News BCD

85% of European companies recognise that innovation through design increases their competitiveness

29 JAN 2009

This is one of the first conclusions to be drawn from the pan-European study on the state of design management in European countries that is being carried out as part of the Design Management Europe (DME) project. The Design and Enterprise Observatory run by BCD, Barcelona Design Centre is playing an active part in the process of collecting data in Spain.

The purpose of this study is to analyse how European companies manage design. It hopes to identify the obstacles to the use of design and find ways to increase its creative and innovative capacity.

The study takes into account several factors: design planning, designating resources, management skills and know-how, the design management process and recognition of the benefits.

As a point of reference, it has developed a scale of design management based on the Design Ladder (*) system, with the following levels:

  • Non-application of design management
  • Design management as a project
  • Design management as a process
  • Design management integrated in the company culture

Each of these levels is valued according to 5 factors:

  • Recognition of the benefits
  • Planning
  • Resources designated to design
  • Management skills and know-how
  • Design management process

One of the first conclusions to be drawn when establishing the level of design management was that the factors that are most highly valued by companies are expertise (skills/know-how) and the management process, followed by resources and recognition of the benefits.

The surveys show that there is a direct relationship between a company’s level of design management and increased competitiveness, a fact that is recognised by 85% of the companies that participated in the study.

Spanish study
One of the main advantages of this study – which will soon publish its results – is that it will provide data at a national level, giving very valuable up-to-date information on the state of design management in Spanish companies. As soon as these data are published, BCD’s Design and Enterprise Observatory will disseminate them through the usual channels.

The Design and Enterprise Observatory was launched by BCD in 2007 as a permanent tool for benchmarking progress with other countries and regions. Its aim is to compile studies and documents about design and innovation and to carry out its own studies in cooperation with other agents.

As a permanent area of study and reflection on the design situation, its objective is to promote the active circulation of knowledge by providing and disseminating data in an area that has hardly been studied so far.

At present, in addition to the European study on design management, BCD’s Design and Enterprise Observatory is working on another study entitled “The economic impact of design on companies in Catalonia”. This study employs a method used by other countries and regions in order to be able to compare the results. It puts emphasis on the value of the ‘Barcelona brand’ for Catalan companies.

BCD’s Design and Enterprise Observatory consists of three bodies: Executive Committee; Assessment Committee (planning, analysis and evaluation of different studies and work programmes); Scientific Committee (development of studies and/or activities)

(*) The Design Ladder

Drawn up by the Danish Design Centre in 2003, the Design Ladder is a model that classifies companies into four levels of “design maturity” on the basis of their attitude towards design.

• Design as innovation: the designer works closely with the company and participates in the innovation processes.

• Design as part of the process: design is not only a result but also an integral part of the beginning of the development process.

• Design as style: design is only associated with the final form the product takes. A designer is usually employed for this purpose.

• No design: design has little importance in the development process, and other kinds of professionals are used.



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