Better by design: strengthening UK business and boosting growth

A new strategy on design in innovation sets out to accelerate UK economic growth through a wider take-up of the benefits of good design across industry.

Innovate UK’s ‘Design in innovation strategy 2015-2019’ was launched at the Innovate 2015 event in London.

Design mentor Sebastian Conran endorses new strategy

He said:

It’s a really meaty document. It explains the case for design in a no-nonsense, practical way. It talks about early-stage design and how design can create value in your business and de-risk innovation.

Importance of design highlighted at Innovate 2015

Highlighting the importance of design in the process of innovation, Innovate UK presented an award for the best use of design in an innovation process, judged by a leading panel from the design industry including Sebastian Conran and representatives of the Design Council.

Arctic Shores wins

A designer of game-based recruitment tools, Arctic Shores, has won the Design in innovation award presented at the Innovate 2015 event.

Arctic Shores has worked with psychologists to create games that measure traits such as innovation, persistence, cognitive style, risk propensity, decision-making, conscientiousness, team-work and aptitude.

Robert Newry (centre), managing director and co-founder of Arctic Shores, receives the design in innovation award from Michael Boyd, managing director strategic investment and accounts at UKTI and Ruth McKernan, chief executive of Innovate UK.

Key elements of the design in innovation strategy

The UK is a centre for design excellence, and 1.6 million people are employed in design-intensive industries. It is estimated that for every £1 invested in design, businesses could achieve up to £20 in increased revenue, £4 in increased profit and £5 in increased exports.

More than two-thirds of UK businesses never or rarely use design despite the proven advantages. Encouraging greater use will boost economic growth.

The strategy says Innovate UK will:

  • advocate the use of excellent early-stage design and raise awareness of the value of design in innovation
  • bring together design and technology communities, both nationally and locally
  • fund high-quality, early-stage ‘design foundations’ activity in its priority areas to inspire better ideas for subsequent development
  • invest in design across its portfolio as an allowable cost within collaborative funded projects
  • support knowledge sharing and capability building in design, including through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) and secondments
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