Design Policy Beacon: The Importance of Country Analysis
The Country Analysis is both a guideline for analysis and the connected editorial format developed to conduct in-depth investigations on the design policy landscape/ecosystem of a country. It serves the purpose of supporting the taxonomy of design policies in a geographical context, investigating both actions and organizations, while ultimately helping local stakeholders connect the dots with one another.
Why do we consider this central?
Design activities are strongly connected to the strategic directions for development decided by national institutions and should therefore be decided in relation with the trajectories of development of the nation itself. Consequently, understanding a local design ecosystem points to a sensitive and nuanced operation that requires a dynamic and systemic model of interpretation. In fact, too often an over-simplistic understanding of design investments leads to a scenario where “government policymakers are poorly informed about where to best invest national resources to facilitate innovation through design” (Love, 2007: p.5).
More to the point, a policy should be formulated taking in consideration the systemic nature of public issues, in the same way Raulik-Murphy et al. recognize that design policies need to address the whole innovation ecosystem:
“The implementation of design policies requires action from a complex network of stakeholders who have accumulated experience, knowledge, capabilities, and leadership in their own areas. Promoting design demands an integrated approach among these stakeholders whether they are from government, the design community, industry, or academia” (2010: 57).
Building on this basis, the idea of Country Analysis is not only to provide raw data (i.e. a list of policy actions and organizations), but also a resource to read relationships, making sense of the complex network of stakeholders that constitute the design system in a country. We tried to achieve this by bringing together different types of information:
- General statistical data, from governmental sources (e.g.: United Nations Statistics Division, OECD, IMF). These are provided to indicate that macro level indicators like GDP or demographics are crucial to compare similar geographical contexts in terms of scale and characteristics;
- Description from experts. Through a synthetic article, written in collaboration with local experts on design innovation and the connected programmes of support (e.g.: The Design Policy Lab, Design Council, LuxInnovation), we have tried to provide an overview of how a country is supporting design, and of who are the key organisations in that ecosystem;
- Categorization of design policies and organizations. This analysis has been the main challenge that has underpinned the Design Policy Beacon. Design policy actions have been analysed through a theoretical framework, taking into consideration both actions in support of design and organizations involved. This has been analysed visually to be easily understandable.
You can access the Country Analysis currently available on the Design Policy Beacon’s Landscape section, by clicking red markers on the map.
At the Design Policy Lab, we are continuously working to enlarge our basis of data and would be happy to involve new partners and experts with this intent. If you want to collaborate, please contact us.
Love, T. (2007). National design infrastructures: the key to design-driven socio-economic outcomes and innovative knowledge economies. In (Ed.) IASDR 07 - International Association of Societies of Design Research. Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Raulik‐Murphy, G., Cawood, G., & Lewis, A. (2010). Design Policy: An Introduction to What Matters. Design Management Review, 21(4), 52-59.