corresponds with the European Commission’s ‘Action Plan for Design-driven Innovation’ (2013), which states that:
"A more systematic use of design as a tool for user-centred and market-driven innovation in all sectors of the economy, complementary to R&D, would improve European competitiveness. Analyses of the contribution of design show that companies that strategically invest in design tend to be more profitable and grow faster."
The Commission encourages all EU Member States and Regions to develop Design Action Plans. However, the route to building capacity for design-driven innovation in SMEs is not clear for policy-makers. Through interregional knowledge exchange, we will identify best practice in design support mechanisms for SMEs and engage with policy-makers to integrate support instruments for design into the ERDF operational programmes.
Our objective is to integrate design-driven innovation for SME competitiveness into the ERDF operational programmes of eight countries/regions and consequently for 2,000 SMEs to benefit from the policy instruments for design by the end of 2021.
Our main outputs will be:
9 thematic workshops using hands-on methods to facilitate shared learning among policy-makers,3 Policy Booklets for governments to integrate design into ERDF policy instruments,4 video explaining design for innovation,8 Design Action Plans,1 high-level conference.
Our anticipated impact
To better inform evidence-based policy-making, we will monitor the impact and evaluate effectiveness of implemented mechanisms during 24-month monitoring phase. We are working towards ambitious targets of:
2,000 SMEs accessing vouchers, grants and mentoring programmes, 80% of beneficiary SMEs implementing new products/services, 80% of beneficiary SMEs with increased in turnover, 50% of beneficiary SMEs creating new jobs.
We will share our results during a high-level conference in Brussels in 2021.