Over the three days of 20, 21 and 22 September, design will once again be put in the spotlight of the EU agenda. Design experts, regional authorities, and universities will have the opportunity to meet with EU policy officers to highlight the potential of design to foster growth and innovation. In the framework of this event, KEPA would like to seize the opportunity to stress some ongoing challenges, and propose some ideas:
- As already stated in the Innovation Union Flagship Initiative, although some European countries and regions are world leaders in design, others lack a robust design infrastructure and design capability. Through European initiatives such as ‘SEE – Sharing Experience Europe’ and ‘BEDA – Bureau of European Design Associations’, KEPA has made design a main pillar of its activities, promoting it both among businesses as well among public authorities since 2012. However, despite the significant progress accomplished in our country, challenges remain. On the one hand, in Greece there is still both a lack of demand – design readiness in companies – and a lack of supply – trained designers. On the other hand, public authorities are still reluctant to try new methodologies. Therefore, from KEPA’s own experience, it is important that EU initiatives keep tackling this systematic gap and promote design-driven innovation in Member States and regions where design is not so-well known.
- And some ideas for the future. The EC has been promoting design-thinking since 2008. The EC recently put in place a ‘train the trainer’ project to promote design-thinking among SMEs (design4enterprises.eu). Not only that, but the EC has started using design itself in policy formulation and implementation through its policy lab. In this regard, it might be also a task of the future European Innovation Council to apply design-thinking at a more strategic level in the EU. We also think that design methodology could be better promoted in and through the existing programmes (EIT and KICs, EIPs). Moreover, the creation of a European Design Council or a transversal EIP on design could be something desirable and conceivable in the medium-term.