Danish Design 2020

2011-10-27

The future of Danish design is to integrate it with innovation

Design is an important brick in the tricky jig-saw puzzle about how to rejuvenate the Danish economy.

The country is well known for its design traditions, beautifully designed products and its thriving design industry. In the 1990s Denmark was among the first countries in the world to adopt a design policies (=1st generation) but since then other countries have caught-up and even launched design policies emphasizing the dissemination of knowledge on how to use design and how to create better-functioning markets for design services (= 2nd generation policy).  The UK, Netherlands, Korea, Singapore and Finland are just a few examples. If Denmark is to maintain its strong design identity, and if it is to become better at harnessing the innovative capabilities of design, these design policies need to be updated (= 3rd generation policy). An international group of six experts appointed by the government and chaired by me presented to the minister of business and the minister of culture the Vision for Danish design 2020 in June 2010.

Our task was to develop a vision, not a detailed action plan but we did a bit of both. We articulated a vision that we believe is both exciting and realistic and we made a number of suggestions for how to make it happen. I am absolutely delighted this was never a party political matter and that one of the strong players in the new government, the liberal RV party, presented their own design policy ideas already this spring. This means that there is a good chance that our suggestions will be converted into new and changed policies over the next few years.

In short, the we envisioned that in 2020 Denmark is known worldwide as the design society –  a society that, at all levels and in a responsible way, has integrated the use of design to improve the quality of people’s lives, create economic value for businesses, and make the public sector better and more efficient. To quote from our report: “Our vision will be realized the day it is no longer necessary to explain and motivate the value of design or promote its use to Danish companies and public organizations. This is the day when design will have become an interwoven part of the psychological, social, and economic fabric of Danish society. This is the day when design will be as natural to Danes as caring for the environment.

From here we presented the landscape and the roadmap for design as a driver of innovation, design competency development, design research and future branding of Denmark. In this post I will only mention our suggestions regarding design as a driver of innovation since, in my view, this is where the real mind shift is called for. We argued that Danish public-private partnerships simply should use design to develop innovative solutions to societal challenges, especially in areas in which Denmark and Danish companies have advantages such as the green economy and welfare services. The example of the upcoming mega investments in five new hospitals was a frequently used example of where a more intentionally and integrated up-front use of design thinking and approaches could add much value. Specifically, in our vision of using design as a driver of innovation we suggested that:

• A majority of Danish companies use design as an important and integrated driver of innovation to strengthen their productivity and global competitiveness.

• Denmark has a significant number of specialized design firms that offer a wide variety of cutting- edge design products and services to the global market.

• The Danish public sector consistently utilizes design to develop better and more efficient services.

• Denmark remains a country where materials and products are shaped, developed, and produced in innovative ways.

Our many suggestions about this an other issues represent an important step for how Denmark can retain its lead in design (or avoid losing it) by thinking of design as interwoven with innovation and by seriously upgrading its research and education about design. While the rest of the world is busy overtaking each other in innovation and Denmark is slipping in international rankings about innovation. From the perspective of research and higher education the integrated design aspect of Alto University and the new Singapore University of Technology and Design are examples that speak for themselves, which contrasts with some recent developments in Denmark.

The full report is available for downloading from the ministry of business.


Business-in-Society Platforms

2011-10-25

9 September 2010 I hosted the Prime Minister’ Growth Forum at Copenhagen Business School. As the host I was invited to join the two-day conversations, but I was also given the opportunity to privately present the school’s new strategy to the PM, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Science. The PM’s comments what that he rarely had seen such an offensive and exciting strategy, especially in view of all the negativism in Denmark at the time.

In this column I briefly outline one important facet of that strategy, namely the three Business-in-Society platforms that combines research and education to address pressing societal challenges and opportunities relevant to our region.The BiS Platform idea was proposed by many CBS people during the previous strategy process and, in my view, a really great concept for a modern university eager to connect with the world. Specifically, the three platforms were focused on Enterprise Design, Sustainability and Private-Public Partnership – all three topics relevant to the Danish/Scandinavian identity, image and real challenges.  After I resigned as president the concept BiS Platform lives on, but it has been greatly reduce in magnitude and the Design platform has been canceled.

BERLINGSKE NYHEDSMAGASIN 15. OKTOBER – 21. OKTOBER 2010

Dr. Johan Roos

3 platforme til design af Danmarks fremtid

Teori skal være præget af praksis og praksis præget af teori. Derfor præsenterer CBS tre nye forskningsplatforme, der på tværs af fag og i samarbejde med erhvervslivet skal medvirke til en vision for Danmark.

Da regeringens Vækstforum forleden besøgte CBS, blev jeg af mi- nistre og erhvervsledere spurgt, hvordan CBS konkret bidrager til at løse nogle af samfundets og er- hvervslivets vigtigste problemer. Heldigvis kunne jeg forsikre dem om, at vi faktisk bidrager en hel del – både ved at ud danne unge og via vores forskning.

Et godt eksempel er en ny publikation fra nogle af CBS’ bedste forskere, “Væksthuset”, der netop skitserer en række konkrete anbefalinger til, hvordan politikere, erhvervsledere og embedsmænd kan skabe mere vækst og innovation i Danmark. Men der skal mere til.

Nye forskningsplatforme: Jeg har tidligere argumente- ret for, at en moderne og ambitiøs handelshøjskole skal være dygtig til både forskning og undervisning. Teori skal være præget af praksis og praksis præget af teori. Vi skal kunne levere forskningsbaseret undervisning og undervisningsbaseret forskning. Og vi skal blive bedre til at forstå, analysere og påvirke samfundsdebatten og løse virksomhedernes udfordringer.

En vigtig del af CBS’ strategi er derfor at sætte tre nye forskningsplatforme i søen – nemlig designtænkning, bæredygtighed og offentlig-private partnerskaber.

De tre temaer har det til fælles, at de ikke alene har betydning for Copenhagen Metropolitan Region; de har også global relevans. Samtidig er det ambitionen, at de tre platforme skal nedbryde barriererne mellem forsk- ningsdiscipliner ved at gå på tværs af mange områder. Temaerne har derfor relevans for stort set alle på CBS, og alle har mulighed for at bidrage – også blandt vore eksterne samarbejdspartnere. Dette er en invitation – Join Us, som det hedder i vores Guiding Principles.

Designtænkning: Som den første introducerer vi platfor- men Creative Enterprise Design (CED) der skal bidrage til, at Danmark designes bedre. Dette arbejde skal i høj grad foregå i samarbejde med erhvervslivet og offentlige institutioner. CED skal bidrage til, at vi designer os til et bedre og mere effektivt samfund. Design skal her for- stås bredt, som design af organisationer, institutioner, produkter og processer. Designtænkning er en vigtig motor for værdiskabelse og gør virksomhederne mere konkurrencedygtige. CED skal netop organisere et sam- arbejde mellem forskere fra forskellige discipliner – på tværs af institutter og universiteter, og i samarbejde med virksomheder og offentlige institutioner.

Personligt ser jeg frem til at udarbejde en vision for Danmark som designnation i 2020 sammen med en række andre forskere og erhvervsledere i Økonomi- og Erhvervsministeriets nye Visionsudvalg for Design. Ud- valget skal ikke alene undersøge, hvordan design kan være med til at løse nogle af de centrale udfordringer i fremtiden, men også forholde sig til design som innova- tionsmotor, udvikling af designkompetencer, forskning i design samt markedsføring.

Ved at udfordre os selv og betragte det velkendte fra nye vinkler, tror vi på, at der opstår nye spændende synergier. Det er i høj grad den øvelse, der bredt set er brug for, hvis der skal skabes ny vækst i samfundet. Det arbejde bidrager CBS gerne med, og vi glæder os tilsamarbejdet.