Design Policy Workshops

Design & Innovation Policy
Applying design thinking methods to innovation policy creation

We have developed a design-led approach for mapping design ecosystems and jointly developing policy actions with key stakeholders.

According to the European Commission’s Action Plan for Design-driven Innovation in Europe:

‘A more systematic use of design as a tool for user-centred and market-driven innovation in all sectors of the economy, complementary to R&D, would improve European competitiveness’.

A growing number of European countries have developed design strategies or action plans including Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland and Latvia.

The team at PDR has developed a hands-on one day workshop to kick-start the process of developing design strategies and action plans. PDR has delivered more than 30 of these workshops around the world since 2009 -  most recently, in the UK, Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia, Italy, Poland, Latvia, Malta, France, Ukraine, Georgia and Thailand.

"The lack of design policy has been an obstacle to the consistent and purposeful development of the design sector and its ability to meet the needs of wider industry. However, things are set to change."



The Design Policy Workshops involve three exercises with 15-25 stakeholders:

1) Mapping the stakeholders and initiatives in the Design Innovation Ecosystem;
2) Examining the strengths and weaknesses of the ecosystem;
3) Jointly developing a set of policy proposals. 

You can access recent workshop transcripts here:
Design4Innovation: Wales, Flanders, Central Macedonia, Latvia, Malta, Silesia, Galicia, Catalonia (Jan 2018)
Plymouth: Mapping the Creative Ecosystem (Jan 2018)
Wallonia: Mapping the Design Ecosystem in Wallonia (Nov 2017)
France: Developing a design action plan for France (Sept 2017)
Ukraine: From Design Thinking Towards A Design Action Plan (Sept 2017)
Lithuania: Design Policy Workshop Report (April 2016)
Examples of design policy actions that have been developed include to:

  • Conduct research on the number of designers in the Ukraine and how businesses understand and use design.

  • Implement workshops for children on design as problem-solving.

  • Provide training for civil servants in design methods.

  • Integrate design managers within innovation agencies.

  • Pilot a mentoring programme connecting designers and small businesses.

  • Showcase successful designers in public spaces.

Contact Anna or Piotr to find out more about these workshops and our extensive experience in this area of design.

Contact Us

Dr Anna Whicher Head of Design Policy
Piotr Swiatek Project Manager