News BCD

Design4Innovation: building capacity for design-driven innovation in SMEs

1 MAR 2017

  • Design Innovation

Barcelona Design Centre takes part in the ‘Design4Innovation’ initiative, an Interreg Europe funded project aimed at supporting governments to integrate design into existing European Regional Development Funds policy instruments to leverage competitiveness in SMEs through European Territorial Cooperation tools. 

The project started in January 2017 and corresponds with the European Commission’s ‘Action Plan for Design-driven Innovation’ (2013), which recognises design as an accessible “tool for user-centred and market-driven innovation in all sectors of the economy” and calls for European regions to develop their Action Plans for Design.

Over the next five years Design4Innovation will be conducted in eight European regions involving eight partners, including regional European governments, design centres and innovation agencies: 

  • PDR, Cardiff Metropolitan University - Leading Partner. Wales.
  • Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship - Government of Flanders. 
  • KEPA - Business and Cultural Development Centre. Greece.
  • LIAA - Investment and Development Agency of Latvia. 
  • Culture Directorate, Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government of Malta.
  • Marshal's Office of Silesia Region, Silesian Government. Silesia.
  • Galician Agency of Innovation. Galicia.
  • BCD (Barcelona Design Centre). Catalonia.

Through interregional knowledge exchange, partners will identify best practices in design support mechanisms for SMEs and engage with policy-makers to integrate support instruments for design into the ERDF operational programmes.

BCD and the ERDF OP Managing Authority will work together to integrate design­driven innovation activities into the implementation strategy of the policy instrument. It is intended to do so through positioning design as an strategic activity within innovation vouchers and mentoring programmes in order to increase the role of design in these mechanisms.

The project partners aim for 2.000 SMEs to benefit from support instruments (both financial and non-financial) to bring more innovative, user-friendly and profitable products and services to the market.

To better inform evidence-based policy-making, we will monitor the impact and evaluate effectiveness of implemented mechanisms during 24-month monitoring phase. Partners are working towards ambitious targets of:

  • 2,000 SMEs accessing vouchers, grants and mentoring programmes,
  • 80% of beneficiary SMEs implementing new products/services,
  • 80% of beneficiary SMEs with increased in turnover.
  • 50% of beneficiary SMEs creating new jobs.

Project results will be shared during a high-level conference in Brussels in 2021.

Further information about Design4Innovation project

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