Design as a Driver of User-Centred Innovation

The European Commission Staff Working Document on ‘Design as a driver of user-centred innovation’ analyses the contribution of design to innovation and competitiveness. The results are compelling: companies that invest in design tend to be more innovative, more profitable and grow faster than those who do not. At a macro-economic level, there is a strong positive correlation between the use of design and national competitiveness.

Design as a driver and enabler of innovation complements more traditional innovation activities such as research. In the current economic climate, where resources for innovation are scarce, design and other non-technological innovation drivers, such as organisational development, employee-involvement and branding, become particularly relevant. They often are less capital intensive and have shorter pay-back periods than for example technological research, but still have the potential to drive competitiveness.

The document concludes that design has the potential to become an integral part of European innovation policy, a building block of a policy model that encourages innovation driven by societal and user needs, and that builds on existing European strengths such as our heritage, creativity and diversity to make Europe more innovative.…


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