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Action Plan for the Strategic Use of Design


This AHRC funded project is a collaboration between Manchester Met, Cardiff Met and the Design Council, working with design stakeholders from across the UK to develop an action plan for the strategic use of design in the public and private sectors.

This collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University and PDR explored the huge role that design plays in driving innovation that results in societal and economic benefit. However, in the UK this benefit is currently not being maximised as we do not have a consolidated action plan for design that that provides a compelling case that assists decision-makers to employ design effectively. A growing number of European countries have developed action plans for design including Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland and Latvia. The UK is not one of them.

Led by Prof. Martyn Evans at Manchester Met, with PDR Co-Investigators Dr Anna Whicher and Prof. Andrew Walters, this innovative research project synthesises for the first time, multi-stakeholder and user-led perspectives to generate original insights that go beyond existing approaches in the UK through the development of an integrated action plan to increase and enhance the strategic use of design as a driver for innovation and provides a roadmap to how that could be achieved. 

The research approach will: a) draw in multi-stakeholder views that hitherto have not been synthesised and combined together (synergising individual agendas into a compelling and coherent argument to maximise the impact of design), b) provide new insights that informs a high-level strategic understanding of the potential of design to drive societal and economic benefit in organisations (to foreground the capability of the strategic use design to drive innovation), and c) set out a series of integrated steps (the 'action plan') required to enable the operationalization of design through an actionable plan (with examples of potential application of design in the public and private sectors). 

Follow the progress of the project and the resources we generate through stakeholder engagement at

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