Ireland’s National Design Strategy

Minister Mitchell O’Connor officially launches a consultation paper towards a National Design Strategy

Ireland – the Design Island urges sustained investment in design and proposes a series of actions for the strategic development of design and design thinking

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D. today officially launched Ireland – the Design Island: a consultation paper towards a National Design Strategy.

Ireland – the Design Island was prepared by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) in collaboration with key stakeholders in the design sector as a follow up to the Government-backed Irish Design 2015 (ID2015) initiative. ID2015 was convened by DCCoI and subsequently led to DCCoI being mandated by Government to work with relevant partner organisations in commencing the development of a design strategy for Ireland.

The consultation paper also follows the Policy Framework for Design in Enterprise in Ireland published by DJEI in 2016 which revealed that for businesses in traditional design sectors such as architecture, specialised design (including graphic, industrial, interior, fashion) and craft, there are issues related to scale, size, fragmentation, talent and skills. Ireland – the Design Island encompasses the breadth of issues that need to be examined in order to develop a National Design Strategy for Ireland and has been structured under four themes, which reflect the key challenges faced by the sector: Policy & Promotion; Research & Innovation; Education through to Enterprise; and Society, Culture & Collaboration.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “It is important that we build on the momentum and achievements of ID2015 in order to develop opportunities for growth, especially in relation to exports. I am very pleased to see that a wide range of education and industry representatives have been involved in this consultation. The resulting document contains a list of issues that need to be examined, from quick wins to long-term strategic goals. This will now inform my department’s plans for developing Ireland’s design capability and for encouraging design thinking across all sectors. Design will be a specific component of the Action Plan for Jobs process in 2017, both at national and regional levels. I am excited by the possibilities that design represents for our country’s creative future. ”

The main aims of the consultation paper are to:
·         develop Ireland as an internationally-recognised centre of excellence for design and design research, building on Ireland’s rich heritage in craftsmanship, innovation and creativity
·         create a design culture and promote a better understanding of both design and the value of design in business and society
·         expand Ireland’s design skills base, from primary level education upwards
·         increase the use of design as a source of innovation in Irish businesses, especially in the sectors identified as key growth areas for Ireland
·         champion the use of good design in addressing Ireland’s societal challenges and increase the use of design by public bodies
·         encourage the use of design in public procurement processes in order to drive innovation

Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland said: “We are honoured to have been mandated by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to lead the consultation process on a design strategy for Ireland, reflecting the Government’s commitment to building on the success of Irish Design 2015 and championing the ongoing development of design in Ireland. We need to capitalise on opportunities for advancing the role of design in support of business and economic sustainability and growth.”

“We look forward to working closely with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation and its agencies together with our many partners as well as creative communities across Ireland in the strategic development of design as a critical component in addressing the economic and societal challenges of the future,” concluded Ms. Hennessy.

Ireland – the Design Island has been in development since April 2016 when a Steering Committee of industry representatives was established and convened by DCCoI. An extensive consultation process was undertaken during 2016 to actively involve a broad range of stakeholders in workshops and interviews. These included Enterprise Ireland client companies; DCCoI registered clients and member organisations; small and medium enterprises (SMEs) currently using or considering using design, coordinated through the Local Enterprise Office network; multinational companies coordinated through the IDA; as well as Third Level design educators and professional bodies.

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