What about Luxembourg?
In Luxembourg the potential of design often goes unrecognised. This event’s main objective was to raise awareness of the benefits of design-led innovation and to discuss the role policymakers can play. A line-up of great speakers from the public and private sectors contributed to the success of this event, bringing with them a wide range of expertise and a clear commitment to the topic.
The day kicked off with an introduction by Luxinnovation’s Managing Director, Jean-Paul Schuler, who set the scene by providing a glimpse of what good design can achieve for a business. This was followed by an address by the Secretary of State of the Ministry of the Economy, Francine Closener, who outlined her vision of a bright future in which the design field in Luxembourg can grow steadily.
Design is clearly a tool for innovation and a catalyst for competitive growth. Companies that apply design in a strategic manner strengthen their competitive advantage and increase their chances of success. […] Luxembourg might not yet be world famous for its designers and creative industries, but the field is steadily growing and increasingly initiatives are emerging that will allow us to catch up with other countries.
After a brief presentation on the Luxembourg Design Action Group (see below), a roundtable discussion provided some useful insights into what Luxembourg should and could do to promote design. Thanks to the wide range of experience offered by Wallonie Design, MUDAM (Museum of Modern Art), the Luxembourg Ministry of Culture, the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy and the Design Council, the discussion focussed on the importance of including design in national policies. Significantly, Marco Walentiny from Luxembourg’s Ministry of the Economy has publicly committed to integrating design in future policies, in particular to providing co-financing for design-related, innovative projects.
Joannes Vandermeulen, CEO of Namahn, gave the day’s keynote speech. Entitled “What can designers actually do?”, his presentation helped broaden and deepen the understanding of the impact of design.
Designers are methodical in their desire to fail quickly and often make decisions as late as possible, experiment the hell out of a problem and eventually succeed.
The afternoon session opened with an overview of the role of design in business. Isabel Salgueiro from KEPA in Greece, explained the impact design can have for companies and how they can approach it strategically. Two local SMEs explained their way of using design and how it’s given them a clear competitive advantage. Kosmos International (a furniture business) described their experience of including design as a strategic tool, adding significant value to the company. The small team of six have consolidated this by hiring a design manager at the firm. Likewise Co-Planing (a window and door installer), have always strived for excellence in service design and this has had a clear impact on their customer satisfaction.
Good design in the public sector can improve the life of citizens, and from the point of view of a Service Manager it can also enable those services become more effective whilst reducing costs. Alexandre Mussche from design agency Talking Things is an expert in this field, he demonstrated various successful projects implemented across Belgium and France.
Providing an amazing record of the conference and its highlights, illustrator Marnix Oosterwelder produced a 50-metre-long roll of sketches documenting the day’s proceedings.
Luxembourg Design Action Group
In 2010, Luxinnovation and MUDAM (The Museum of Modern Art) started the Luxembourg Design Action Group, working with local partners to develop a Design Action Group (DAG). The plan’s goals are to be a forerunner of a national policy for the promotion of design and to help shape design policy for Luxembourg. The DAG mission is based on four principles: educate and inform on design, encourage the use of design, develop design skills, increase the visibility and access to design.
The group’s members are:
- Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce
- Luxembourg Chamber of Crafts
- Design friends (Design promotion association)
- Design Luxembourg (Luxembourg designers association, member of BEDA)
- Markcom (Association of advertising agencies Luxembourg)
- 1535°C Creative Hub (Centre for creative industries)
- Technoport SA (Business incubator, coworking space & fablab)
- Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean
- MUDAM (Museum of Modern Art and organiser of Design City, the biennale of design in Luxembourg)
- Luxembourg Ministry of Culture
- University of Luxembourg Faculty of Sciences, Technology and Communication
- LUCA (Luxembourg Centre for Architecture)