22 May 2015

This year’s Scottish Design Summit was the platform for the Chairman of Design In Action, Sebastian Conran, to launch the THINK DESIGN campaign, a call to action for businesses and public services to put design first.

Sebastian has written a think piece to explain design and design methodology, set out examples of its impact in business with a call to entrepreneurs and support agencies to grasp the potential of what design can do for the Scottish economy;

There is a clear business case for using Design Process and Creative Thinking tools in the early stage concept phase for multiple reasons, including: more innovative and appealing products, simpler manufacturing, quicker responsiveness, and shorter product-development timescales. All of which leads to greater customer satisfaction, product resilience, less aftersales resource and ultimately better profitability.’

As a lifelong advocate of accessible, democratic design, serving satisfying products to customers from Mothercare to John Lewis, Conran’s equation for success is quite straightforward: aim to create real value at every stage of the innovation cycle. His 3F [Form Follows Fabrication] approach acknowledges that most successful designs are a result of how they are manufactured, but keeps the user in front of mind and ensures that all challenges are met with elegantly simple solutions.

Personally, I have always found it particularly inspiring collaborating with people from other disciplines. Imaginative, outstanding design can leverage and multiply excellence and success from your business. Understanding and embedding an early stage design process and strategic creative thinking can bring huge benefits to Scotland’s businesses, and to bring to the world market successful innovations.

Don’t leave it too late; design isn’t just the marketing, graphics and logos, wrappers and websites, posters and packaging – although it is towards the end of the process – during the innovation cycle Design needs to be the first thought as well as the last, and business leaders need to focus on getting the right people in the right place before setting off on the innovation journey.’

This is the forefront of our campaign to think about design as the way to realise new ideas or solve problems in business before starting out on that journey. We encourage businesses to THINK DESIGN, as it will make all the difference.

Design in Action is a Knowledge Exchange Hub based primarily at DJCAD within the University of Dundee. It is a key design player in the city that is still celebrating its recent UNESCO City of Design designation and which, in 2016, will host the Design in Business Summit as part of the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. With this renewed focus on design, the Hub feel it is necessary to spread the word more than ever about the impact of design and the potential value that could be generated if Scottish businesses embraced design at early stages in their journey.

Design in Action has engaged with major design agencies and bodies in Scotland in the run up to the campaign launch, uniting a range of voices to promote the understanding of design and celebrating design achievement in Scotland.

As Sebastian puts it in the think piece; ‘The bottom line is ALL the businesses, public bodies, things and architecture we leave for future generations have in some way been designed, and design is the legacy of thought.’

To view the full copy of ‘Think Design’, please click here DIA THINK DESIGN