Strategic Design Leadership

December 15, 2020

The All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group and the Council for Higher Education in Art and Design, were delighted to host an online workshop on Strategic Design Leadership on Wednesday 4th November 2020.

The event was led by John Howell OBE MP, Co-Chair of the APDIG, and brought together a range of individuals from across the sector to discuss how design can provide a boost to the UK’s economic and social wellbeing.

“The UK is a recognised centre for design excellence and there are clear opportunities for businesses to create greater value through design by embedding it as a process, managing it more effectively and adopting it as a strategic differentiator. However, the uptake of design could still be higher and significant barriers remain in terms of knowledge, resources and business capacity if the UK is to exploit the full potential of its design capability”

– Innovate UK Design in Innovation Strategy, 2020-2024

The event began with contributions from a number of senior figures from across industry to discuss the core themes.

  • Professor Sally Wade: Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University
  • Professor Martyn Evans: Director of Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Samar Héchaimé: Director, Agora Envisioning
  • Cat Drew: Chief Design Officer, Design Council
  • Deborah Dawton: Chief Executive, Design Business Association

The roundtable considered how strategic leadership can be placed at the heart of public policy. As the country struggles with the economic and social considerations emerging from the current public health crisis, it is vital that design thinking is used effectively to power the recovery efforts of government and industry alike. Following the panel discussion, attendees raised various questions from the floor, including what Parliamentarians usefully do within parliament to advocate for strategic design leadership, barriers to entry for the sector, and how to promote the value of design in new and emerging economic sectors, such as artificial intelligence.

CHEAD and the APDIG are keen to develop interactions between Parliamentarians and the design sector to scrutinise Government policy towards design leadership and will develop further ways to identify opportunities to improve public understanding. The APDIG is continuing to hold a number of events to improve design public policy and will be holding a roundtable on the future of design skills in early 2021.

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