HOW TO WITNESS DESIGN
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: Freimane, Aija
Institution: Art Academy of Latvia, Latvia
Section: Collaboration and Industrial Involvement in Design and Engineering Education
Design adds value for the benefit of the economy, people and the environment; however, reliable and comparable tools demonstrating design’s contribution to the economy and its impact on return on investment are lacking. Also, entrepreneurs are willing to apply design to improve their products and services; yet, design’s comparative advantages can neither be measured nor witnessed, except as sales profits. Furthermore, no evidence-based design identification system has been provided by design professionals or education to evaluate design’s added value. Thirty small- and medium-sized enterprises in the wood industry, producing for both the domestic market and exports from Estonia and Latvia, were questioned on how they witness design’s added value in their respective companies. The questions were based on the analysis of theory and existing online design valuation tools. The wood industry was chosen because it is one of the region’s traditional and most exported products. Export data indicates that design has not been properly applied. In addition, there is no confidence in design’s added value in the wood industry. Consequently, it raises a question to design education: why are there no mastery and design performance indicators? Enterprises state that design adds value; nevertheless, the understanding and application of design within the wood industry is weak. Enterprises are neither confident nor aware of design diversity and its impact. To address the lack of indicative tools in design as a method, strategy or system, an identification system of measuring design’s value needs to be elaborated and tested.