Design support for business

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These days, any initiative or programme has to prove its worth. And we’re no exception. Over the years, we’ve repeatedly shown the significant difference design can make to economic growth.

Our Design Index demonstrates how prioritising design boosts a business's share price. In the last few years, we’ve also been evaluating the impact of our Design Leadership Programme with businesses, the public sector and university scientists. 

This programme aims to improve growth, drive innovation and encourage efficiency. And it works. For every pound an organisation invests in design as a result of a Design Leadership project, the returns include: 

  • £4.12 net operating profit
  • £20 net turnover
  • £5.27 net exports

Results like these aren’t confined to the UK. The Danish Design Centre found that gross revenues were around 22% higher for companies that invested in design than for those that didn’t. 

The value of design to business

For over a decade, the Design Council has conducted research on attitudes towards design, and its use, in UK business.

In 2013 we published Leading Business by Design. This qualitative research project investigated the strategic use of design at senior levels in a sample of UK and global businesses, such as Barclays, Diageo, O2 and Virgin Atlantic.

Using nationally representative samples of over 1,500 firms, our research shows that UK firms are attaching increasing importance to design and its positive impact on business performance – including market share, growth, productivity, share price and competitiveness.

For example, between 2005 and 2008 the proportion of firms:

  • regarding design as integral to their operation doubled to 30%.
  • using the various design disciplines rose by 15%.
  • who reported design as leading or guiding their development process for new products and services had increased

Our 2007 report, Eleven Lessons: managing design in eleven global brands, studied the design processes in leading global companies including Alessi, LEGO, Starbucks and Yahoo!

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