Exploring the opportunities and challenges of European design policy to enable innovation. The case of the Designscapes project

Abstract

Design for innovation and prosperity policy has been recognised and adopted worldwide. Existing literature on design policy often adopts a top-down perspective to analyse the components of the design innovation system and ignores the practical needs of practitioners. Our study aims to explore the potential opportunities and challenges of design policy for design-enabled innovation from a bottom-up perspective. First, we analyse the enabling role of design in the context of design as an input, output and innovation process, with an emphasis on the conception of design-facilitated innovation; subsequently, European design policies are reviewed in terms of characteristics, priorities and strategies at EU, national and regional levels. Based on multiple case studies on the SWOT analysis of 50 European design innovation initiatives, we summarise eight dimensions of SWOT factors – organisation, production, performance, knowledge, environment, market, technology and institution – to identify the main strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats faced by practitioners and discuss common and specific factors that could influence the identification of SWOT strengths taking into account country and sector factors. It is concluded that European design policy is in an intergenerational transition from awareness raising to capacity building, which calls for more coordinated policies to address current opportunities and challenges.

Journal Article Data de publicació 2020 Journal Sustainability Volume 12 Issue 12 DOI 10.3390/su12125132