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Capturing the impact of “Design Europe 2021” on BEDA

The end of the project funded by the Creative Europe programme offers the opportunity to reflect on the impact achieved on BEDA, its members and the organisations surrounding us.

In spring 2014 BEDA submitted an application, in December 2014 we received the brilliant news that our project application under the Creative Europe programme, “Design Europe 2021 – Design for Cultural and Creative Growth”, had been accepted.

DE2021 has had a larger sphere of influence than any previous action of BEDA. The figures are testament to its reach – as of November 2017 more than on thousand people have participated in over fifteen events and around twenty five publications have been produced within the four work streams of action.

The project was conceived to be the main tool to deliver BEDA’s strategy to 2021 that pursues the following Strategic Objectives:

  1. Enhance the awareness and understanding of the value of design.
  2. Strengthen the capability of the design sector to meet future needs.
  3. Build capacity for design among EU businesses.
  4. Advocate design for public sector renewal.
  5. Promote design as a new approach to policy-making.

Thus, the mission of the ‘Design Europe 2021’ project is to strengthening the design sector of Europe. It comprises four carefully structured and distinctive streams of action that together will increase the capacity and capability of BEDA, as Europe’s only European-level network for national and regional design promotion centres, design councils and the professional trade associations for design.

With a stronger and larger BEDA network of design associations and organisations in every Member State, the intent is to accelerate long-term structuring effects on the design sector and to facilitate the wider embedding of design in business, government, education, research, the Public sector and the EU institutions. This will enable and influence change in practice and policy for the benefit of the cultural and creative sectors in general and the design sector in particular.

Actions towards the delivery of this strategy:

GA+: A full-day programme of creative networking with external facilitators, sharing best practice and mapping member profiles to reinforce the power of our network.

Three editions have been held in Milan, Limassol and Vilnius, focusing respectively on BEDA members’ capacity building, the immigration challenge in Europe and what design organisations can do, and the future of design support.

BEDA CONNECTS: A once-yearly opportunity for BEDA members to connect with representatives from other European networks, in order to create new synergies.

Through its association with ERRIN – the European Regions Research and Innovation Network, BEDA has been an essential partner for last editions of the EU Design Days, a major design event in Brussels that brings together the design industry from across Europe providing an opportunity for dialogue between regions, and with EU institutions. Also, the DE2021 project has allowed BEDA to be represented in key meetings and events in Brussels, raising the profile in the organisation through the partnerships with design and innovation stakeholders in the European design ecosystem.

BEDA CLUSTERS: This is the creation of multiple small-scale expert creative groups, whose specialist focus will range from design to the EU.

At the moment BEDA maintains 11 active clusters whose members are working closely together to collect, analyse and share their knowledge and expertise within the network. The list includes Cities and Users, Design&IPR, Design Business Models, Design for All, Design Policy, Design Stats, Design4Tourism, Eco-design, European Design and Business Dialogue, Measuring Design Value, and Membership Benefits. A number of events and publications have been produced by BEDA Clusters raising the profile of the organisation and this members within a wide range of sectors.

BEDA INTEGRATES: A sequence of above and below-the-line strategic activities will communicate the value of design and Europe’s design sector in contributing to the cultural power and diversity of Europe.

The successful editions of the BEDA Insight Forum targeting national and European policy-makers in 2015, 2016 and 2017 demonstrate the excellent state of the relations between BEDA and the EU institutions. The capacity of influence of the organisation has been expanded through a number of Directorate-Generals within the Commission, but also to the European Parliament (host of the 2016 edition) and other agencies and bodies. In particular, BEDA is now a key partner of the EU Policy Lab of the Joint Research Centre and of the EUIPO (EU Intellectual Property Office).

Last but not least, the ‘Design Europe 2021’ project has reshaped and enhance BEDA’s communication strategy in order to disseminate the project news to target audiences, across all levels and platforms. The new strategy and tools have also raised the profile of BEDA’s members through sharing relevant news and resources. The new website is a significant step in transforming BEDA into a go-to knowledge hub for members, of information, knowledge exchange and promotion. It’s also a key tool to highlight the value of design and innovation to the European culture, economy, environment, society and governance; as well as to promote BEDA’s role as the liaison between its members and the European Union.

‘I’m very happy with what the DE2021 project has brought us. The activities, led by Mario López during the past three years, have given BEDA more impact in relation to our strategic goals. With the end of the project in sight, our challenge is to build further and contribute to a competitive European design sector.’

Bart Ahsmann, BEDA President

This is a very exciting time for design in Europe. BEDA is now looking to the future with a new strategy to strengthen the perception of design across Europe, strengthening our network, increasing our standing as the design authority at European level and ensuring design has a recognised position in the European Innovation System. This is a campaign not just on multiple fronts, but with a complex variety of needs. It requires that we enhance awareness of design’s value, while simultaneously strengthening design sector capacity to meet both the demand that we create and the future’s challenges. It means radically altering perceptions to help businesses and governments understand how design can fuel the innovative capability by which they stand or fall. The board, members and clusters now need to propel this momentum into a new phase to ensure the achievement of the objectives and lasting impact.

The ‘Design Europe 2021’ project formally ends on the 30th of November 2017. Final reports will be finished in spring 2018 and will be available for BEDA members. The project manager will end his assignment at BEDA from the 30th of November 2017.

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