Each fortnight we round-up some of the latest news, research, and reports that are shaping our thinking. These are things that have led to an interesting conversation at Design Council HQ.  Add to the conversation in the comments below.  

Top 10 innovators

PWC have published their annual “Innovation 1000” report which explores global trends in innovation. Beyond the old news that Apple is the once again the most innovative company in the world, two key findings stuck out:

Firstly that: "for seven straight years, the 10 Most Innovative Companies have outperformed the Top 10 R&D Spenders"; and secondly that “~10,000 analyses found no statistical relationship between R&D spend and [business growth]".

The upshot of this is that the companies who are spending lots of money on heavy research and development (like Volkswagen and Samsung) are being beaten by companies (like Apple) who are spending their money on… something else.  Whether that something else is design, they don’t say. 

Grand Designs

The government have confirmed that a new strategy for housing will be published later this month.  While we wait, our friends at RIBA have published a report with IPPR about how to get more and better houses, which proposes devolving significant powers to local authorities.

RIBA also published the results of their "Working with Architects” survey this month.  It found that clients value architects more than non-architects, who particularly value their design skills (but less so their project management skills).  

Brutal buses

The Transport Minister has given a speech about improving “beauty” in transport design.  The European newspaper EurActiv called it one of the “weirdest speeches about transport ever”.

If you want to wade further into the traditionalist vs. modernist (specifically brutalist) debate in transport, here’s an old Design Council blog about Preston Bus Station. 

Other interesting things we read this week:

  • We attended the Innovate conference in Manchester, where a new £3m funding pot for design innovation was announced, called “Design Foundations”. More here
  • The government have formally responded to the ‘Building Better Places’ report – which was published by a House of Lords committee.  As well as a strong endorsement of Design Council Cabe, they are considering expanding the role of the Chief Planner.
  • The V&A in Dundee are holding a design competition to design the new Scottish “baby box”, modelled after the Finnish initiative. 
  • The Demos/PWC Good Growth for Cities index, which measures “good” growth (rather than just GVA) has put Oxford, Reading and Edinburgh as the best performing UK cities.  Middlesborough and Stockton is the worst performing. 
  • The EU is reviewing its ‘ecodesign’ directives, which will impact on how future products are designed.
  • The Service Design Network has published an “impact report” of how service design is working in the public sector globally.  Features interviews with some of the UK’s top government service designers.
  • This article which reminds us that the devaluation of the pound probably won’t lead to more service exports (including design exports), despite what everyone is hoping.
  • Finally, now that the Great British Bake Off is over, here’s an old blog on inclusive design written by contestant and new IDEO-designer Tom.

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Feature — 09/08/2017

Launch of the Government Aviation Strategy: In response We welcome a public discussion on how to help shape and promote the future of the aviation industry both up to 2050 and beyond. Design, and the importance of design, should be at the heart of the strategy. We welcome a public discussion on how to help shape and promote the future of the aviation industry both up to 2050 and beyond.

Opinion — 21/07/2017