Sharing Experience Europe (SEE)

European Commission
3 years
Project partners
SEE consortium


Design is increasingly recognised by governments across Europe as crucial to innovation in business, the public sector and policy. However there is a perceived lack of evidence on the effectiveness of design, and this is often cited as a barrier to including design in innovation policy.

Sharing Experience Europe (SEE) set out to address this challenge, bringing together 11 partners from across Europe to work with national and regional governments, providing evidence and insight to support the integration of design into innovation policies and programmes.Led by PDR, the National Centre for Product Design and Development Research at Cardiff Metropolitan University, SEE is a key project of the European Commission’s European Design Innovation Initiative (EDII).

There is growing awareness in Europe of design as a factor for innovation but the route to improved design capabilities is unclear for policymakers.

Anna Whicher
Head of Policy, PDR & Coordinator, SEE Platform

How design helped

Through new research, workshops, case studies, policy recommendations and the annual Design Policy Monitor, SEE set out to create evidence-base that would enable public authorities to make design part of their innovation policies and programmes.

Design’s role as a driver of innovation can often be difficult concept for policymakers to grasp. So SEE invited them to hands-on workshops, providing the participants with practical experience of how design methods and tools can add value. Over the course of the project the SEE partners ran a total of 102 workshops with over 800 policymakers covering design policy, design support, service design, social design and design management. These emphasis of these sessions was on usable insights into how design could help achieve policy aims.

The SEE partners also brought together a huge amount of data from national and regional studies published through the SEE website. This includes:

A library of case studies

The SEE website hosts 98 case studies of design programmes and practices, highlighting examples of government policies and programmes where design and innovation are linked.

SEE Policy Bulletins

12 SEE Policy Bulletins provided updates on design policies and promotion programmes, distributed in more than 60 countries around the world. They include research papers, interviews, special reports, policy updates and case studies.

SEE Policy Booklets

These four policy booklets contain policy proposals that have been developed from ideas and best practices shared at the SEE Workshops.

Design policy and promotion map

The Design policy and promotion map brings together insights from design practitioners and policymakers around the world showing the growing number and increasing maturity of design policies and promotion programmes.

Design Policy Monitor

In the Design Policy Monitor, SEE partners have collated a huge amount of evidence from design studies across Europe.

SEE has successfully influenced policies and programmes across Europe through the combination of our peer-learning platform and our programme of workshops.

Anna Whicher
Head of Policy, PDR & Coordinator, SEE Platform


  • €8.5M new investment in design programmes
  • 1000+ policymakers took part in workshops
  • 18 design-related policies influenced
Watch a short film about the impact of the SEE project

Watch a short film about the impact of the SEE project

As a result of the SEE research and engagement by SEE partners, design now features in the national policies of Denmark, Estonia, Finland and Greece. It also features at a regional level in Wales (UK), South Bohemia (Czech Republic), Greater Copenhagen (Denmark), Central Finland, Central Macedonia (Greece) and Silesia (Poland).

As a result of SEE, the Welsh Government has recognised the economic importance of design and is financing a number of new programmes to enable companies to use design effectively.

Phil Allen
Department of Economy, Science & Transport – Welsh Government

In addition to influencing 18 policies, SEE has resulted in the implementation of 48 new design-related programmes. This amounts to new investment in design programmes of over €8.5m.

SEE has resulted in real life changes in our organisation. We have included design in our SME support programme, we are using service design as an instrument for improving our day to day work and design is part of our region’s top-level economic policy.

Bernard de Potter
Administrator-General, Flemish Government

The project has also made an impact at European Commission level. Speaking at the SEE conference in 2011 Peter Dröll, the EC’s head of industrial innovation policy, announced his vision that “by 2020, design is a fully acknowledged, well-known, well recognised element of innovation policy across Europe”.