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Design 2020: The Future of the UK Design Industry – An investigation into the threats and opportunities for the UK design industry over the next 10 to 15 years

Evans, M and Cooper, R and Williams, A and Hodgson, L and Sun, Q and Hall, NA (2009) Design 2020: The Future of the UK Design Industry – An investigation into the threats and opportunities for the UK design industry over the next 10 to 15 years. UNSPECIFIED. Lancaster University & University of Salford.

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Abstract

The objective of this study is to examine the future of the UK design industry. It aims to identify challenges and opportunities facing the UK design industry over the next decade and to develop a framework to signpost and support change. The project focuses on the UK design consultancy sector, with specific reference to brand and corporate identity, multimedia, new product development, packaging, and service design. The project does not consider designer-makers or craft-based designers. Research has been conducted in two stages. The first involved a review of literature and focus group research, which identified key issues and concerns within the sector, and has informed the development of a conceptual framework and scenario tools. A second stage involved interviews and focus groups with three sets of stakeholders: (i) design practitioners and design consultancies, (ii) design buyers/clients (including both private and public sectors), (iii) design policymakers and design educators. These stakeholders were consulted in order to establish the nature of the transactions between all parties in the knowledge supply chain. The findings present a conceptual framework as a model of the business context for design that identifies the driving forces in the market. Four future scenarios are described as well as the design industry’s response to these which include the development of ten potential business models for the sector. Five of these models were identified as viable by policy maker respondents: Small Independents, Specialist Design Groups, Mega Design Corps, and Design Strategists. All of these business models which exist to some extent today. However a new model thought to be likely to gain credibility was the Special Interest Groups (SIG) Niche Network. Design respondents identified with five models: UK Design Centres in BRIC Economies, Specialised Innovation Services, Design Strategists, UK Export Engine,and Mega Design Corps. Analysis of the responses to these scenarios and models revealed the dimensions of the framework that required further attention which included: revising design education, creating a single professional body for accreditation, and encouraging design companies to radically rethink their business models.

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