Exploring the value of design.

Design Action Plan: The Introduction

Design Action Plan is an AHRC funded research project led by Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University and PDR, Cardiff Metropolitan University in partnership with the Design Council. The aims of the project is to develop an action plan optimising the strategic use of design in the public and private sectors in the UK for maximum societal and economic benefit.

Research demonstrates that design has a huge role to play in driving innovation that results in societal and economic benefit (Design Council, 2018; Innovate UK, 2016). This benefit is currently not being maximised in the UK as we do not have a consolidated, national action plan for design that integrates key stakeholder agendas (e.g. Design Council, BEIS, AHRC, NESTA, Innovate UK, KTN, etc.) and generates new insights that results in an evidence-based, high-level resource which compels decision-makers to enhance and increase the strategic use design as a driver of innovation. An action plan is critical as it provides users of design with a heightened, high-level understanding of what routes to innovation design can offer organisations and how design can be operationalized to maximise societal (enhanced wellbeing, increased social cohesion, improved human experiences) and economic (innovative products, improved services, efficiency gains) benefit. The integration of the what (demonstrating) and the how (implementing) sets this research apart from previous studies as it connects strategic vision with operational stepping stones of how design can create societal and economic benefit and as a result enhance the competitiveness of, and wellbeing in, the UK.

The research challenge therefore is to develop a comprehensive action plan in such a way that it combines an evidence based high-level resource that compels decision-makers (in both the public and private sectors) to increase and enhance the strategic use of design as a driver for innovation and provides a roadmap to how that could be achieved.

For more information about the project team, steering group members and partners, please visit the people page here.

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