Design Council has announced the full agenda and speaker line-up for its Leading Business by Design Summit this summer, including representatives from Rolls-Royce, Dyson, Volvo and world-renowned design consultants PriestmanGoode.
The event – taking place in Birmingham on June 18 – will bring together manufacturers, business leaders, designers and policymakers to discuss the future of manufacturing in the UK, and how design can be key to its sustainable growth and innovation.
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The Summit will explore how emerging markets have meant competition no longer takes place between individual businesses, but entire supply chains.
Design Council’s recent work with Rolls-Royce and its global supply chain will be analysed to show how good design is the result of effective collaboration within and between organisations.
Design Council has long argued that ‘design-led thinking’ is an important driver of innovation and competitive advantage in any sector.
Paul Priestman, co-founding director of design and brand experience consultancy PriestmanGoode, explained that it is no different in manufacturing: “Rapid developments in science, technology and materials are changing the way products are designed and manufactured, and it’s crucial British manufacturing has the skills and interdisciplinary framework to adapt.
“Changes in the broader manufacturing ecosystem mean designers increasingly need to develop a wider skillset. I believe we’ll see design play a more fundamental role in integrating products and services and enhancing customer experience – our work at PriestmanGoode is already showing that.”
Hosted by Birmingham City University, the Summit will bring together decision-makers from a range of industries and sectors.
Priestman believes that this type of interdisciplinary event is vital, commenting: “So often with design-related events, there are designers on stage talking to an audience of designers.
“I think it’s crucial to demonstrate to industry leaders that design can add great value to businesses. I hope this Summit will help foster greater links between design and the manufacturing industry.”
Two new pieces of research will be launched at the event, exploring the role of design in the passenger automotive and civil aerospace sectors. Pietro Micheli, associate professor at Warwick Business School, explained: “We have conducted in-depth research to understand the current and future roles of design in the automotive industry.
“We interviewed 48 senior personnel in design, marketing, engineering and finance in ten companies, and the findings were illuminating. Four definitive themes emerged – innovation, collaboration, skill development and customer experience – I’m looking forward to discussing them further at the Summit.”
Noting that Britain has the second largest design sector in the world, and the largest in Europe, John Mathers, Design Council chief executive, added: “We need to start flexing this muscle effectively across British industry to unlock the potential of our manufacturing capabilities.
“It is an increasingly competitive market out there – we believe that design can be the differentiator, and Britain holds all the cards in that department. Collaboration is key to innovation.”