Things here have gone crazy. In the coming two months I will produce a conference paper, a funding proposal, and the first year report of my PhD – all things which only really became set in motion less than a week ago! If you’re an academic you’ll understand, but needless to say it’s going to be insane.
So, as a sneaky hidden bonus of this increased output, I’m hoping that I will be able to add more to here as things move forwards. So here I go…
Today I was looking through the latest EU and EC policies on design as part of the Europe 2020 strategies and was excited to come across a report released a few weeks ago by the European Design Leadership Board entitled: Design for Growth and Prosperity.
This report highlights ‘the importance of design as a driver of user-centered innovation across Europe‘ and details the critical challenges for design, as well as the EU’s vision for the future (including details of strategic actions and proposals). I am sure I will offer a more complete review of the whole thing at some point in the near future, but for now I just wanted to share a couple of interesting observations on my first glance.
Ubiquitising Action Steps
In the report (page 11), there is a wonderful paragraph which they have named ‘Ensuring success‘ and it highlights the three major proposals put forwards to the EC at the end of this report as a call to action. These three key areas align perfectly with three of my own action steps so I wanted to share them with you:
- Proposal A = Awareness / The EU’s plan to deliver a targeted communication and advocacy programme highlights the need to simply make people aware of what’s going on.
- Proposal B = Communication / Plans to ‘establish a permanent dialogue on design’ using a networked organisation across Europe demonstrate the need to open lines of communication across all countries and sectors.
- Proposal C = A Yardstick / As with any governmental endeavor, the report highlighted that the need for monitoring is key to show progress, and a focus will be placed on establishing mechanisms to do just this.
Throughout the report there are a number of places where very similar themes are discussed and the need for multidisciplinary collaboration and better education is widely noted, but another interesting passage caught my eye on page 25. This section discusses the impact of digitalisation on design:
“the conventional borders between product design, production and the user are beginning to merge. The internet and the active use of social media not only enable the dissemination of digital works, but also the co-creation of products or services that can engage users from the outset.”
This section recognizes the impact of these technosocial changes on the shape of the value chain and not only how we deliver products from producer to consumer, but how we can design them. Or, perhaps more correctly, how we can co-design them.
The report goes on to say that the tradition of active citizenship within the EU will make the perfect environment for co-design of public services, and I can’t help but think they might be right. I hope that the EC hear their call for better tools to help facilitate co-design methods and engage the users directly.
Perhaps what we need to achieve this is ways for the public to access/share/edit all the knowledge that will be collected and disseminated through the three proposals above.