As of July 2016, our colleague Dr Anna Whicher has been awarded her PhD for her research ‘Benchmarking Design for Innovation Policy in Europe’. The research engaged policy-makers, design centre managers and academics across Europe to create a benchmarking framework of 46 indicators to assess the performance of a country’s Design Ecosystem to inform policy-making.
Her viva voce took place on 4 May and she passed with minor corrections and flying colours examined by Distinguished Professor Rachel Cooper OBE of Design Management and Policy at Lancaster University and Dr Youngok Choi, Senior Lecturer at Brunel University.
Anna completed her PhD in her spare time in parallel to leading two successive European projects called SEE (Sharing European Experience on Design Innovation Policy). SEE was a network of 11 European partners engaging with government to accelerate the up-take of design in innovation policies and programmes. As a result of new research, 112 workshops for over 1,000 policy-makers and advocacy efforts, the network successfully integrated design into 18 policies and 48 programmes across Europe. Due to the success of the project, SEE is highlighted in the first action of the European Commission’s ‘Design-driven Innovation Action Plan’ and featured as an impact case study in the Commission’s mid-term review of the EU innovation policy ‘State of the Innovation Union 2010 – 2014’.
She has translated her research into a commercial offering supporting governments and design organisations to develop design policies and evaluate the impact of design initiatives. She has worked for Zero Waste Scotland, the Irish Government Department for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Regional Development Agency of Ljubljana Urban Region, Latvian Ministry of Culture, Essex County Council, Lithuanian Design Forum and the Design Council.
In addition, she is an elected board member of BEDA – the Bureau of European Design Associations, one of the Design Council’s Experts on Design for Europe and a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Public Policy Advisory Group.