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Official report of the “Design Policy Conference, make a plan”

Report of the “Design Policy Conference, make a plan”, 17 & 18 October, 2014, Cape Town, South Africa. http://wdcdesignpolicyconf2014.com/

In 1994, a research project was instituted in Colombia to study design policies and approaches. The study revealed that 97% of businesses were small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Only 5% of these had a body in place to implement design in their business, and just 2% had funds to invest in design. Believing that designers need to understand the user, and build a bridge between the user and the designer to design workable products and services, there was a need for design, academia and SMEs to lead and catalyse the process of implementing design in business.

A systematic way was needed to apply design to SMEs: design is not only operational – it must be strategic, too. With this understanding, the design policy comprised three steps: knowledge transfer about design through handbooks, manuals, diagnostic tools and workshops to explain the value of design; viewing and promoting successful case studies of local design; and hosting an international co-creation roundtable and other events to ask what the policy should contain.

(Text from the official report of the “Design Policy Conference, make a plan”, 17 & 18 October, 2014, Cape Town, South Africa).


The full original document: Design-Policy-Conference-Report

Javier Ricardo Mejia Sarmiento


(1) Comment

Very interesting Javier!
I consider critical to place strategic design in a position where it can have real impact in the productive roots of the country. This project seems to point in the right direction, the culture of design within the SMEs. Also very related to your PHD research direction.

Actually, I see a lot of relevance for this model in different productive areas, import-export sectors for example (http://www.ieseinsight.com/doc.aspx?id=1139&ar=16&idioma=1), Education, and even in the management of the natural resources, which is a weakness in Colombia. That would be related to the mission of the “Contraloría“ (Organisation that audits the use of national resources), simply because the resources should be used in an strategic way, with models that create development for the country.

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