Design as a tool for innovation

Marseille, 26-27 July 2008

The European Commission's 2006 Communication "Putting knowledge into practice: A broad-based innovation strategy for Europe" outlines the EU’s innovation strategy for the years ahead. It is a response to new trends in innovation and to calls from European governments, industry and other stakeholders to broaden the scope of EU innovation policy. The strategy shifts the emphasis from technology push to demand- and usercentred innovation, a development that will continue in the coming years.

Design is an important source of user-centred innovation and competitiveness for European companies - but one that is insufficiently used, in particular by SMEs. For many companies facing global competition and severe price pressure, design is a necessary means of differentiation. Moreover, the potential of design as part of the solution to societal challenges - such as the aging population, environmental problems and social exclusion - is frequently underestimated.

Recognising the importance of design in this context, the European Commission is exploring the policy options to encourage design at a European level. Accordingly, the Commission entrusted the European INNO-GRIPS project with the organisation of a workshop on design as a tool for innovation in Marseille on 26-27 June 2008.

The purpose of the workshop was to bring together a small number of high-level experts to support the policy making of the European Commission by discussing how a European policy for design could help tackling some of the main challenges faced by European industry and society today.

On this website, the workshop report with the main findings of the workshop is a available together with a "mini-study" on the topic, elaborated by the INNO-GRIPS team and presented in the workshop. The Commission plans a consultation document on the topic to be published early 2009.

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