European Design Leadership Board’s report and recommendations: Design for Growth and Prosperity


The European Design Innovation Initiative reached an important milestone on the 17th September 2012 when the European Design Leadership Board delivered its report "Design for Growth & Prosperity" at the European Design Innovation Summit in Helsinki to Antonio Tajani, the European Commission vice-president and commissioner for industry and entrepreneurship. The report contains 21 recommendations for actions enhancing the role of design for innovation.

Design for Growth & ProsperityForeword of the Report of the European Design Leadership Board:

“Never before has so clear an opportunity existed as now, for the European Commission, Member States and regions to take bold action to enable a new level of awareness about the importance of design as a driver of user-centred innovation across Europe. And this, in spite of the pressures of austerity and the complexity of the global challenges we face in Europe.

In addressing the challenge set us by Commission Vice President Tajani – to enhance design’s longterm contribution to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth through increased competitiveness and the pursuit of a better quality of life for all the citizens of Europe – we have been inspired by our vision for design embedded, by 2020, in the innovation systems of Europe and making a difference in society.

Our response has been to create twenty-one enabling recommendations that will drive a step-change in innovation behaviour and practice across Europe. The opportunity is to set in place framework conditions and infrastructure, supported through targeted measures and actions, that will enable a far-reaching and long-lasting impact on Europe’s design innovation capability.

We are grateful to Commission Vice President Tajani for setting us this crucial and timely task and to his staff at DG Enterprise and Industry for their continuous support and insight throughout the process. We also present our thanks to the Secretariat, Aalto University in Helsinki, which has supported our work in the preparation of meetings, the provision of working papers and the writing of the drafts that capture our thinking and intent. Further thanks are due to the many individuals and organisations that have contributed knowledge, insight and expertise to our deliberations, including those who participated in the co-design workshop held in Brussels in March 2012.

We do not underestimate the scale of the challenges that Europe faces. Nor do we shy away from the level of change that is required if our vision for design is to be met.

The recommendations have therefore been constructed in sufficiently broad terms to inspire a wide spectrum of stakeholders to take action. Strong leadership from the Commission will be necessary to ensure on-going progress in their implementation.

We urge the Commission, Member States and regions to take hold of the recommendations and to act upon them in support of a shared vision for design in Europe for the 21st century.”

The European Design Leadership Board

The report
Read the Design for Growth and Prosperity (pdf)

More information
Published by DG Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission
Edited by Michael Thomson, Design Connect and Tapio Koskinen, Aalto University
Designed by Dog Design
ISBN 978-92-79-25946-3
Printed by Unigrafia in Helsinki, Finland 2012