Design Council is part of the government’s innovation ecosystem. We deliver support programmes, research and evidence to demonstrate the impact of design on sectors critical to the growth of the UK’s economy and wellbeing. Through collaborative work, mentoring and coaching, our work adds value to our university research base and supports students to develop the skills to manage innovation more effectively.

In December 2014, the government’s Science and Innovation Strategy recognised design as one of the most powerful tools we have to commercialise science research. In order for the UK to compete in a highly competitive global economy, it must continue to invest in the right innovation support mechanisms - including design.  

Our research, Innovation by Design, demonstrates that design support accelerates research commercialisation and increases value.

Specifically, the evidence highlights the following main benefits of commercialisation projects:

  • A greater ability to secure further development funding
  • Clearer communication of new technology to potential investors
  • Improved prototyping, fundraising pitches and market entry strategies

Based on this evidence, some design methods have the potential to improve the impact of science and technology research if applied at the right time. This, in turn, increases the proportion of university Intellectual Property (IP) that can be applied to society and the absolute number of high-growth, star performers.

The research also found that several instances of design support – such as project mentoring or training days for research managers – have a cumulative effect. Design capacity increases, resulting in the following overall benefits to universities:

  • An increased ability to identify the commercial viability of new science and technologies
  • Better portfolio management and risk reduction

Download the research here to learn more about how the active application of design-led thinking at the critical stages of research can help organisations by reducing risk, accelerating commercialisation, and adding value and impact.

Commercialise your research

We can help translate your complex projects into commercial propositions.

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Innovation by design

Read the research findings, including key recommendations and case studies.

Download the report

News & opinion

Are behavioural science and design the building blocks of innovation? Behavioural Scientist Edward Gardiner discusses how behavioural design has the potential to revolutionise how we tackle social issues. Behavioural Scientist Edward Gardiner discusses how behavioural design has the potential to revolutionise how we tackle social issues.

Feature — 14/04/2014

KiwiCo: Inspiring the next generation of designers To find out who is out there developing educational solutions to design, we spoke to KiwiCo whose mission is to support kids’ creativity and encourage them to be makers and innovators. We spoke to KiwiCo, whose mission is to support kids’ creativity and encourage them to be makers and innovators.

Feature — 31/01/2019

Can the North lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution? The North can lead the fourth industrial revolution as it did the first. To achieve this however, we need to invest in design and, importantly, design skills. To achieve this however, we need to invest in design and, importantly, design skills.

Feature — 31/01/2019

The importance of design education Sarah Weir, Design Council CEO and Steven Kyffin, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Northumbria University talk about design education at the launch of the Design Economy 2018 at the Great Exhibition of the North. Sarah Weir, Design Council CEO and Steven Kyffin, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Northumbria University talk about the importance of design education.

Feature — 31/01/2019

Resources