learning from others

I've been fortunate to visit these countries and talk with experts about their design promotion programs.  National and regional governments are successfully integrating design education and                                                                                                                                       promotion into their economic growth strategies. Seeing the connectedness between what each is doing, there is a significant opportunity to "Oregonize" these best practices.

Fall 2013 Research Trip
-Helsinki, Finland
-Stockholm, Sweden
-Copenhagen, Denmark
-Cardiff, Wales, where I attended the Global Service Design Network Conference, a gathering of international                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               design professionals pursuing similar initiatives to Oregon, By Design
-Glasgow/ Edinburgh/ Scotland

Spring 2014 Research Trip
-Glasgow/Scotland- A+D/S, Design Skills Symposium (see video to the right)
-Seoul/South Korea
-Tokyo, Japan

Winter 2015 Research Trip

- On February 10, 2015, I attended the SEE Design, Innovation and Policy Conference in Brussels, Belgium to talk with the 11 European partners developing government-sponsored design innovation programs

Spring 2015 Research Trip

- I will be visiting Brazil the last week of April and the first week of May

Design policies and promotion programs

Here is a summary of the most relevant examples I've seen through my research trips. 

Design Policy Monitor, Sharing Experience Europe (SEE)

Governments across Europe and around the world are looking for new drivers of innovation to enhance national and regional economic, sustainable and social development. In this broader understanding of innovation, design is increasingly being recognized as a component of user-driven innovation. As early as 1997 innovation leaders across Europe developed dedicated design policies including three successive strategies by the Danish Government with ‘DesignDenmark’ in place from 2007 to 2010 and Finland’s ‘Design 2005!’ active from 2000 to 2005. In 2011, no European country had a dedicated design policy in operation although Demark is in the process of developing a new policy based on the Vision of the Danish Design2020 Committee. However, a significant number of countries and regions have design articulated as a priority in a national or regional policy document such as an innovation policy or economic growth strategy including: Belgium / Flanders, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom / Wales. Of course, many more European countries and regions have active design programs, design centers and well-rooted design traditions such as Germany and the Netherlands but do not have a vision for design articulated in a key government policy document at national level.  


In 2008, design was written into the definition of innovation in the National Innovation Strategy and is emerging as a component of the National Innovation System (NIS). Finland is expanding the scope of National Innovation Policy (action plan 2012-2015) to demand and user-driven innovation. Its funding and appropriation is through government, national institutions, and businesses. Its main objective is to improve competitiveness by raising the standard of design education and research, to safeguard the sustainability of research, to invest in the internationalization and structural change of design consultancies and strengthening of the design business sector, to develop design communications, and to monitor the development of design system. Its implementation is through Finland’s National Innovation Strat­egy, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy has outlined an action plan and policy framework. The ac­tion plan running through the years 2010 - 2013 covers the action points that promote policy implementation in the private and public sectors. The International Council of Socie­ties of Industrial Design (Icsid) desig­nated Helsinki as the World Design Capital for the year 2012. A practical example of design within the NIS is the way design is integrated into Aalto University, the ‘Innovation University’ that merged three Uni­versities in Helsinki. Finland's design industry employs a total of 2,000 professionals in the direct for­mulation and implementation of design services. The majority of jobs are located in southern Finland. Since the Government’s Design Policy Statement 2000 the current Innovation Policy is now seeking the efficiency from design as one of user-driven innovation tools, in services or a strategic tool for business and management purposes. The action plan introduces The World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 project (2010-2012) as an opportu­nity for wider use of design thinking and piloting the service design meth­ods in the renewal of public services.


The quality of the built environment affects everyone in Scotland. It is the purpose of architecture and urban design to not only meet practical needs, but also to respond to the social and cultural values to which Scotland aspires - to improve the quality of life for the people of Scotland. How buildings and places are made, the quality of their design and of the built environments they help shape should be a matter of concern for all. The three key challenges for creating a high quality built environment are: ceate successful, thriving and sustainable places and communities, deliver well-designed public buildings which are greener - and which represent good value, tackle the barriers to good quality development, through education, skills and advocacy. The recently completed consultation, “A policy on architecture and placemaking for Scotland: public consultation 2012”, informed the future shape of policy and help Scotland consider how architecture and places can help provide a better quality of life, and better position Scotland on the world stage. The paper considered 4 key themes around which the policy could contribute and asked a set of 12 related questions. The consultation closed on September 7, 2012. The main entities that drive Scotland's national design policies-initiatives-design Organizations is Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) is the statement of the Scottish Government’s policy on nationally important land use planning matters, and the National Planning Framework (NPF) is the Scottish Government’s strategy for Scotland’s long-term spatial development. Architecture+DesignScotland (A+DS) is a government funded entity that creates places that work, places which provide opportunities, places that people want to be. A+DS is Scotland’s champion for excellence in placemaking, architecture and planning.

Design Council UK/Scotland (DC/S); its mission is to bring the transformative power of design to the things that matter, to place design at the heart of creating value by stimulating innovation in business and public services, improving the built environment and tackling complex social issues. To inspire new design thinking, encourage public debate and inform government policy to improve everyday life and help meet tomorrow’s challenges today. Scottish Development International (SDI), its mission is to assist in the growth of the Scottish economy, by encouraging inward investment and helping Scottish-based companies develop international trade.


Sweden’s national design policy comprises several design-related initiatives that fall under the jurisdic¬tion of different ministerial agencies. The national approach to design is that it can help to serve the dual goals of innovation and improvement in the quality of life. There is no single agency responsible, and the Ministries of Culture, Industry and Education administer measures relating to design. Several public bodies have responsibility for the promo¬tion of design, including the Council for Architecture Form and Design, the Swedish Society for Crafts and Design and the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation (SVID). SVID was formed by the Swedish Business Development Agency, the Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design. ~~Today, SVID works along the lines of a much broader spectrum to demonstrate design as a force for development for the private and public sectors. Its target groups include industry and commerce, local government, designers, universities and colleges. SVID operates across the country from its own regional offices and partner offices with a range of local players. Due to the contacts established with SVID and the advice it provides, businesses gain guidance on how design could be procured and integrated into their development activities. SVID also conducts regional and national projects in collaboration with selected partners in which design methodology and knowledge constitute the forces that drive developments.


The objectives of the Danish Government’s design policy are: to generate growth in the design industry, and for design to boost growth in the rest of the corporate sector. The Danish government coordinates with the design Industry and the rest of the corporate sector. They’ve created collaboration initiatives to create “lines of sight” between these two entities. This policy is the result of collaboration between the ministries of 1) Culture, 2) Business, 3) Education, and 4) Research “ Good design is an increasingly important means for businesses to hold their own in international competition. Design has the power to make products and services more attractive to customers and users, so they are able to sell at a higher price by being differentiated from the competition by virtue of new properties, values and characteristics.” Danish Government’s vision; be an elite international design leader. Build on strong design tradition of ‘form-giving’ by creating artifacts – be they chairs, televisions or wind turbines – with regard for their functionality and aesthetic. Design should be instrumental in turning Denmark into a nation brimming with ideas, inventions and advances that can be realized as exports and jobs. 1. Use vision to foster development and growth in the design industry. The Danish design environment should be powerful enough to attract international design clients, the design departments of international companies, talented designers, students and researchers as well as international conferences. Goal- attract investment and trade to Denmark, secure demand for cutting-edge design services from the Danish design industry. 2. Leverage design to boost growth of the country’s general business sector. Be a recognized world leader using design in the general business sector’s development of products and services. Improve use of design in more industries to add value, and drive innovation. Embrace new trends in design disciplines such as service design, interaction design and user driven innovation. 3. Danish design seeks to build on the emergence of an independent design industry, reinforce the industry’s recent entrepreneurial activity, and leverage its burgeoning economic impact in exporting value-added design.

South Korea:

The Republic of Korea has one of the most comprehensive national design strategies of any nation. When Korean goods became less competitive in the 1990s due to price, the government’s Committee for Globalization Policy began to develop its national design agenda. During the last 15 years Korea has implemented three five-year plans in design — the first from 1993 to 1997, the second from 1998 to 2002 and the current plan, which began in 2003 and which will be completed in 2007. The aim of these plans is to put the country’s design industries on a par with those of developed countries by 2007, with dramatically increased employment opportunities for designers and a general increase in design awareness by the general public. The goal underlying this strategy has been to improve the competitiveness and brand reputation of Korea’s major export firms through better design. As with its previous industrial strategies, the Korean government plays a major role through it’s funding of public programs and research and its partnerships with the private sector. Early phases of the strategy focused on developing design capability in terms of knowledge, information, talent and products. The Korean Institute of Design Promotion (KIDP), which oversees the national design strategy, has an annual budget of over $41.16 million. Having made significant progress in improving the design of products for export, the focus of Korea’s design strategy is now shifting to the public realm — from the design of street furniture and mass transportation to public documentation and textbooks. Architecture and Interior design are not included, however, as they are not covered by the Industrial Design Promotion Act. KIDP, following the UK model, was established under the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, and focuses only on industrial products, while as noted above architecture and interior design are regulated by the Ministry of Construction and Transportation.


A Creative Japan  supports ‘Cool Japan’- “However, if the fact that a product or service comes from Japan is to have value in itself and become a source of competitive advantage and market innovation for Japan, then communication of more substantive and fundamental information (i.e., the “essential basis” of this value) will be required. This basis must include the spirituality, empathy, receptivity, vitality, and other qualities that define Japan. And here, it will be absolutely essential for the Japanese people to rediscover this basis and spread it to the world.”.   METI- The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, is a ministry of the Government of Japan. The 2001 Central Government Reform created it when the Ministry of International Trade and Industry merged with agencies from other ministries related to economic activities, such as the Economic Planning Agency. METI has jurisdiction over a broad policy area, containing Japan's industrial/trade policies, energy security, control of arms exports, "Cool Japan", etc. METI is known for its liberal atmosphere and officials of METI have been well known for their excellence. It is commonly called a "human resource agency" for its leaders of politics, business and academia. • JETRO- The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit government related organization that promotes trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. It has six U.S. branches located in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco serve the following four main objectives: 1) HELP U.S. COMPANIES ESTABLISH A JAPAN OFFICE, 2) HELP U.S. COMPANIES FIND JAPANESE BUSINESS PARTNERS, 3) CONNECT U.S. INVESTORS WITH CUTTING EDGE JAPANESE TECHNOLOGY VENTURES, 4) SHOWCASE PREMIUM JAPANESE GOODS.