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Innovation fuels the modern economy and design is one of the most accessible tools that enables user-centred innovation in the private and public sectors. At all levels of governance, policy-makers around the world are trying to develop policies and support mechanisms to create favourable conditions for innovation to thrive.

Our Design Policy Research takes a macro view of design, looking at national and regional innovation ecosystems and policies to support design. That is, examining and encouraging an environment that is conducive to the application of design. 

PDR has been active in advising national, regional and local governments throughout Europe. A major aim of the Policy team is to influence the next generation of innovation policies by communicating the value of design to the development of manufactured products, the development of services in both the private and public sectors, and, in addressing wider societal issues.

Our research in this area has had direct influence on Innovation policy in Europe and also provided the material that saw the first unanimous vote of support for an amendment to a debate in the Senedd by Welsh Assembly Members. As a result design is now included as a key component of Welsh innovation policy. Much of our research in this area has been undertaken as part of Sharing Experience Europe (SEE), an 11 partner EC funded project led by PDR.

More and more, we are supporting governments to use design methods to engage the public in co-creating policies and services. We believe there are significant synergies between the design process and the policy process; both are concerned with applied problem-solving in a structured cycle ideally involving users at every stage of development.

We continue our research within new collaborative projects – AHRC funded research Developing an Action Plan for the Strategic Use of Design in the UK and Design for Innovation funded by Interreg Europe.

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