On 18 June 2015, we welcomed manufacturers, business leaders, designers and policymakers to our annual summit at Birmingham City University. We explored how design methods are being used to drive positive change within UK manufacturing businesses and their supply chains. 

The summit saw the launch of two new reports providing an in-depth analysis of strategic design’s impact on the passenger automotive and civil aerospace sectors. 

We heard from leaders in the UK manufacturing sector on the common themes to come out of the sector-specific research. Key areas including innovation and growth, collaboration, skills and competencies and futureproofing have the potential to yield results across the whole of the sector.

Here's what people had to say on the day. 

Innovation and growth

Event chair, broadcaster and journalist Kirsty Lang started things off with the simple explanation "today is about demystifying design in manufacturing". 

Innovation and growth panel speakers

Innovation and growth panel from left: Lee Hopley, EEF; Dick Elsy, High Value Manufacturing Catapult; Kirsty Lang, event chair; Dr Caroline Simcock, Dyson; and Lisa Reeves, Volvo.

The first panel focused on the importance of design as a driver of innovation and growth and insights into different manufacturers' design philosophies. 

Supply chain

All the panellists for our second session agreed that collaboration and open communication both internally and between organisations is critical for success in manufacturing. 

Skills

The issues of developing talent and skills and ensuring access to a diverse workforce came up again and again over the course of the day. In particular, Professor Dame Julia King inspired us with her vision for a better engineering education.

Dame Julia King speaking at the Design Summit 2015

Professor Dame Julia King presents at the Leading Business by Design Summit

Futureproofing

The last session looked at using design to create sustainable strategies in manufacturing. The audience was fascinated by the insights, ideas and cutting-edge products that speakers highlighted.

In the plenary, our research partners Warwick Business School, RS Consulting and Beverley Nielsen, Director Corporate Affairs from Birmingham City University, shared their thoughts on design. 

Our Chief Executive John Mathers left us with a final thought for the day.

Collaboration breeds innovation & only innovation will ensure British manufacturing continues to excel on the world stage.

John Mathers, Chief Executive, Design Council

The team here would like to say a big thank you to all the participants, partners and guests who joined us at Birmingham City University, as well as those who couldn't be there but still engaged in the #leadingbydesign debate on Twitter. It was a great day – stay tuned for more discussions on our website as we continue to focus on design in manufacturing. 

Leading Business by Design: High Value Manufacturing report

Download the report here.

Download PDF

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