Release date: 04 October 2011
With Britain’s manufacturing jobs under threat, TV businesswoman and entrepreneur Deborah Meaden has called upon firms to take advantage of the help that is on offer to be more innovative, stimulate growth and protect jobs.
Supporting the launch of a new Design Council service to help SMEs use design to be more innovative, Deborah Meaden said:
“When times get tough, it can be tempting to hunker down, cut costs and wait it out. But it’s those businesses that put design at the heart of developing new markets, products and applications which are the ones that experience better sales, profitability and growth. There’s help out there for businesses to make it happen – and now’s the time to seize that support.”
The Design Council is searching for forty SMEs in the manufacturing sector to join its Designing Demand programme, which gives senior teams intensive help to identify how the business can be more innovative, and how to use design as a key tool to find new markets, compete better, and transform the way the business operates. Businesses have until the end of October to apply at: www.designcouncil.org.uk/designingdemand.
Designing Demand has proved highly effective in transforming the fortunes of many companies and has already helped over 2000 companies to identify their biggest challenges and understand how design can overcome them. Analysis shows that after working with a Designing Demand mentor, companies experienced a 25:1 return on investment for every £1 they invested in projects identified during the process, and 80 per cent of such companies expect to safeguard or create jobs.
Creating growth in manufacturing – particularly amongst small to medium sized firms – lies at the heart of recovery for UK industry according to Meaden, who is passionate about getting small companies to put design at the heart of their strategy:
“Small firms and start-ups in the manufacturing sector will be vital to the future growth of the UK economy, and it is more important than ever that we help them find new markets, new ways to compete and new opportunities to grow.”
The Design Council has recruited a national team of over 50 expert mentors to work with the senior management team of companies, leading them through an intensive practical process that helps them to understand how design, used well, can boost performance, open new markets, cut costs and reduce risk. They then work with managers to identify areas of the business where design could really help, and assist them in procuring the best designer for the job.
Ellie Runcie Director of the Designing Demand programme at the Design Council, said:
“The global economic situation is affecting demand for UK products, and competition from foreign companies is fiercer than ever. But even in tough times, innovative companies find new markets, and steal a march on the competition so they don’t need to compete on price alone. Support is available for smaller UK manufacturers to become those innovative successful companies. Now is the time to take advantage of that help and sign up to Designing Demand.”
For further information or to arrange interviews please contact:
Tom Yazdi or Jo Nussbaum at Linstock Communications
020 7089 2080
Notes to Editors
The Design Council has a number of case studies available. Please get in touch for more information, images and interviews. The case studies include:
- A fourth-generation manufacturer of drainage products, lintels and gardenware who wanted to launch a new product. Thanks to Designing Demand the developed the new product into a £6m business, and increased overall turnover by £10m despite economic turmoil.
- A manufacturer of medical technology who wanted to improve brand communication and design management. Designing Demand helped increase turnover and provided annual growth of 30%; the company also won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation this year.
- A manufacturer of wire joining and tensioning devices who wanted to improve their product development process. As a result of Designing Demand they increased turnover by almost 40% in two years and won a Queen’s Award for Innovation.
The Design Council CABE is a charity, incorporated by Royal Charter, that places good design at the heart of social and economic renewal.
As one of the world’s leading design organisations it is Government’s advisor on design, and a centre of new thinking and insight into the role of design in innovation. For more than 60 years, it has sought to provide evidence and demonstrate how design can help build a stronger economy and improve everyday life through practical projects with industry, public services and education.
For more information on the Designing Demand service please visit: www.designcouncil.org.uk/designingdemand