Design Policy Beacon – Description

The Design Policy Beacon

An evidence-based resource for policymakers/researchers/designers

for building understanding in the field of design policy

Activities > Design Policy Beacon > Description

We invite you to browse our map at this page.

The Design Policy Beacon aims at becoming an evidence-based online resource that raises awareness on design policy across the EU through data visualisation. The aim is to support the growing community of policymakers who are working to make design a key part of national and regional policies for innovation and growth. Our first step will be to visualise the network of initiatives and organisations in this field and document the most pressing issues for design and policy.
At its simplest we want to help policymakers share stories and connect – sharing insights and building an international network of colleagues working to address similar challenges.

What do we want to find out?
Through data analysis, surveys and interviews we are bringing together the perspectives of a wide range of design policy experts. The key areas we are focussing on are:
- What are the needs of policymakers who want to create policy to support design?
- How can design help in the policymaking process?
- How can design help in the policymaking process?

What will the Design Policy Beacon offer when finished?
We will have a resource that provides an up-to-date map of design policies across Europe – alongside first-hand stories of their development and impact. By visualising these stories we hope to help uncover trends at a European level, as well as providing practical insights about initiatives that have responded to specific regional challenges.

Who is the Design Policy Beacon for?
We want to make the resource as accessible as possible, but our key target audiences are: Policymakers and policy implementers, governmental institutions, design policy beneficiaries, designers, academics.

Methodology and Data Gathering
We are mainly collecting and analysing design policies and initiatives that represent the main input to understanding and representing the different national and regional ecosystems.
To collect meaningful entries for our map, we adopt few main criteria:

Definition: we adopt the definition of design policy and initiative developed as part of the DeEP project, and in particular:
design policy is a set of rules, activities, and processes to support design through the reinforcement of design capabilities at all levels of the policy cycle,
design policy initiative is an action or programme resulting from a policy.

Time: in this first iteration, we consider only policy began from 2012 onwards, both because of data availability and to picture current – rather than past – situations.

Type: we look for more than official/national programmes. We know that usually design policies are hidden in wider innovation programmes, or depend on smaller/local initiatives. We are interested in all the projects that support design in a system, whether it is the demand or the supply side (design professional sector or private/public organisations demanding design services), whether it is larger well recognized programmes or smaller less visible initiatives. These might include: design competitions, awards, voucher schemes, norm regulations, prototype development, services acquisition, and so on. Moreover, they might include an explicit reference to design or a wider focus on the creative sector.

Moreover, the process of data collection and validation has been a mixed one, and has progressed in various steps:
- Direct interviews have been the initial means to creating a first list of examples.
- Desk research has been used to implement this first list, validate examples and gather data.
- A second round of interviews with relevant stakeholders has been useful for the final validation of data, and to build the definitive picture presented in the beacon.

In this process, we acknowledge the help and participation of the DfE consortium and ambassadors. We thank all of them for the help they have provided and will provide.
If you want to know more about our framework, please follow this link.

Geographical Coverage
The Design Policy Beacon is – in our vision – a comprehensive interactive tool that provides updated data on all European design policy ecosystems, and that is capable of updating itself through user input. However, to get to this vision, we will proceed in steps and plan for different releases in time, which foresee increasing levels of interactivity and of geographical coverage.

In the first test release, the Design Policy Beacon will include mainly the analysis of two countries – Italy and UK. These represent two contexts that are sufficiently different from each other to help us test our framework and ideas for the first time.

As the project proceeds, we plan to extend our analysis to all of Europe.

Design for Europe

Design for Europe is the European focal point for design-led innovation. It is a web-based platform and a series of events aimed at opening Europe's eyes to the potential of design, strengthening European policies and programmes and fostering business and public services competitiveness. Insights from world-leading experts and corporates feed the process with innovative thinking and boost Europe's position in the global marketplace.

DfE is building a web platform and programme of events to share the knowledge and skills to innovate in business, the public sector and policymaking.

As part of this, it is creating:
- Case studies that demonstrate the impact of good design
- Learning materials and tools to help organisations use design more effectively
- A programme of events and workshops across Europe
- A collection of expert advice on how to implement design-led innovation

DfE is also the project that has launched and supported the initial development of the Design Policy Beacon.

Ownership and credits
The Design Policy Beacon is developed by the Design Policy Team at Politecnico di Milano – Department of Design, as part of the project Design for Europe.

Get in touch with us
The Design Policy Beacon is an ongoing project and we'd appreciate your help to grow our dataset of policies/initiatives and subjects. If you would like to support us by providing the cases for your country or region, please send an email to get in contact.