In March, Design for Europe ambassadors from Slovenia, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal gathered in Luxembourg to take part in a peer-to-peer event on design policy organised by Politecnico di Milano (Polimi) and Luxinnovation. For Polimi, it was an opportunity to share their latest project, the Design Policy Beacon, with selected ambassadors. For Luxinnovation, the event represented the next stage in a conversation that had begun at their What about Luxembourg? event in October 2015 to raise awareness of the benefits of design-led innovation for policymakers.

The event provided an opportunity to showcase Luxembourg’s Design Action Group model to representatives from countries who might benefit from setting up a similar structure. Participants were also introduced to tools and frameworks, developed as part of the Design Policy Beacon, that could help them create a national design action plan. A workshop then helped attendees map their national context in terms of design policies, activities and initiatives – then identify stakeholders who could help develop and implement new design policy.

Introducing Luxembourg’s Design Action Group model

In 2010 Luxinnovation, the National Agency for Innovation and Research, and MUDAM, the Museum of Modern Art, created the Luxembourg Design Action Group (DAG) with the help of a team of design consultants, communication agencies and representatives from the Ministries of Economy and Culture.

Design experts from national organisations and institutions volunteered their time to map the current political environment, then identify strategic goals for the Action Group. This led to the development of a Design Action Plan, which aimed to be a forerunner of a national policy for the promotion and growth of design-led innovation in Luxembourg.

The Design Action Group identified 6 priority areas of work:

  • Integrating design into the business sector
  • Supporting the design sector
  • Promoting and raising awareness of design culture
  • Integrating design into the education system
  • Basic and applied research in design
  • Other (legal implications, organisation and follow-up)

Design Action Plan, Luxembourg Design Action Group (2010)

Outcomes from the event

The event’s activities and exchanges have been summarised in the downloadable Design Policy in Action Workshop report produced by the Design Policy Lab. The document gathers all the data given by and to the workshops’ participants, helping to provide a clear understanding of the method and conclusions.

The first exercise encouraged participants profile their country by categorising existing design policies into groups such as human development, asset development and framework development. This categorisation helps build up a picture of what might be missing within the policy landscape of a given country.

Policy categorisation, Design Policy Beacon, Politecnico di Milano (2016)

The second exercise was created to help identify the organisations and institutions that could play a specific role in drafting a national design policy. The five suggested principal roles in this process being: funder, policymaker, intermediary, beneficiary and evaluator. Each ambassador chose potential stakeholders, such as government departments, public sector organisations, incubators and design centres that could support the development and an adoption of national policy.

The event resulted in some valuable discussions of different national scenarios, and it’s clear to us that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for Europe. But by providing tools and sources of inspiration, we hope to have kick-started a process of creating national design policies that reflect the specific challenges of each nation.

Event photos

The event was organised by Design for Europe partners Politecnico di Milano, Luxinnovation and Design Council.

The Design Policy in Action Workshop report is now available to download. You can find out more about the work of the Design Policy Lab, including the Design Policy Beacon, at

All the presentations created for the event are available to download at the links below: