Design Policy Monitor


The lack of statistical data on design in Europe is frequently cited as a barrier to design forming part of innovation policy. As part of the Design Policy Monitor, the SEE partners have collated existing statistics from studies on design in their countries or regions. By collating existing statistics according to different themes the SEE partners present an overview of the performance of their national or regional design systems.

The key findings reveal that in the UK, companies spend more on design (2.92% of GDP) than on R&D (1.07%) and in Denmark, Finland and the UK, more companies engage in design activities (93%, 57% and 66% respectively) than innovation activities (52%, 52% and 46%). However, governments favour R&D over design as a driver of innovation; in Denmark, Estonia, Finland and the UK, public expenditure on R&D promotion is on average 500 times greater than public expenditure on design promotion. The following figure represent public versus private expenditure on design versus R&D.


Public and business expenditure on design and R&D in actual terms in Denmark, Estonia, Finland and the UK






This report seeks to develop a framework for policy-makers to understand the performance of a nation or region’s design system. The radar diagram of below, seeks to provide insight into the performance of ’Design Users’ in the National Design Systems of Denmark, Estonia, Finland and the UK by normalising performance scores. The country which performed best for a particular indicator (for example, Estonian public expenditure on design over GDP is the largest), received a score of 4 and the country that performed second best for that indicator received a score of 3 and so on. This diagram demonstrates that the Danish, Estonian, Finnish and UK Design Systems are performing well relative to each other. For one Design System to be consistently better than the others, it would appear on the outer ring of the radar diagram but none of the four countries are performing consistently better than the other countries.


National Design System Performance: Design Users in Denmark, Estonia, Finland and the UK



This report also presents an overview of innovation and design policies in the 27 EU Member States. In 2012, 15 of the European Member States had design explicitly included in innovation policy. Nevertheless, the SEE partners observe that there is an increasing gap between government statements on design and implementation of policy initiatives. Many more European countries and regions have active business support programmes connecting designers with SMEs, design promotion activities such as award schemes, exhibitions and publicity campaigns as well as active design centres. In 2012, Estonia was the only country to have a dedicated design policy although Denmark and Finland launched dedicated policies in early 2013.


Design Policy Monitor 2012


The Design Policy Monitor 2012 collates existing statistics on the performance of the SEE partners’ national or regional design systems in order to provide input for evidence-based policy-making. 


Design Policy Monitor 2011


The Design Policy Monitor 2011 provides an overview of the provisions for design policy in the SEE partner countries. 


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