An introduction to the design skills required for firms to be innovative and competitive in global markets
About the report
The objective of this report is to act as an introductory paper to establish what is meant by design and how pervasive it is in our society and economy.
In this regard, for the purposes of this report design is defined as the combination of three elements, aesthetics, functionality and user need.
On this basis this report examines the nature of design, its evolution, its economic value, and how firms can adopt design strategically in order to foster their growth. The report is the result of desk research, a series of in-depth consultations, and insights captured via a stakeholder workshop. The digital explosion of the 21st century has revolutionised design and the importance of design to our economy cannot be overstated. Traditionally design has been perceived as a solely aesthetic process entailing a visual component or tangible product, however, this perception of design no longer holds true.
Why design skills
The digital explosion of the 21st century has revolutionised design and the importance of design to our economy cannot be overstated. Traditionally design has been perceived as a solely aesthetic process entailing a visual component or tangible product, however, this perception of design no longer holds true. Design is now pervasive across many sectors, often working hand in hand with technological advancement.
New digital technologies are giving rise to new forms of products and services which in turn are putting new pressures on businesses and society. This is requiring the design of solutions to increasingly complex problems which are often global and diverse in nature.
Design thinking is also changing the way businesses operate. Today design thinking informs the strategies of major organisations and is being used to create innovative services, address social
issues, and even to shape better public services and policy making.
How to benefit from design
Design is a strong contributor to the Irish economy and is a domestic driver of growth. In 2012, total design exports from Ireland were valued at €38bn, amounting to 21% of total exports in the economy. Research has shown that innovation is essential for business survival and design is key to this innovation. Design improves competitiveness through increased productivitywith new or improved products, processes,services or business models.
Design can drive value as research indicates that products, services and strategies that are well designed are more successful than those which are not. As an activity, design can be viewed as complimentary to R&D as it aids the transformation of research into commercially viable products and services and brings innovation closer to user needs.
Design has been proven to drive success and open pathways to winning new markets. Thus the promotion and development of Ireland’s capability in business-related design is imperative. Equally as the definition of design has broadened so too has the design skillsets required by industry. Traditionally design roles have been associated with problem solving and creative ability. However nowadays firms have a clear and strategic requirement to recruit and train designers who possess wider skill sets.
What design skills
The skills widely recognised as being necessary in a designer today include (but are not limited to) multi-disciplinary working, empathy, creativity,technical ability, business acumen and strategicthinking. It is difficult to measure, in this regard, if the supply of designers is meeting demand as the lines between the disciplines are becoming increasingly blurred, particularly in relation to the disciplines of design, ICT and engineering. The emerging hybrids of design mean that job roles no longer fall into neat categorisation. Designers are now being asked to work in ways which transcenddisciplines.
The findings and recommendations of this research are dealt with in the final chapter of this report.Winning by Design