Once we have recieved your letters we plan to review content and confirm with you an edit / or non edit version and ask you confirm you would like to appear as annoymous or not.

Look forward to hearing from you. Please encourage others you think may have a contribution to take part. Everyone is welcome. Everyone is a designer.


Notes from our first meeting.

This inaugural meeting discussed the rationale behind the ‘Office For The Design Economy’. The founders offered some insight and perspective about what their motivations were for setting up the organisation and what the main driving force was behind the whole agenda of a design policy for Scotland.
Andy Harrold was arguing that an organised design economy could improve the scope and credibility of design professionals and the economy alike. Christy Cole thought that there should be more demands in Scotland for improved opportunities for designers and businesses to promote their work internationally.  Both founders shared a common goal explaining the role of design and in understanding how other global economies made the international case for their strategy of policy to be successfully implemented / embedded within their culture. Was it the same for manufacturing and strategic consulting?
Brian McLaren, Managing director of Ekos, is a researcher and economist interested in the development of creative industries. He gave some structure to the proceedings, namely, asking three question of the attendees.

  • Do we need another group such as the OFTDE ?

  • What exactly are the goals?

  • What impact and outputs could the group realise?

The main thrusts of the discussion:

  • No collective voice for design in Scotland

  • Need to recognise the breadth of design activity (eg in manufacturing and engineering etc)

  • Design poorly understood and largely under valued

  • Demand for design limited - companies perceive it as expensive and unsure of its value

  • Economic case but also case in relation to design's wider social contribution

It was noted that we need to be careful not to present design as a panacea - design is not the answer for all companies.
There is a definite opportunity to lobby for a design policy as a legacy of the 2016 Year of Architecture etc - maybe consider alignment with, and contribution to, Government's major social (and economic) policies.
There is a definite need to identify high profile champions from different aspects of public life - for example, Harry Burns and Jim McColl.
Other points made: The OFTDE should not seek funding from Creative Scotland or Scottish Enterprise, but maybe for specific projects that might arise. Better to remain independent.
There was some discussion of a possible opportunity to stage a design event/ festival as part of the Merchant City Festival - Fruitmarket available as a venue and Glasgow Life possibly interested in helping out.
Overall, the general consensus was that there is a willingness to continue the discussion. The group would have to think about seeking input on who else should be engaged with the project and on the main priorities for OFTDE.
The next call to action for discussion is to consider the priorities of OFTDE and map out a process/ plan:

  • articulate the case

  • widen engagement

  • agree set of priority goals

    MONDAY 7TH MARCH 2016 (6-8PM)

A Letter from the founders

Dear Agents of Design

We have invented the ‘Office For The Design Economy’  as a place for the design / business community to give instruction to a ficticious department for design. Have fun making your serious points.

We think, in an 'ideas economy'  designers are a key resource. Locally based, they are the spark plugs to stimulate growth and better opportunities and quality of life.  Their wonderful blend of artistry, pragmatism, empathy, creativity, inventiveness, logic and analysis, complete with one eye on aesthetics and the other on functionality, they transform everything, and make preferable futures.

If that design impact could be better, it made us wonder, what if ....we had a Minister for Design?

We noticed that in Scotland, within the year of Architecture, Innovation & Design calendar for 2016, there was little in the programme that promoted the design activity for industries across the major cities and regions.

Since the UK Design Council has delivered an interesting report on the design economy (Published, October 2015) our founders thought to conduct a piece of granular research to discover the opinions of designers and businesses on how a Minister for Design could help the design economy.

Can you think of something the minister could do?

A & C