Design-led Innovation for Business
How might we shape a design support programme for EU regions?
That was the question at the heart of this two-day event in Lublin, run by Design for Europe in partnership with Lubelski Instytut Designu (the Lublin Design Institute).
Taking the learning from previous programmes which have aimed to promote economic growth through design, how can future programmes aim to do it better; to learn from past mistakes, and to repeat successes. What does ‘good’ look like, and how can Design for Europe help bring it about?
The event was held in Lublin, a city in Eastern Poland, which has been undergoing significant regeneration in recent years. Policymakers had been exploring the creation of a business support programme to encourage the use of design for economic competitiveness.
Day 1 - Conference
The first day was a conference, open to the public, hosted at Lubelski Park Naukowo Technologiczny (Lublin Science and Technology Park). It focussed on sharing examples of best practice, from Poland and beyond.
Presentations were given from international attendees Design Council (UK), Luma Institute (USA/Ireland) and Birmingham City University (UK). There were also presentations from local leaders who explored how Poland could benefit from this type of activity. This included representatives from Lublin City Hall, Lublin Trade Fairs, the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP), and the Marshall Office for the region.
Day 2 - Workshop
The second day was built around a smaller, practical workshop, led by Design Council’s Jonathan Ball and Luma Institute’s Justin Knecht. (For those seeking more detail, please see the pdf link below.)
The event brought together local Polish stakeholders, the Design Council, and a number of Design for Europe’s national Ambassadors (from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Malta). Between them, they went through a practical process to design a theoretical design support programme for an EU region.
This workshop used the Business Support Canvas, a methodology developed as part of the SEE Project (a predecessor to Design for Europe). This was originally based upon design support programmes that had been run in Brazil, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and Wales. More information about this methodology can be found here.
Between them the participants shaped and tested four models of design support programmes: three regional-level and one EU-wide programme. At their core, all four models aimed to promote economic growth in Europe: by ensuring that businesses had the skills and resources they need.
Whilst this activity was designed to be a “rough-and-ready” prototyping exercise, the participants left with the skills and contacts to re-run this exercise and use it to support the development of programmes in their home countries.
Our hope is that this work leads to sustainable support programmes, which learn from one another, and – by not repeating past mistakes – contribute to stronger growth across Europe.
More details can be found in our short report below: