Innovate UK launches four-year design strategy

Innovate UK has published its innovation design strategy for the next four years, seeking to encourage business to realise more value by embedding design within their processes and culture.

A statement from the government agency noted that there are barriers to progress, and "it is not good enough for an idea to be technically feasible, it must also be desirable and fit-for-purpose".

To address this, Innovate UK will launch a programme that will meet business need under four themes:

• Making the case for investment in design.
• Reducing the cost of entry for those new to design.
• Helping businesses access the best design talent.
• Helping businesses maximise the value contribution of design.

The programme will include grant funding opportunities for human-centred design activity as well as broader initiatives, which will be assessed against success criteria in order to deliver value.

Innovate UK will work with industry partners and across government to embed design in innovation, to ensure the UK’s designers maximise their contribution to sustainable economic growth.

Ian Campbell, executive chair at Innovate UK, commented: “Over the last five years, our programmes of investment and support for design have produced impressive results - however, more can be done.

"Despite the UK’s enormous strengths in design, there remains a significant opportunity for more businesses to exploit that potential: recognising, adopting and investing in the best quality design to innovate more effectively, compete successfully and grow faster."

The strategy outlines four ways that good design boosts businesses and the economy, by delivering more valuable outcomes; reducing innovation risk; accelerating scale-up; and improving business performance.

The statement noted that long-term studies by McKinsey and the Design Management Institute have compared the performance of businesses with strong design capability against that of their peers. This shows that businesses that used design best, outperformed their peers by around 200 per cent in terms of revenue and shareholder returns.

"Technology enables supply, but people determine demand," read the statement. "Successful innovation requires both to be aligned, and it is here that great design, as the interface between people and technology, is crucial."

Campbell added: “Innovate UK is at the forefront of the government’s commitment to increase public and private investment in R&D activities, by ensuring that this is integrated with design, the likelihood of success will increase, boosting the return on our own investments and helping to bring wider, long-term outcomes for the whole country."

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