Design Now – The potential to meet great needs
These are exciting times for design. Leading global companies have a new
appetite for design, while governments are coming to see that design can play
a major role in solving the toughest social and environmental problems. More
and more over the last fifteen to twenty years, design has been applied in a wider
and wider range of contexts, from services to understanding user and citizen
needs to defining strategy and policy at the highest levels in both business and
government. At the same time, in more established areas such as product and
graphic design, design continues to be a vital differentiator and generator of value.
At a time of daunting challenges for Europe, there is, therefore, enormous
potential for design to play a fundamental role in delivering solutions. Given
the right conditions, it could help to grow Europe’s global competitiveness
and make the connections between citizen and environmental needs and fiscal
responsibility. The right conditions, of course, begin with understanding. In
contexts where design is given its head, it proves its capability again and again.
However, to those unfamiliar with it, its approaches are often counter-intuitive
and its value unknown. Our members are, of course, well aware of this and do
impressive work in their own countries to demonstrate design’s benefits. However,
they also know that, as much as they can achieve on their own, they can do
exponentially more as part of a network.
This is, in short, a movement. By working together, we can share knowledge and
skills and cumulatively gather and disseminate evidence. Working across Europe’s
increasingly fluid national boarders, we can collaborate on mutually beneficial
projects, engage more effectively and help to build capacity. In particular, we can
work together to spread understanding of design to areas where they are currently
under-used – and to the European Union’s highest governance levels.
This last is, of course, crucial. From this will flow the vital support needed to
nurture and expand the network. This is where we at BEDA come in.
Our vision is for design to be embraced in Europe as a driver for growth and