A recent project with the Digital Catapult, the AHRC and Innovate UK provided a great vehicle to test and develop some hypotheses about how digital companies do and don’t engage with design.
Designing the Digital Economy was developed as partnership with Innovate UK, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Digital Catapult. It involved working with the three Catapult Centres in Bradford, Brighton and Sunderland, to work out how a design-led approach to growth and innovation could help them realise their ambitions to create dedicated digital or data clusters.
The work built on the Design Commission report of the same name, published in 2013. The premise was that a design-led approach to innovation – integrating a clear focus on the user, and utilising methodologies such as user-testing, prototyping and project iteration – could help accelerate growth. And we were particularly keen to use some of these methodologies to understand the shape and strength of the clusters themselves, as well as the businesses in them.
We adopted a range of methodologies – outlined here – and produced a Prospectus for Growth. The Prospectus highlighted the value of design, and the various ways it could be adopted and integrated by each partner – and is now being used as a tool for partners to build strategies and attract resources and investment.
Future blog-posts will cover the different elements of the process and the learning.