Think tank:

 Strategic design improves Danish competitiveness

Rector Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen says to Denmark’s leading think tank Monday Morning that it is a necessary challenge to get SMEs to innovate in new ways.

“Companies with attention to design have a higher turnover,” notes Monday Morning Weekly, which in its latest September issue has put a focus on strategic design as an opportunity to create Danish growth.

Companies with a strategic approach to design not only profit more, but they also have a higher export and are far better at adapting to the changing market conditions, it is, among other things, stated. The fact is that companies in the Region of Southern Denmark that use design have increased from 54 percent to 68 percent in the last three years. This increase is in line with the intention with D2i - design to innovate – a cluster for design and creative industries – including Design School Kolding, that teaches SMEs about using design.

“It is a huge challenge to get SMEs into this new way of innovating”, says Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, rector at Design School Kolding, to Monday Morning Weekly.

The large ones do it
But elsewhere in Denmark, most SMEs are not doing so well.

“The large companies do it: Grundfos is absolutely on its way, LEGO and Coloplast are fantastic, Novo Nordisk do it and Mærsk too. But how do we get the SMEs on board? This might be Denmark’s biggest challenge”, she says.

In collaboration with Monday Morning, D2i presents the results of the Region of Southern Denmark’s design effort in a new report that will be published in the autumn of 2014. The report is to inspire more companies to embrace the methods of strategic design. The report is supplemented with the conference Design Meets Business held on 3-4 December at Design School Kolding.