British Design Innovation (BDI) today announced the election of Gus Desbarats as chairman of the organisation.
Gus's extensive experience of customer-led innovation, product development and brand consultancy through design, and his role as BDI representative in ongoing discussions on innovation best practice with the Design Council, were key to his appointment.
An RCA-educated automotive designer with degrees in mechanical engineering and systems engineering, Gus is chairman of award-winning international design consultancy TheAlloy, where he has directed multi-project relationships credited with delivering strategic change to clients including Bic, BT, Dixons, Hasbro, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, M&S, Toshiba, Virgin Atlantic and Yorkshire Water.
"The UK is a hotbed of both technology and humanistic creativity, but the key issue is combining these strengths to create enduring success in global markets," Gus said. "I believe the nation's industrial and service designers make a critically important contribution to achieving this.
BDI and its members are proud to be part of a strong, unified design industry, but are equally clear that our particular profession is a distinct sub-set of design that needs to communicate more focused and informed messages and build its own sense of community. My remit as the new BDI chairman is to communicate the benefits of our unique service proposition - the expertise our members bring as innovation development partners to technology start-ups, SMEs, corporations, universities and government alike."
A champion of experience-led innovation for the Creative Industries KTN, Gus has personally directed many hundreds of design projects. Tens of millions of end-users interact daily with the hardware and software designs he and his team have created.
"BDI is the voice of UK-owned design businesses with track records in delivering strategic innovation propositions, including the ability to assess business problems, create design briefs, deliver world-class design interventions and oversee the implementation of those interventions," he added. "Getting this across to stakeholders at every level is crucial for the UK's industrial health and economic success.
Industrial design is a niche sector within the UK's £1.5 billion design industry, but arguably adds the most value to the innovation process in terms of overall IP generation. The uniqueness of our sector is due to the depth and complexity of our interactions with the organisations we assist. Our working media covers the spectrum from traditional to digital technology through to management systems and global supply chains. We work directly within the operations and R&D of clients on projects with very high stakes.
In close collaboration with clients we deliver holistic, customer-centric solutions with aesthetic and experiential value that builds brand and generally delivers progress to organisations. Our sector enjoys high-level capability, including consumer insight, strategic direction, preparing the brief, service innovation, full technical specifications, and sourcing components and materials through to full prototype and manufacturing specification."
Gus formally takes up his duties as BDI chairman at the organisation's national board meeting in October. "A key priority for me will be to improve our internal communications in both directions," he said. "I want to ensure that members, who own the organisation, are fully aware of what is being done on their behalf, and give them a stronger voice in deciding the collective activities we should focus on."