Britain's universities are being encouraged to form partnerships with some of the world's best strategic design innovation experts by national design organisation British Design Innovation (BDI).
The organisation represents many of the most qualified product, service, innovative 3D packaging, digital and brand designers in the world, and claims that public sector design and innovation centres are in danger of missing the opportunity of working alongside the commercial design industry's top talent.
BDI outlines the partnership opportunities for universities in a government-commissioned report published today. Delivering the Innovation Dream: The BDI Report calls for the university sector to more fully engage with the UK's world-class strategic design talent in a robust, coherent strategic relationship.
BDI represents the top 15 per cent of the UK's strategic design firms, who generate a collective turnover of approximately £200 million per year. In January one of their member companies, Priestman Goode, won a contract from China to design the world's fastest train for the new Beijing-to-Shanghai high speed rail line.
"BDI's strategic designers are engaged by the world's largest global brand owners to progress their product, service and brand development contracts as design and innovation experts contracted as senior consultants in strategic advisory positions," said Maxine Horn, the organisation's chief executive.
"However, many publicly-recognisable brand-name clients insist that the strategic design companies, who create, develop and commercialise their products and brands remain undisclosed for reasons of commercial confidentiality.
This means that many university product design and innovation centres are not even aware of the incredibly talented strategic designers available to help commercialise their discoveries."
Strategic Design is the application of design principles to increase an organisation's innovative and competitive qualities through the analysis of trends and data, which enables design decisions to be based on facts rather than aesthetics or intuition. As such it is regarded as an effective way to bridge innovation, research, management and design.
"I firmly believe our report's recommendations can transform the relationship between our university design and innovation centres and top private sector design companies," added Horn. "It would create an ongoing profitable partnership for all the parties concerned - not least UK Plc."
The BDI Report, which reviews the relationship between the government's innovation strategy, the strategic design industry and universities in the UK, was commissioned by HM Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS).