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Design for Europe: Two years in

Design for Europe: Two years in

26 November 2015 Written by By PeiChin Tay 2013-17 Project Lead, Design for Europe

With the final funded year of the Design For Europe ahead, we thought we’d share what we’ve achieved so far, and our ambitions for the future.

Since the launch of Design of Europe two years ago, a lot has changed in Europe politically and economically. Against a backdrop of changing governments and budget cuts, Design for Europe’s mission and purpose remains as relevant as ever. Founded to spread design-driven innovation throughout the EU’s 28 member states our ultimate goal is to boost economic growth and job creation.

A catalyst for innovation in business, policy and the public sector

Through sharing the experiences of countries like Finland, Denmark and Estonia  who have benefited from a national design policy we've shown just how valuable this can be. And we’ve been using these insights to help leading organisations in Lithuania, Spain, Hungary, Romania to make the case for the same level of support from their own governments.

This is just one example of how across the worlds of policy, business and the public sector we've been providing success stories and hard evidence to help demonstrate how design can transform businessescreate better policies and deliver more effective and efficient public services.

Through the more than 200 articles and 30 case studies published on our site, we have shown how design can work in a huge range of contexts. For governments, to help drive national and regional growth, for businesses, to create better products and  stronger brands – and for the public sector, to improve the experience and efficiency of services.

Building a network across Europe

Building on the expertise of our pan-European team made up of 14 partners across 10 countries, we’ve also put together an Expert panel and network of 37 Ambassadors covering every single EU member state. Many in this network of advocates work outside of the design industry and are helping us show how design thinking can be applied to a wide variety of professional roles.

Two-thirds of the way through the three-year funded project and have amassed more than 40,000 web users and 10,000 social media followers. We’ve presented at over 60 events to more than 3,500 people across 39 European cities. This includes our first summit European Growth by Design described by Mario Spiteri, President of the Malta Business Bureau, as “the catalyst we needed to understand what the issues are, where the challenges lie and which interlocutors we can tap into to make our initiative an overall success.” Events like the summit demonstrated just how much appetite there is for design to be used at a strategic level across both the private and public sector.

Creating a legacy

There are challenges as well as opportunities ahead. Design for Europe is supported for three years by the European Union and 2016 will be our final funded year. We have already exceeded most of the targets set for us by the EU but we are not stopping there. We are committed to work even harder to build on our successful foundation, strengthen our community and deepen our impact in selected regions.

We have already made significant inroads in four cities that we’ve singled out for particular focus, these are: Vilnius, Lisbon, Brașov and Malaga. We are also developing, prototyping and testing learning tools that we aim to make available by the end of 2016.

We need your voice

Design for Europe is a platform for you to share your stories, learn about what’s happening across Europe, ask questions and connect. We would love to hear more about your experience of where design has worked, the challenges you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome them. If you have any case studies, resources or insights to share, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, join our LinkedIn community, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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