Design Creates Value

Value creation by design is a critical issue for shaping European innovation capacities and for our continent’s economic growth and global competitiveness. The project EuroDesign aims at a better understanding of design as a strategic connector that brings R&D into the market and responds to new demands.

The project will be analysing and measuring design as an innovation tool and economic factor of production. The measuring effort is meant to support the overall EU policy objective, which is “to improve the impact of innovation policies by speeding up the take-up of design as a user-centred innovation tool”. Improving the capacity of measuring design impact will contribute effectively to creating a wider awareness of the economic and social relevance design among stakeholders.

The capability to measure more systematically and analyse more deeply design efforts, design processes and related outputs should help increase general awareness and professional insights into design as a tool for advancing innovation, promoting new products and services, and generating economic growth. The project should also help in putting design on the policy agendas.

The project network includes design promotion centres with expertise in design research initiatives and design-driven innovation programmes and universities and business schools with expertise in conducting analytical work on design data. Several of the experts involved also have considerable and highly relevant practical experience in the field of design and innovation from their work in business firms and in the public sector.

Target Groups

Direct target groups:
- European Commission
- OECD, Eurostat, WIPO, and national statistical offices,
as well as agencies for innovation promotion
- Policy makers on the European, national, regional, and local levels
- Educators and trainers focused on the enhancement
of specialised skills in design and innovation

Indirect target groups:
- SME’s
- Other stakeholders in the business enterprise sector
- The general public

Project Objectives

The specific project objectives for EuroDesign are:

Define the conceptual framework of design as an economic factor of production within user-centred innovation projects, focusing on the aspect of balance between functional, emotional, and social users needs.

Help establish guidelines for analysing and measuring the economic impact of design efforts and design outputs, thereby facilitating the availability of more detailed and reliable figures. The guidelines should enhance statistical analyses of design and enter the Frascati family of Manuals for R&D and Innovation.

Test early versions of the guidelines by exploring different approaches to measuring design and other intangible resources and capabilities.

Improve efficiency in the dissemination of design indicators by using available communication networks (e.g., BEDA and its Centres of Competence) and by providing a plug-in or add-on model to measure design inputs/impacts in innovation projects.

Encourage a wider community of experts to engage in advancing design metrics in Community Innovation Surveys (CIS), in national and industry-specific innovation surveys, and for a Frascati-type manual provisionally entitled “The Barcelona Manual” for design. The objective is to provide policy makers with reliable macroeconomic data on the impact of design efforts on GDP growth.


To improve efficiency in the dissemination, the project benefits from professional networks such as BEDA and its Centres of Competence and national design innovation institutions across Europe. Each of the WPs will deliver inputs to working papers, progress reports, case study descriptions, interview summaries, etc.

WP 1: Two working papers on design concepts and design measurement approaches within an economic context to be combined into one analytical framework paper that will include bibliographical inputs.

WP 2: Paper on guidelines for analysing/measuring design, including a draft questionnaire that aims to enable consistent and reliable measurement of design.

WP 3: Paper summarising (a) responses from pre-tests of the questionnaire questions and (b) methodological conclusions with regard to design as an economic factor of production/innovation. Case study abstracts/summaries.

WP 4: Paper on the measuring of design value creation within the wider context of analyzing intangible resources and capabilities. Paper on best practices in creating value by design processes, including case study summary reports.

WP 5: Paper consolidating inputs to the “Barcelona Manual on Design” within the Frascati family of Manuals.

WP 6: Paper on a “tool-box” for design and the implementation of a “plug-in” or “ad-on” model to measure the impact of design (for dissemination purposes and using existing innovation platforms).

WP 7: “Training-trainers” communication and dissemination programme.

WP 8: Successful implementation of the EuroDesign project. A report summarising the significant outputs of the project and evidence from the pilot studies, drawing on the results from all WPs .