Stefan Holmlid, Linköping University, Sweden*
Anna Whicher, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK
Qian Sun, Royal College of Art
Martyn Evans, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

A growing number of countries across Europe and around the world  have developed design action plans, policies or strategies are very often based on analyses of the innovation ecosystem (see e.g. Jackson, 2011; Gobble, 2014; Sun 2016) drawing on established theory on National Innovation Systems (Freeman, 1995; Lundvall; 1992). However, design appears to be less well explored at regional policy level and within regional ecosystems. Recognising the importance of design as a strategic asset and a catalyst for economic and social change, design policies seek to guide the interaction between design capacities and businesses or organisations, and to support design education, infrastructure, and IP systems.

Regional ecosystems have received increased attention in policies for innovation during the last decade. As a phenomenon in innovation discourse regional ecosystems are not new. However, the role of design in these regional ecosystems has been less developed (Choi et al, 2010; Choi et al, 2012; Mortati & Maffei, 2018; Whicher et al, 2018). The role of technology, specialisation, collaborative structures, long term commitment, establishment of support programme, have been studied and resulted in widely accepted innovation diffusion models.

Design policies tend to exist at a national level to stimulate their respective innovation ecosystem. While design as a capability of businesses, organisations and government has received research attention in recent years, the majority of the design support has aimed to enhance the use of design in companies and organisations, as well as communicating the value of designers and its role in education.

There is an opportunity to explore how design policy is developed, implemented and evaluated and how conditions may be different if these take place with the national or regional ecosystem.

This track aims to explore new trends and dynamics within the remit of design policy and design ecosystems, as well as evidence the integrity of design policy, at regional, national and international levels. Both theoretical exploration and empirical studies are welcome, including analysis of how design relates to innovation ecosystems, studies evaluating the impact of aspects of design policy, design policy tools and methods, theoretical discussions on how design policy may correspond to future changes in relation to design practice and innovation management.

Indicative References

Choi, Y., Cooper, R., Lim, S., & Evans, M. (2010). National Support for Design: Developing Propositional Models. Design Management Review21(4), 60-69.

Choi, Y., Lim, S., & Evans, M. (2012). Supporting design: national business support programmes in the UK and South Korea. The Design Journal15(1), 79-104.

Freeman (1995) ‘The ‘National System of Innovation’ in historical perspective’, Cambridge Journal of Economics 19(1), pp.5-24.

Gobble, M. M. (2014). Charting the innovation ecosystem. Research-Technology Management57(4), 55-59.

Jackson, D. J. (2011). What is an innovation ecosystem. National Science Foundation1.

Lundvall, B.-Å. (1992) ‘National Systems of Innovation’ Pinter Publishing, London, UK.

Mortati, M., & Maffei, S. (2018). Researching Design Policy Ecosystems in Europe. She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation4(3), 209-228.

Whicher, A., Harris, C., Beverley, K., & Swiatek, P. (2018). Design for circular economy: Developing an action plan for Scotland. Journal of Cleaner Production172, 3237-3248.

Sun, Q. (2016) ‘Emerging Trends of Design Policy in the UK’, Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society – Future-Focused Thinking. Brighton, pp. 1–15.