23 March 2008

UK govt reveals design driven innovation strategy

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Innovation nation
Last week’s Budget and two policy documents have put design firmly at the heart of the Government’s innovation strategy, reports Emily Pacey in mad.co.uk.

“In an orchestrated effort to boost innovation in public services, two Government departments published papers last week that include design – usually the preserve of culture and trade – on their agendas.The Budget’s stated commitment to support small, innovative enterprises springs from the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills’ White Paper Innovation Nation [pdf, 923 kb, 101 pages] and the Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform’s new strategy, Enterprise: Unlocking the UK’s Talent [pdf, 4.7 mb, 105 pages]”.

“BERR’s report – labelled the most salient part of the Budget by Confederation of British Industry chairman Richard Lambert – notes the strength of the design industry and acknowledges that connections between design and business are weak. However, it is Innovation Nation that puts design at its heart, detailing three Government-backed projects run by, or involving, the Design Council.” […]

“Minister for Innovation Ian Pearson believes that design is central to innovation and that innovation is key to improving public services. ‘Building design into the services of local authorities and Government departments is going to be important for the future,’ he tells Design Week. ‘The contribution of design to innovation hasn’t been emphasised enough until now, but user-led innovation always clearly demonstrated the importance of design in developing new products, processes and new ways of working.'”

An article on Science|Business provides more background:

“Innovation is changing, and government policy needs to be updated to reflect this says the UK government in a White Paper published this week, which promises to put public procurement at the centre of innovation policy for the first time.”

“This will have an international dimension, with the government pledging to align its policies with the European Commission’s lead markets initiative.” […]

“Each government department will be expected to draw up an Innovation Procurement Plan as part of its commercial strategy, to drive innovation through procurement and use innovative procurement practices.” […]

“The EU’s lead market initiative has picked out electronic healthcare systems, protective textiles, sustainable buildings, recycling, bio-based products and renewable energy, as areas where Europe’s spending power can drive innovation. It plans to help by improving legislation, applying public procurement and developing standards.” […]

“The UK government has ditched the simplistic view of innovation as a disengaged process of investment in fundamental research leading to commercialisation by industry. Now it recognises that innovation draws on a wide variety of sources and is driven as much by demand as by supply.” […]

“Switching the focus to the demand side will drive innovation by encouraging innovators to meet new, advanced needs. “Early users, whether they be individuals, businesses or government itself, shape innovations in their most important phase of development and provide critical early revenue,” says the White Paper.”

(via Niti Bhan on Core77)

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