Government Decision-in-Principle on Design Policy

De Casiopea

TítuloGovernment Decision-in-Principle on Design Policy
AutorLeena Möttölä
Tipo de PublicaciónInédito
Palabras ClaveFinlandia, plan estratégico, diseño
Carrera(s)Diseño, Magíster
NotaTraducido del finés al inglés por Sanna Tyyri-Pohjonen, sapohjon(at) a petición de Kathy Mollenhauer, kathy.mollenhauer(at), diseñadora chilena en Alemania.



The aim of this decision-in-principle, later Design 2005! programme, is to create a dynamic design system which will take Finland to the forefront in the utilization of design. The Government has decided to take steps to prepare and implement the measures outlined in this document.

Design improves the quality, competitiveness and demand of Finnish products and services in the global marketplace, thereby promoting welfare and employment. Design can also generate product, service and production innovations.

The aim of the Design 2005! programme is to enhance competitiveness through the development of education, training and research in the design field and the integration of design into the development of the national innovation system. Design can contribute to the innovation system by finding new modes of action, producing new research and R&D projects, and training experts with a new orientation.

Design promotes citizens' well-being by creating aesthetically high-quality environments and user-friendly products. The implementation of the information society entails that products, work and living environments, and services are geared to people's needs and abilities. In addition to an aesthetic milieu, design promotes the development of production methods in keeping with sustainable development and the use of environment-friendly materials in manufacturing.

Design know-how generates new cultural innovations. A high-quality national design culture of international renown strengthens the national identity and cultural image of Finland.

The Design 2005! programme sets the objectives for the public sector in the development of the design system. The achievement of these objectives entails cooperation between different players in the public sector, in business and industry and in society at large. Cooperation will create conditions conducive to

  1. improving design quality;
  2. promoting extensive use of the opportunities inherent in design with a view to improving competitiveness and employment; and
  3. developing the quality of the living environment and promoting a distinctive national culture.

The purpose of Design 2005! can be crystallized in a vision of the situation in Finnish design in 2005:

In 2005, Finnish design will be based on high-standard know-how which takes into account progress in manufacturing and delivery processes, acknowledges changes in consumer markets, has a user-centered approach, and is capable of using culture-bound innovations in product and service development.

The development of design know-how of the highest international standard will be based on strong input into research and close cooperation between education and industry. This cooperation will promote the national innovation system and competitive production, improve the quality of products and services and create new jobs.

A high-quality, aesthetic physical environment built on distinctive design will create a strong identity for Finland in the vanguard of design and craftsmanship. Design will provide a basis for Finns' well-being and satisfaction.

What does Design means?

In this programme, design means planning which takes aesthetic and ethical considerations, serviceability and marketing into account and which is targeted at businesses in industry, trade and services and public sector organizations. The object of design may be a product, a service, communications, the living environment, and a corporate or organizational identity.

In this programme, design is an umbrella term covering industrial design, arts and crafts, design management and interior design. Industrial design also includes ceramics, glass, textile and fashion. The programme also deals with arts and crafts as part of the entity of design. Graphic design also has points of contact with this entity, especially as regards corporate communications.

Design as part of national competitiveness

Design in support of product development

The key issues in the design programme are the opportunities of industry, trade and services to use design services, on the one hand, and the right way for service producers to market design services as part of corporate business operations, on the other.

Major Finnish corporations utilize design and buy part of their design services in the international marketplace. The key issue in Finnish design policy is how design is used to improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized industry.

In the 1990s, the government and business enterprises invested heavily in the technological development of Finnish industry. Technological know-how is of a high standard. Supplementary input into strengthening international competitiveness can be found in the use of design in industrial product development processes. Regional labour and business centres offer comprehensive advisory services geared to strengthen business and technological know-how.

(1) Design services will be upgraded in the services provided by labour and business centres to business enterprises. In partnership with design organizations, the centres will develop a service model targeted at SMEs. The aim is to link design know-how with corporate product planning and to commercialize design to benefit the operations of different branches of industry.

The aim in the utilization of design is to establish best practices and to disseminate these action models. The foundation for know-how is created by universities and polytechnics in the field, their applied research and the know-how of the design community.

New enterprises as users of design

The aim is that by 2005 30% of possible users of design will enlist the services of qualified designers and half of Finnish enterprises will take design into account in their strategic planning. By 2010 half of Finnish enterprises will use professional design as part of their business operations and 80% take design into account in their business operations.

This will entail a programme developed in collaboration with those in charge of developing technology and industrial policies, with business enterprises, and with providers of design services, which will induce 200 new enterprises annually to adopt design as part of their operations. Another important thing in design-intensive production is to target operations at the international marketplace.

(2) Under the direction of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, regional and national development bodies will jointly launch a project with a view to encouraging 200 enterprises annually to integrate design into their core operations.

Design as part of corporate business strategies

Full-scale utilization of design entails commitment from the key persons in enterprises to apply design with a view to achieving strategic aims. Technical and business education may provide competencies for the utilization of design in corporate innovation processes or in business management. At present one fifth of technology or business graduates have a grounding in design and its potential.

Successful product development processes are the result of multi-professional collaboration. Universities, polytechnics and vocational institutes must seek models for interdisciplinary interaction; these interfaces may generate new innovations and new business.

(3) Design education will be integrated more closely into technological and business education and the product-development training included in them. In technological and business education, the focus in design training will be on identifying the strategic role of design and its potential. The Ministry of Education will promote the creation of interdisciplinary degree programmes and ensure their continuity.

Design must be integrated into management programmes, as well as into undergraduate programmes in business administration and technology.

In Finnish management training, design must be examined as part of business strategies and as a support to it. Design must be seen as a factor for user-centred, customer- and marketing-driven product development which promotes the competitive position and image of the enterprise.

(4) In continuing professional education provided by universities in business management, attention will be given to the strategic role of design in corporate product development.

Design and user-friendly information society

In Finland, measures are being taken at several levels to make use of the opportunities inherent in the information society and to avert the threats it entails. Finland has taken on the challenge of creating a humane information society in keeping with sustainable development.

User-friendly and user-driven products and services can be achieved when design is linked to R&D and commercialization at different stages of the value chain. Information and communications technologies, the internet and the interactive media offer new challenges and opportunities to Finnish design firms and other providers of design services.

In the design of user interfaces, the essential thing is an easily comprehensible and aesthetically pleasing end-result. Design and graphical design are key elements in information design, the planning of contents and in the design of user-friendly hardware. The significance of design is also seen in the planning of work and operational environments in the information society. A properly designed work environment yields significant productivity, quality and health benefits.

(5) Design applications will be taken into account in the implementation of the information society strategy. The degree and research programmes combining design and communications technologies initiated by different universities will be strengthened and their continuity will be secured.

Concentrations of know-how - design innovation centres

The technology, expertise and innovation centres have proved an effective channel for disseminating R&D findings, especially for small and medium-sized industry. The development of the design system and the transfer of design know-how to business enterprises requires concentration of design know-how.

The system of design innovation centres must be built on research and education based on it. Research and education will be supplemented by experimentation and laboratory investigation which support corporate product development. The aim is to capitalize on design know-how in corporate innovation and product development and to generate new innovations. The innovation centres must combine the know-how of different partners, which must be made available to corporate product development.

Ensuring the regional impact of these activities entails concentrations of design research and education with a sufficient number of potential users of design in their vicinity. Helsinki, Lahti and Rovaniemi have the prerequisites for strengthening their positions in the promotion of design know-how and its use. The development of each regional centre will be based on their own capacities and aim at alternative, mutually complementary modes of transferring know-how to business enterprises. Apart from these centres, Kuopio has potential for linking design with the development projects of local business and industry. The design innovation centres must work in close cooperation with other national technology and expertise centres and network their operations with educational establishments in the field.

The concentration of design and media know-how at Arabianranta in Helsinki provides a basis for a nationally and internationally significant design cluster Designium. It will be developed into a centre of national and international significance and of relevance to the national economy.

(6) The Ministry of Education and the University of Art and Design will agree on the preparation of the design innovation centre Designium. Designium will combine research; education; corporate product development; support for business development and internationalization in the design field; research data services for design firms and business enterprises; a business hatchery; and the internationalization of design know-how. The operations will be networked with other research and educational institutes. The experiences gained will be shared with them.

Design brings added value - knowledge to users

Design Forum Finland works as the national design promotion and information centre. Its aim is to collect and disseminate information about the role of design in business. Design Forum Finland promotes the utilisation of design and design services in business and industry.

Design Forum Finland has a central role in implementing varied design communications. In view of this, the net project will be expanded with a view to ensuring the regional accessibility of these services and supporting international communications. The net project will bring together different operators working in the field under the same service.

(7) The Ministry of Trade and Industry will ensure that the design information centre Design Forum Finland targets its activities to business and industry. Design Forum Finland will provide a channel for promoting the use of design in business and industry and for making contemporary design known. The means to this end will be exhibitions, publications, competitions and seminars.

More designers needed

In 1995, the total work force in advertising, marketing, architecture and industrial design was around 7,000. Of these 400 worked within industrial design and nearly 1,800 in architecture. In 1997, the construction turnover was FIM 58.3 billion (€ 9.8 billion), while manufacturing turnover was FIM 443.1 billion (€74.5 billion). At an estimate, design could be used in one fourth of industrial production.

Apart from industry, demand for design will grow in trade, services and communications. Similarly, the government, municipalities and cultural institutions will increasingly use design.

An increase in the use of design entails a substantial rise in the number of design service providers and the right orientation of their operations. The target will be to increase the number of designers offering their services to industry, trade and services to 2,000 by 2010.

An increase in the number of designers offering their services to industry, trade and services will bring about genuine competition among service providers, ensure a sufficient volume of services supply, build up the credibility of the field and create a basis for firms operating in the international marketplace.

The increase in the number of designers offering their services to business and industry will be effected by means of larger education provision. The orientation in this education must meet the needs of business and industry.

(8) The increase in design education will be effected through a reassessment of the content of present education provision and continuing professional education targeted at the design community. In addition to increased training provision, it is important to deepen know-how and raise its quality. Top-class professional skills are a prerequisite for success in the international competition.

The standard of design must be raised

Multidisciplinary research programme in design

The application of design and the re-orientation of education entail multidisciplinary research into the impact of design on innovations and information about the economic, social and cultural impact of design. Research and its applications constitute a key to a living design system capable of renewal.

In Finland, the design research tradition is still quite meagre. This is why the implementation of the design research programme will include foreign researchers' visits and work in Finland and the application of the know-how of international research centres to the creation of Finnish research tradition. In international cooperation, attention will be paid to research which has been able to measure reliably the benefits of design to business operations.

(9) Universities which provide design education will devise a design research strategy together with other universities. Universities, the Academy of Finland, the National Technology Agency and other possible sources of funding will work towards a multidisciplinary research programme linking design research with research in other disciplines.

Education produces competence - reappraisal of contents, quantities and orientation

Impact analysis on design education indicates a need for reappraisal. The division of work between different levels of education must be clarified, and at the same time the extent of education provided must be critically examined in view of demand. Making design a factor for Finnish competitiveness entails that resources are allocated to fields of great relevance to competitiveness which are suffering from shortages of professionals.

The change in the structure and content effected in the vocational education and training sector requires that design education and training is looked at as a chain in which each level of education has its own function. The university level stresses research and design management education; polytechnics educate product design professionals, and vocational schools providing training in arts and crafts and industrial art supply workers who have solid technical know-how and are able to work together with designers.

Educational units must also develop distinctive profiles and find their own strengths. Resources should not be decentralized too much in design education and training, but should be concentrated on established, developing and regionally significant educational units especially in eastern and western Finland, as well as on nationally and internationally significant units.

While creativity should not be neglected in educational content, the creative core competence should be accompanied with an awareness of the strategic role of design in corporate product development and in business development. Experts with design education must be able to communicate with the management and personnel of business enterprises. Students' placement in work and their career development should be monitored, and this should guide the development and orientation of educational content. Education and training must produce professionals capable of team work for different phases of industrial product development and innovation processes.

The central aim of design-related vocational education and training is to produce a know-how reserve for the use of Finnish industry, trade and services. Design professionals must also be able to work in the international market and in international production. This aim must be taken into account when educational content is being defined.

(10) The Ministry of Education will launch an anticipatory project in order to ensure that education and training in the design field provides a correct picture of the profession. The anticipation will stress the needs of business enterprises which use design, illustrate the knowledge and skills needed in design jobs, and anticipate quantitative and qualitative developments in manpower needs. The anticipation of the need for design education and the evaluation of the appropriateness of education must constitute an ongoing process in educational institutions.

University education supports innovation

At the university level, design education must emphasize product development and the innovation processes, as well as the role of design in initiating these. The aim of university-level education is to produce professionals knowledgeable about strategic thinking; design executives, producers, organizers, managers, concept-developers, researchers and strong product development professionals.

The essential thing at the university level is to educate professionals proficient in holistic design management and planning and capable of enhancing the business value of design.

(11) Educating professionals aware of the strategic role of design also requires focus on the development of curricula. University-level education must be expanded with emphasis on knowledge of consumer markets, social development, changes in production structures, design-intensive business processes, and cultural innovations. The development of education entails extending the concept of design so as to support national competitiveness, the innovation system and its internationalization.

Polytechnics provide product development expertise

The polytechnic sector has been expanding rapidly in Finland. Polytechnics have a clear role of their own in the design process. In their present form, they can produce product design and development professionals who have solid commercial and technical know-how, as well as knowledge of business operations. Polytechnics which offer design education often also provide education in the commercial and technical fields. Combinations of these contents make it easier for design professionals to find jobs within industry and trade.

Education must also include business skills. Design education produces freelancers and other self-employed professionals. A response to the international competition requires thorough business know-how. The internationalization of Finnish industry must be taken into account in the content of education and its implementation.

(12) At the polytechnics level, curricula must be revised to provide design professionals with sufficient technical and commercial knowledge and skills.

Arts and crafts training - technically trained workers

There is a comprehensive network of arts and crafts institutes which produce trained workers in the field. The quantity and content of the training must be reassessed in terms of placement in the labour market.

The training must take more account of students' placement in work than now is the case and stress know-how relating to production and marketing instead of an artist identity. The graduates should be able to develop products suited at least for small serial production and to put them on the domestic and foreign markets, for instance by means of e-commerce.

(13) The National Board of Education will assess the need for basic training in arts and crafts and students' placement in work. The primary task of initial vocational training is to develop manual skills and know-how relating to manufacture. Apart from manufacture and product design, training will stress entrepreneurial skills, product development, marketing and skills relating to the organisation of production.

Design knowledge in the comprehensive school curriculum

Participation in decision-making concerning design or discussing it require knowledge of the principles of design. Design is taught little or not at all in the comprehensive school curricula. Design can be included in arts education and linked to environmental education.

The key role in implementing design education is played by art and arts and crafts teachers, who are in a position to teach basic skills in design: problem-solving, cultural thinking, artistic expression, an innovative attitude to work and an awareness and appreciation of physical objects. In addition, design education can improve children's and young people's ability to make decisions concerning consumption and the environment with due consideration to design.

Design education requires competent art and arts and crafts teachers. Teacher education will be developed to provide trainees with an up-to-date conception of design and its significance and use in business, industry and society.

The system of art and arts and crafts schools intended for children and young people constitute an important channel for in-depth design education.

(14) The National Board of Education will strengthen the status of design education in the development of curricular guidelines. The aim is to show the significance of design for the usability of products and services and for an environment based on aesthetic and sustainable development.

Competitive design service

Finnish design firms are small, which is why few of them have the prerequisites to aim at strong business growth. The business know-how and customer-driven planning practices of designers and design firms operating on the market can be developed by means of continuing professional education and through interest and design-promotion organizations.

The design profession needs an organizational structure which matches up to developments in the field and is capable of communicating with business and industry and other users of design services. An interest group promoting design business is an important counterbalance to the users of design in the development of design services, their quality and pricing.

Internationally competitive design firms

On the whole, the core competence of Finnish designers is considered good. The problems raised in this context relate to lack of cooperation with business and industry, the ability to run their own businesses, and the marketing of services. Design firms are often also too small and narrow in scope. Finnish design firms are also faced with international competition in their field; major Finnish corporations increasingly buy design services from abroad.

Design is an international profession by nature. Finnish firms and national service providers have high-standard know-how which can be commercialized in response to growing competition. Success in the international competition requires that firms evaluate their operation models and further develop them. Some new firms have a concept which combines design know-how with communications design or architecture. By internationalizing, firms can import international models and business know-how to Finland.

(15) The Ministry of Trade and Industry will launch a project for the internationalization of Finnish design firms through Finpro. The aim is to develop the know-how of Finnish firms in response to international competition and to obtain commissions from the international marketplace. The target should be that there are 10 design firms in Finland which operate in the international marketplace by 2005 and 20 similar firms by 2010.

Service providers' skills: new technologies and business know-how

Their initial design education provides knowledge and skills needed in actual design assignments, but the ongoing structural change in the labour market and in production entails a more comprehensive knowledge base. At the same time, there is demand for design know-how in trade and services, as well as in traditional production.

Providers of continuing professional education in the design field must seek partnerships with providers of management training and offer modules of design know-how to them.

(16) In continuing design education, priority will be on improving designers' business know-how. Continuing education will be provided in the fields of production, concept development, marketing and business. Training in the new and rapidly progressing design and planning technologies will form an important part of continuing education.

Business incubators in support of new business

New businesses in the design field need a development programme of their own, which will aim at combining design know-how at an early stage with other key know-how areas relevant to product development processes.

In recent years, business incubators have produced good results in commercializing innovations in different fields. The incubator concept is also applicable to commercializing design know-how.

(17) Business incubators supported by regional labour and business centres will see to the commercialization of design know-how based on the experiences of the Arabus business incubator and the Lapland University Design Park. The hatcheries incubators will be used to set up new design service and production firms and to strengthen their competitiveness.

Arts and crafts as source of new production

Most arts and crafts enterprises are characterized by a small volume, direct sale and marketing, minimal risk-taking, and independent activities. Another model is to form a network with other craftspeople and arrange joint sales and marketing. The third model is the producer concept, in which a producer brings craftspeople together, plans products together with them and takes care of marketing and distribution. A fourth way is to do subcontracting for a larger manufacturer or design firm. It is necessary to support all these forms of employment and to seek action models suited to them.

The growing tourist industry is one branch which arts and crafts and design could boost on a wider scale. Arts and crafts have a role in the development of small and medium-sized business in rural areas and as a response to the ongoing structural change.

(18) Business hatcheries which take the special characteristics of the field into account will be developed based on experiences gained in Finland. The aim should be to combine small series production in arts and crafts with other local business activities.

Presentation of design culture

Finnish design has an illustrious past. The Museum of Industrial Art is responsible for compiling, recording and presenting this past. In its exhibitions, the Museum focuses on the cultural and social significance of design. The cultural and social significance of design derives from products and production. These reflect the values and valuation attached to design and its use at given time.

As a national specialized museum, the Museum of Industrial Art will begin to tour its exhibitions in the museums of art or cultural history of different towns and cities.

The Museum of Industrial Art plays a key role in presenting international design culture in Finland. The international activities of the Museum must promote and present design as a social and cultural factor. International exhibitions must integrate the interests of the public and private sectors. The Museum and the Design Forum have their respective roles in presenting Finnish design abroad.

(19) The Ministry of Education will support the activities of the Museum of Industrial Art in making Finnish design known, from its early stages up to contemporary trends, by means of its collection, its exhibitions and education of the public, and ensure sufficient resources for the Museum's basic mission.

The public sector as a model

The public sector has been exemplary in construction and in milieu planning. Design is of major importance in the planning and creation of the milieu; street fittings, signs etc. constitute the interface of design and architecture in the constructed milieu. This is an area in which different operators can join forces to develop new product concepts.

Design linked with architecture is seen in the furnishings of public buildings and in the design of public office and work environments.

Public sector construction projects will pay attention not only to architecture but also to design and its role in the creation of interiors and work environments. The public sector must set an example in the use of Finnish design and its potential in the construction of work and operational environments in the information society.

(20) The furnishings of state-owned buildings will take account of the achievements of Finnish design. In the promotion of Finnish design abroad, Finnish legations play a key role. New embassy buildings have successfully combined design with architecture. These activities will be supplemented by a project called Design for the Embassies, in which Finnish embassies will present and promote Finnish design abroad.

Design publicity strategy

The measures determined in the Design 2005! programme will strengthen the national design system and its operation. However, the impact of the national system is determined in the international marketplace. This is why Finnish design needs both a nationally and internationally active publicity strategy, which highlights the wide-ranging impact of design and supports the exports of national design-intensive industry and Finnish design know-how. International activities should be the responsibility of all operators in the design system.

The aim of international communications is to create a strong image of Finland in the vanguard of design know-how and its utilization.

(21) The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Trade and Industry will take care of the international marketing and publicity of Finnish design together with different operators in the design field. This cooperation will ensure a basis for varied communications. In these communications, they will capitalise on the new net technologies, which must offer an interesting and constantly updated interface.

Implementation of design policy

The national design system will be supported and the operations of different partners will be coordinated by a Design Round Table, which brings together different partners in industry, trade, design, the media and the public sector. The Round Table will evaluate the performance of the design system, prepare immediate and long-term action for achieving the desired state, stimulate interaction between different partners and monitor the impact of measures taken.

The implementation of the Design 2005! programme also entails monitoring and guidance from the central government, as well as individualized measures and cross-sectoral cooperation. The relevant ministries will look into ways of implementing the measures proposed in this programme within their competence and resources.

(22) The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Trade and Industry will represent the central government in the Design Round Table. Networking different operators in the design system, the Round Table will innovate and stimulate, evaluate the system and its performance, launch joint ventures between different partners and cooperate with different partners to produce information about the social, economic and cultural impact of design.

(23) The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Trade and Industry will set up a group to monitor the Design 2005! programme. The group will devise a detailed action programme, monitor the implementation of the programme and put forward proposals for further measures.