Robin Edman Interview

Robin Edman, Chief Executive of SVID, Swedish Industrial Design Federation, took over as BEDA President at the recent General Assembly in Milan. We spoke to him about his plans for the next two years.

BEDA has recently been successful in securing an EU Network Call – how does that affect your position as you take over the presidency?

In contrast with previous presidencies, this one is set up to appear easier: we have funding for three years; for the first time ever, we have employed a person to run a project of this size; we have more members, more money, more personnel, and a bigger interest in wanting to collaborate in some way. This is a great start to driving something. 

Tell us more about how BEDA will be responding to the network call.
Our strategy is within four streams – GA+, Clusters, Connects and Integrates 

The GA+ unleashes the creativity and enthusiasm among members in shaping the future of BEDA. The first prototype workshop meeting has taken place here today. The intent is to expand on the GA and run this every year. 

Clusters – these are about creating knowledge hubs, because every member has information and experience to share. BEDA wants to enable members to become much stronger, by gathering and sharing as much as possible from members’ expertise, in order to build knowledge and create opportunities for both external and internal collaboration between members. 

Connect – we’re actively seeking opportunities to collaborate with organisations of all types, from the world of business, the public sector, research, through to design organisations such as ICSID. This stream is about building networks and sharing knowledge with other organisations where learning can be mutually beneficial, for example through collaboration with Business Europe. 

Integrates – we want to collaborate, raise awareness, inspire, initiate and influence actions with the European Commission, not just within the Directorate-General for Enterprise, but across several Directorates, e.g. Environment, Culture, and many more. If we work in the right way, we create a group that gels over time; we build a strong organisation, our actions help the members of this group to have a stronger voice within their own Directorate-General, and the Directorates-General get a better understanding of what’s going on. 

How do you see the network call impacting on BEDA’s power to influence at European Commission level?
We have the opportunity to work closely with an interdepartmental informal group at the Commission who want to share what design can do across Directorates General – basically it’s an open door for BEDA. At that level we can expand sideways across Directorates – but we also need to go up, to Ministry level, to the point where design methodology becomes part of the way of looking at social innovation, healthcare, and other areas. 

The most exciting part of the EU networking programme is that there’s nothing really to stop us – we have the opportunity to set our own agenda, raising the bar so that BEDA becomes a stronger organisation that will benefit its members, the Commission and the citizens of Europe.

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