Design Skills and Innovation

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Design Skills and Innovation

The incorporation of design and design skills by governments in the process of innovation varies among the top ten innovation economies as ranked by the Global Innovation Index for 2020. In the report below, there are jurisdictions where there is a clear design element into innovation policy (Sweden), where it is subsumed under a broader knowledge transfer umbrella (Switzerland), and where no direct link was found between design and innovation in the country's innovation policy (Germany and Israel). As requested, Singapore was excluded from the research and replaced with Israel. Israel presents an interesting case for innovation as it is ranked very high in terms of the inputs and outputs for innovation, yet has been falling in the rankings, most recently three places from 2019 to 2020.

For each jurisdiction a brief overview of why the country received its ranking on the Global Innovation Index 2020 (GII 2020) is provided. This will also include how the country ranks in pillar six for knowledge and technology outputs (including indicators for knowledge creation impact and diffusion) and pillar seven for creative outputs (including indicators relative to intangible assets, creative goods and services, and online creativity). Together pillars six and seven comprise the Innovation Output Sub-Index. A list and definitions of the indicators under pillar six and seven are provided on page 207 of the GII 2020 report. Additional pillars comprising the ranking are related to the institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication, and business sophistication. Thereafter, information is presented on innovation institutions, the role of government relative to design and innovation, and where applicable, examples of projects where the worlds of innovation and design intersected.


GII 2020

  • Switzerland is ranked at number one on the GII 2020 rankings. Switzerland was also ranked at number one in 2019.
  • In terms of the knowledge and technology outputs in pillar six, Switzerland is also ranked at number one overall, first for knowledge creation, fifth for knowledge impact, and sixth for knowledge diffusion.
  • Regarding creative outputs in pillar seven, Switzerland is ranked second overall, and third for intangible assets, third for creative goods and services, and fifth for online creativity.

Innovation Agency — Innosuisse

  • Innosuisse is the Innovation Agency in Switzerland. Its mission is the promotion of "science-based innovation" in furtherance of the economy and society of Switzerland.
  • Projects are supported by Innosuisse only in instances where implementation and tapping into the market potential of the idea could not be accessed without funding.
  • Innosuisse is a "federal entity under public law," created under the Federal Act on the Swiss Innovation Promotion Agency, and the Federal Act on the Promotion of Research and Innovation.
  • Guiding decisions are made by the Innovation Council which is assisted with decision-making on which projects to fund by a pool of experts.
  • Key stakeholders for Innosuisse are the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, the Swiss National Science Foundation, and TAFTIE, the European association of innovation agencies. A list of individuals and organizations in which the Agency has a vested interest can be found in the vested interests section on this page.
  • The Swiss Design Association (SDA) describes itself as the "competence center for comprehensive knowledge transfer" for design in Switzerland. SDA member Jean-Philippe Hagman, was appointed as a design expert at Innosuisse on 22 October 2018.
  • Innosuisse funded the Collaborative Design of Prefabricated Facade Systems research project from the Institute of Integrative Design|Masterstudio, FHNW and ERNE AG Holzbau. The goal of the project is to improve the built environment through scale with manufacturing elements without limiting design freedom.

Innosuisse Projects

  • The NTN Innovation Booster program seeks to bring together participants from research, society, and business to form interdisciplinary teams to test new ideas around an innovation topic.
  • For 2021 to 2024 the innovation themes are additive manufacturing, blockchain nation Switzerland, energy lab, microtech, sport and physical activity, technology and special needs, applied circular sustainability, data booster, decarbonisation living labs, photonics, Swiss food ecosystem, user-centered health tech. The maximum funding for each idea is set at CHF $25,000.
  • Key personnel for the NTN project are project funding specialist, Rahel Herren, scientific officer, Jürgen Laubersheimer, and group head, Emile Dupont.

Government Role

  • As part of the transformation to a digital and smart government in Switzerland, the federal government has implemented projects with design elements to assist the process.
  • An early example of the application of design principles in the transfer to a digital and smart economy is the GEschäftsVERwaltung (GEVER) project which targeted the re-engineering of internal processes and management of the transition from paper-based to electronic operations. GEVER was based on "citizen-centered design, production, and delivery of online services."
  • The Digital Switzerland Strategy developed by the Federal Council has initiatives under nine thematic areas. These are education, research and innovation, infrastructure, security, environmental protection, natural resources and energy, political participation and e-government, the economy, data, digital content and artificial intelligence, social affairs, healthcare, and culture, and international commitment.
  • Innosuisse funded the CoDeFa project developed by SDA and which targets new methods of making data accessible for all users.

Sweden — Vinnova

GII 2020

  • Sweden placed second on both the GII 2020 and GII 2019.
  • It is also ranked at second place in the overall knowledge and technology outputs pillar, with a second place ranking in knowledge creation, 19th place ranking in knowledge impact, and fourth place ranking in knowledge diffusion.
  • In terms of the creative outputs' pillar, Sweden is ranked seventh overall, with granular rankings of eight for intangible assets, 21st for creative goods and services, and sixth for online creativity.

Innovation Agency

  • Vinnova is the governmental agency in Sweden charged with fostering stronger innovation systems and serves as the expert authority in innovation policy for the Swedish government. This is done from the building of innovation capacity that ultimately contributes to sustainable growth. The agency has over 200 employees and invest an estimated SEK 3 billion annually in research and innovation.
  • Vinnova is headquartered in Stockholm and has affiliate offices in Brussels, Silicon Valley, and Tel Aviv. The government agency is placed under the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation and is the contact authority in Sweden for the AEU framework programme for research and innovation.
  • Key Stakeholders for Vinnova are the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation, TAFTIE (The European Network of Innovation Agencies), Sevensk Form, SVID, The Swedish Arts Council, and ArkDes.

Government Role

  • Over the years the Swedish government has engaged in numerous projects that included or required the application of design and design skills. In 2010 Vinnova was commissioned, along with Innovation Bridge and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, to design and initiate a research and knowledge development project for cultural and creative industries. Also, in 2010, Vinnova was asked to report on its activities directed at supporting development and knowledge building in service innovations. Finally, in 2010 the agency was asked to provide proposals for work in cultural and creative industries based on the Working Life Development business area.
  • This work continued over the years with projects related to service design, a concept and idea catalog for social innovation, and many more. A list of assignments from the Government to Vinnova during the period 2011 to 2020 can be accessed at this link.

Design Project — Innovation in the Public Service

  • In 2015, Vinnova was commissioned by the government to develop and implement a project targeted at innovation in the public services supported with design-based methods.
  • Finalized in July 2015, the assignment revolved around an investigation of the possibilities inherent in the collection and dissemination of experiences related to design-based innovation processes in public service development.
  • Unfortunately, the project assignment details, and project report is in Swedish and the research team is unable to translate the documents to provide details on the project. The project assignment, in Swedish, can be accessed at this link, and the final report, also in Swedish, can be accessed at this link.

Design Programme — Innovations in Universal Design

  • On 11 November 2019, Vinnova opened applications for projects targeted at providing opportunities that create and proof solutions that enhance accessibility in cities, communities, operations, services, and environments. Applications were open for all legal entities and the maximum project grant was SEK 1.5 million. Applications were closed on 31 March 2020.
  • A total of 13 projects were funded under the programme with funding totals ranging from the maximum of SEK 1.5 million to SEK 373,228.
  • Projects addressed gender awareness and inclusive learning environments, an evolving approach to urban development through universal design, methods for co creation of universal design, among others. The full list of projects can be accessed at this link.

United States of America

  • The United States of America is ranked third in the 2020 Innovation Index, the same ranking it held in 2019.
  • For pillar six in knowledge and technology outputs, the USA is also ranked third, with rankings of third for knowledge creation and knowledge impact, and 16th for knowledge diffusion.
  • Regarding the creative outputs, the USA is ranked at 11th overall, with rankings of 15th for intangible assets, seventh for creative goods and services, and 18th for online creativity.

Innovation Agency(s)

  • There is no single government backed, owned, or affiliated innovation agency in the United States of America and there is "no national. coordinated innovation policy system." This is in keeping with a "belief" that innovation should be subject to market forces and the government's role is to support ""factor inputs""
  • A national innovation system has been defined as a set of institutions that individually, and together, contribute to the creation and distribution of new technologies, thus providing the framework within which governments develop and deploy policies that influence the process of innovation.
  • The elements of these economic, social and political institutions in the United States that contributed to its success as an innovation hub are listed below:
    • The behavior and structures of markets and firms (managerial talent, time horizon and risk appetite, and ICT adoption), financing systems (venture and risk capital, and firm finance), and social and cultural factors impacting business operations (the nature of customer demand, attitudes towards science and technology, risk taking and entrepreneurship, collaborative culture, and time horizon and willingness to invest in the future).
    • The trade, tax, and regulatory environment comprising industry structure and nature of competition, the regulatory system for entrepreneurship, the role and form of regulation, and transparency and the rule of law.
    • Tax, trade, and economic policy (macroeconomic environment, tax policy, trade policy, intellectual property protection, and commercial standard system)
    • The support provided for research in academia and in research labs and institutes, federal labs, university research, technology transfer systems, and support for research in business.
    • The systems of knowledge flows comprising innovation clusters, collaboration systems between academia, industry, and research institutes, acquisition of foreign technology and the export of native technology, and technology diffusion and adoption.
    • Education and training at the K-12 level, higher education, skills and technical training, and immigration policy all comprise the human capital element of contributors to innovation in the US.

Government Role

  • Federal design is under the purview of the National Endowment of the Arts.
  • Design projects that advance the field of design and which have a public benefit are supported under the federal program.
  • Design disciplines that are supported are architecture, communications and graphic design, fashion design, historic preservation, industrial and product design, interior design, landscape architecture, inclusive design, rural design, social impact design, and urban design.
  • Projects that are supported under the program can originate from constituencies encouraged by White House Executive Orders, that adds to society from a greater understanding of self and society, invites dialogues among diverse groups and which celebrates the creativity and cultural heritage of the US.
  • Grants are awarded on a cost share/matching basis in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.
  • The 2021 call for projects are targeted at projects that have a public benefit, advance and support the design filed, and which incorporate planning, research and training elements that supports the capacity of an organization in responding to current events.

Innovation and Design Program — Design Excellence Program

  • The Design Excellence Program is administered by the US General Services Administration(GSA), Office of Design and Construction. The Program was initiated in 1994 and manages engineers and architects that provide design services to federal clients requiring a new workspace. This Program is administered under design and construction at the GSA.
  • The selection process take place in two steps and private sector peers are enlisted to provide feedback to the engineer/architect on record. To date there have been over 1750 peer reviews of projects.
  • Projects under the Design Excellence Program have been awarded the National Design Award by the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (2003), the Keystone award from the American Architecture Foundation (2004), the Collaborative Achievement Award from the American Institute of Architects (2007), and the National Planning Landmark Award from the American Planning Association (2012).

Innovation and Design Program — Design for the Environment Programs

  • The Design for the Environment Program is part of the Safer Choice series of programs administered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Beginning in the early 1990's the program was envisioned as an initiative to assist companies with considering human health and environmental and economic effects of the use of chemicals and technologies, along with product performance when designing and manufacturing commercial products and processes.
  • Partnerships were developed with industry, non-governmental programs, academia, and other parties. Previous projects include life cycle assessments, workplace best practices, and comparative technology substitute assessments.
  • The Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative recognized leaders in environmental issues that made a commitment to the use of safer surfactants.
  • Under the program businesses producing or using surfactants, along with those who were involved in purchasing or distributing the products and not-for-profit organization encouraging the use of safer surfactants were eligible for recognition. The successful applicant was granted the use of a special logo in literature and were listed on the EPA SDSI website.
  • Champions recognized under the Program include BASF Corporation, Bissell Homecare Inc, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Solutex Inc, and the Sierra Club, among many others.

United Kingdom

GII 2020

  • The United Kingdom is ranked at fourth place in the GII 2020, moving up one place from its 2019 ranking of fifth place.
  • Ranking at ninth place overall in knowledge creation and technology outputs, the UK is also ranked at sixth, tenth, and 11th respectively for the knowledge creation, knowledge impact, and knowledge diffusion indicators.
  • The UK is ranked at fifth place for creative outputs, with granular rankings of ninth for intangible assets, and tenth for creative goods and services and online creativity.

Innovation Agency — UK Research and Innovation Agency

  • Innovation in the United Kingdom is managed by the UK Research and Innovation Agency (UKRI). Founded in April 2018, the UKRI has a combined budget of £6 billion, and brings together seven research councils, Innovate UK, and Research England.
  • This is an executive non-departmental public body that is sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Also supporting the UKRI are the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Medical Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council, and the Science and Technology Facilities Council.
  • Funding is provided to researchers, businesses, NHS bodies, charities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and universities. Key stakeholders include Coalition-S, the Design Council UK, and the Design Business Organization.
  • Among the projects the UKRI have funded are the development of a digital security by design software ecosystem, how standardized design can increase house building and meet government targets, and the design of cities after COVID-19.

Government Role

  • The UK Government has brought councils related to traditional conceptualizations of design such as the Arts and Humanities Research Council, together with councils operating in fields related to non-traditional elements of design such as the Natural Environment Research Council, and the Economic and Social Research Council.
  • Competitions available from the government associated with design and design skills are listed below.
    • Registered businesses in the UK can accessed up to £6 million in funding from a competition funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund for projects that illustrate the use and adopting of digital security by design technologies.
    • Registered organizations in the UK can access up to £25 million in funding from Innovate UK for projects that deliver commercially viable and game changing R&D innovations with the potential to significantly impact on the UK economy.

Innovation Project - An Action Plan for the Strategic Use of Design

  • The Manchester Metropolitan University, the Design Council, the Design Business Association, the NI Business and Innovation Center, the Office for the Design Economy, and Policy Connect are the participating organizations in the UKRI project to develop an action plan for the Strategic Use of Design in the UK.
  • Initiated in 2018, the Design Action Plan is an ongoing research project that targets the strategic use of design in the UK and has a funding value of £557,935.
  • The objectives of the Design Denmark project were to:
    • Increase awareness of the role of design in creating social and economic benefit.
    • Increase the understanding of design as a strategic tool driving innovation for suppliers, users, and beneficiaries.
    • To achieve economic benefit from improving the understanding of design as a driver for innovation.
    • To advocate for the application of design in the public sector.
    • To transform capacity with users of design in translating the strategic value of design to operational activities.
  • The outcomes of the project to develop an action plan for the strategic use of design in the UK can be accessed at this link.


GII 2020

  • The Netherlands is ranked at fifth place in the 2020 rankings, falling one place from its ranking of fourth overall in 2019.
  • In terms of knowledge and technology outputs, the Netherlands is ranked at eight overall, with rankings of eight, 24th, and fifth respectively for the knowledge creation, knowledge impact, and knowledge diffusion indicators.
  • Ranked at sixth overall for creative outputs, the Netherlands also ranks at 16th for intangible assets, 13th for creative goods and services, and second for online creativity.

Innovation Agency

  • The Netherlands Enterprise Agency provides support to entrepreneurs, knowledge institutes and organizations, and NGOs by strengthening positions, improving collaborations, and facilitating entrepreneurship, activities that work towards the national and international goals of the state.
  • Operating under the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, the Netherlands Innovation Network seeks to assist companies research institutes, and public authorities by facilitating international cooperation in the fields of innovation, technology, and science.
  • The Netherlands Innovation Network facilitates this process through the provision of information on global developments in innovation, technology, and science, making contact with potential collaboration partners abroad, organizing events to support collaboration, and by identifying funding mechanisms for cooperation.
  • Key stakeholders for the Netherlands Enterprise Agency are Invest in Holland, the NL Platform, and Business Netherlands.

Government Role

  • Designers are supported by the government of the Netherlands with subsidies from the Creative Industries Fund NL. Under this Fund projects related to architecture (interior, landscape, planning, and urban), design (comic books, illustrations, jewelry fashion, graphic design, and product design), and e-culture (where IT, science and creativity intersects).
  • The design grant scheme, a part of the Creative Industries Fund NL, has as its objectives the promotion of artistic quality, reflection and debate, and the stimulation of research and experimentation. The grant has a budget of € 1,700,000 for 2021.
  • Open to professional designers, agencies, cultural institutions, makers and observers, projects grants are awarded where there is a co-financing required, as well as a starting grant of up to a maximum of7,500, where co-financing is not required. Assessments are made in conjunction with the design grant scheme.

Innovation Project — Prosthetic X

  • The design grant scheme funded Isaac Monte with 7,500,as he explored the potential for technology to shape personal appearance, and influence health and well-being.
  • The project is named Prosthetic X, which refers to a technological organ with 10 prostheses serving as indicators of performance for the body or parts of the body. Nine are linked to the body and the tenth is an exo-organ that is linked to another person. The exo-organ provides data to on the status of the other nine.
  • Questions asked by this project address the role of wearables in health and the extent to which individuals are prepared to incorporate life-logging and human enhancement into their daily life.
  • Thus far, the project has yielded three artistic proof-of-concept prostheses. The second phase of the project involves a Prosthetic X platform and the showcasing of the project internationally and nationally, as an installation.


GII 2020

  • Denmark is ranked sixth on the GII 2020, falling two places from its 2019 ranking of seventh.
  • For knowledge and technology outputs, Denmark is ranked at 12th overall, with rankings of tenth, 18th, and 25th respectively for knowledge creation, knowledge impact, and knowledge diffusion,
  • Regarding creative outputs, Denmark ranks tenth overall, and 19th for intangible assets, 20th for creative goods and services, and fourth for online creativity.

Innovation Agency

  • The Danish Agency for Science, Technology, and Innovation is a public sector agency with the responsibility to promote the Danish collaboration in international research and innovation.
  • Councils and commissions of the Agency are the Danish Council for Research and Innovation Policy, the Independent Research Fund Denmark, the Danish Committee on Research Misconduct, and the National Committee on Research Misconduct.
  • Denmark's Innovation agenda to 2025 is enacted in four themes relating to new technological opportunities, green growth, better health, and people and society.
  • One of the key research needs under the new technological opportunities theme is research on interaction design and usability. This is seen as a key part of harnessing the potential resident in digitization. Topics in this research area include user engagement and the development and use of new digital media formats.
  • Key stakeholders of the agency are the Polar Secretariat, the Danish University Center, and the Horizon 2020 project of the EU.

Government Role

  • Aside from the agencies dedicated to Innovation in Denmark, the Danish government has supported projects with design content as part of its innovation policy since 2003, when it introduced radical reform of the design study programmes under the Ministry of Culture.
  • In 2005 the Born Creative initiative was launched to promote exports, together with supporting the development and execution of the INDEX award show. The Commission for Danish Design Promotion was appointed in 2005, and in May 2006 the Commission submitted 16 recommendations and proposals to support design as a growth factor in the corporate sector.
  • Design Denmark was a white paper on how design policy should be directed in Denmark published in April 2007. It contained nine initiatives to be implemented. The measures are listed below.

Innovation Project — Innovation Networks and the Lifestyle and Design Cluster

  • The government currently provides the services of the Innovation Networks for companies to access research and innovation trends within their field. They provide information on trends in innovation methods, product innovation, and new technology within the field of expertise. Operating at the national level, the Innovation Networks also act as a bridge connecting technological service providers, researchers, private companies, the public sector, and other partners for collaboration on research and innovation projects.
  • Innovation networks receiving grants include clusters in lifestyle and design, healthtech, materials, security, environmental technology, energy, Robo-cluster, bio- and life science, food, transport, ICT, business, production, construction, smart energy, knowledge-based experience economy, and digitization of sustainable cities and communities.
  • For the period 2019 to 2020, 17 Innovation Networks were approved for funding from a total allocation of DKK 190 million from the Danish Agency for Institutions and Educational Grants.
  • The Innovation Network Lifestyle and Design Cluster allows for collaboration between companies in the furniture/interior, fashion/textile and design clusters, along with knowledge centers.
  • This cluster is funded in the amount of DKK $14,000,000.00 and there are over 220 dialogue companies in the network. Projects have been completed in interior and furniture, textiles and design, the circular economy, entrepreneurship and talents, and digitization.
  • Invio, the innovation network for a knowledge-based economy is focused on the experience industries in Denmark. The premise of this cluster is that experiences and the experience economy is a cross cutting instrument for innovation. This cluster is funded in the amount of DKK 8,000,000.00
  • Focus is placed on the experience and service innovation and on experienced based business development. Industries within which Invio works are tourism, food, events and festivals, attractions and amusement parks, and experience technologies.

Innovation Project — The Index Project

  • The Index Project refers to a foundation launched in 2002, which was tasked with administering a design award that was used to increased brand awareness for brand Denmark as a progressive design nation.
  • The Index Project has a micro-VC fund that is used to invest in solutions and companies that are identified as investment potential companies during each Award cycle by the Fund Management Team.
  • One of the projects funded is Spot, an artificial intelligence (AI) bot that is used by employees in an organization to report on incidents of harassment, discrimination and bullying, health and safety issues, and general misconduct. Spot has a response rate of between 70 — 80% when compared to legacy HR tools.


GII 2020

  • Finland is ranked at seventh place overall on the GII 2020, falling one place from its ranking of sixth place in 2019.
  • Finland's overall knowledge and technology output ranking is sixth, while the granular rankings are ninth for knowledge creation, 25th for knowledge impact, and third for knowledge diffusion.
  • In terms of creative outputs Finland is ranked 16th overall, with granular rankings of 30th for intangible assets, 37th for creative goods and services, and eight for online creativity.

Innovation Agency

Government Role

  • Design is addressed by Business Finland under the consumer business portfolio in the key industries section of the company.
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises can access the innovation voucher to purchase design services. The voucher is a self-financing contribution and is valued at 1000 + VAT. After receipt of the self-financing contribution the applicant can submit an invoice for 4000 + VAT to Business Finland, provided the customer has reported on the project.
  • Previous measures undertaken by the government regarding design include Design 2005! initially launched in 1999, with a review taking place in 2011.
  • The current national design programme in Finland is aimed at the promotion of design as a component of an innovation policy that is user driven.
  • Strategic objectives set for 2020 are listed below.
    • An understanding of design is prevalent in society.
    • Competence in multidisciplinary design has strengthened country competitiveness.
    • Growth sectors deploy design element effectively.
    • Design is used as a tool in the promotion of well-being and efficiency in the public sector.

Innovation Programme Design Finland

  • Recognizing the value of design as an intangible asset impacting on a country's competitiveness, the Finnish government took steps to update the National Design Programme in 2012. The programme targeted 29 actions which can be accessed at this link.
  • In a 2017 report on the design sector in Finland turnover in the design sector amounted to €3.23 billion. This total was comprised of €657 million for digital design, €2.95 billion in design intensive manufacturing, €72.3 million for the creation of artworks, and €2.13 million for design service enterprises.
  • Employment in the design sector has declined since 2012 moving from 22,000 in 2012 to 19,420 in 2015. The Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment noted that 15% of designers were unemployed in 2015. Alternatively, the digital design sector employed 29,176 persons.
  • SME usage of design ranges from 30% in industry to 22% for commerce and services, and 15% for construction. Interestingly, in construction, 67% of SMEs indicate that they do not utilize design.
  • In terms of the impact on business, design has its greatest impact in terms of the development of new products and services (58%). Additional high impacts revolve around understanding clients' needs and wishes and designing for digital products. Design is perceived as having the least impact on developing physical products (14%), and reducing production costs (20%).


GII 2020

  • Germany is ranked at ninth overall on the GII 2020, the same ranking it held in 2019.
  • Ranking at tenth place in knowledge and technology outputs, Germany is also ranked at fifth place for knowledge creation, 15th for knowledge impact, and 17th for knowledge diffusion.
  • For creative outputs, Germany is ranked at ninth overall, and has rankings of seventh for intangible assets, 33rd for creative goods and services, and 11th for online creativity

Innovation Agency

  • Project Management Jülich (PtJ) is the public sector body with responsibility for servicing the entire innovation chain. The organization was founded in 1974 and has its headquarters at Jülich. In 2019, funding totaled €1.95 billion.
  • Key stakeholders of the PtJ are the Federal Ministries for Economic Affairs and Energy, National Contact Point for Digital and Industrial Technologies, and the German Design Council.
  • Focus topics include climate policies, fostering a culture of innovation, circular economies, digitalization, innovation for social change, and participation in research and innovation.

Government Role in Design

  • The Senate Department for Culture and Europe, Department of Culture has funding programs targeted at both traditional and non-traditional elements of design.
  • Finding programs include the Capital Cultural Fund, the Cross-disciplinary funding, the Co-financing fund, digitization of the cultural heritage, and workspaces funding.

Innovation Project - Innovative Digital Development

  • The program is built around two pillars. The first pillar addresses an awareness and affinity for digital use in cultural practices. Secondly, the funding program considers how digital development measures are implemented.
  • Projects approved for funding in 2021 can be accessed at this link.

The Republic of Korea

GII 2020

  • The Republic of Korea is ranked in tenth place on the GII 2020, an improvement of one place from its 2019 ranking of 11th place.
  • In knowledge and technology outputs, the country is ranked at 11th place overall with granular rankings of seventh for knowledge creation, 27th for knowledge impact, and 15th for knowledge diffusion.
  • In terms of creative outputs, the Republic of Korea is ranked at 14th overall, with rankings of second place for intangible assets, 19th for creative goods and services, and 37th for online creativity.

Innovation Agency

  • There does not appear to be a single innovation agency in the Republic of Korea. Korean Innovation Centers have been established in China, Europe, Washington D.C., and Silicon Valley in California. The National IT Industry Promotion Agency promotes ICT in the Republic of Korea.
  • KIPO is the intellectual property organization in the Republic of Korea. Commissioner Kim Yong-rae signaled the intent of the agency to "innovate intellectual policy" in service of the country's competitiveness internationally.

Government Role

  • The Design and Brand Policy Division which is housed within the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) was established with the purpose of establishing and implementing design promotion policies. It is unclear if this division still exists.

Innovation Projects

  • The research team was unable to source publicly available information regarding innovation projects targeting design for the Republic of Korea.
  • This paywalled paper on a comparative study of the role of design in China and South Korea published in February 2019 may provide relevant detail.


GII 2020

  • Israel is ranked 13th overall on the GII 2020, falling three places from its 2019 ranking of 10th.
  • Israel commands a ranking of fourth place in terms of knowledge and technology outputs, with granular rankings of 12th for knowledge creation, 17th for knowledge impact, and second for knowledge diffusion.
  • For creative outputs, Israel ranks at 26th overall, with rankings of 65th, 24th, and 13th respectively for intangible assets, creative goods and services, and online creativity.

Innovation Agency

  • Innovation in Israel is governed by the Israel Innovation Authority. The Authority is an independent publicly funded agency.
  • It was created to provide tools and a funding platform to address the needs of innovation ecosystems locally and internationally. Included under this umbrella are both mature companies and early-stage entrepreneurs, academia, global corporations operating in Israel, and research bodies.
  • The Authority services the business sector under six divisions. These are the startup, growth, technological, international, advanced manufacturing, and societal changes.

Government Role

  • In August 2018. The Israeli government ensured design protection for its citizens with the enactment of the Design Act.
  • The Act provides protection for a design for a period of five years, renewal available for two additional five year terms. In August 2018, a further two additional five-year periods were made available for the protection of designs, thereby allowing for a total of 25 years of protection.
  • Strategic objectives of the Authority include the supply of skilled human capital, increasing productivity from technological innovation in the business sector, and the promotion and positioning of Israel as an Impact Innovation Nation creating societal change from the deployment of technological solution, among others.

Innovation Projects

  • The research team was unable to source publicly available information regarding innovation projects targeting design or design skills in Israel.

Additional Useful Information

  • The top ten innovation clusters are Tokyo-Yokohama (1st), Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou (2nd), Seoul (3rd), Beijing (4th), San Jose-San Francisco, California, USA (5th), Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto (6th), Boston-Cambridge, MA (7th), New York City, NY (8th), Shanghai (9th), and Paris (10th).
  • The economies ranked highest for knowledge and technology outputs are in descending order, Switzerland, Sweden, United States of America, Israel, Ireland, Finland, China, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Germany.
  • Regarding creative outputs, the highest ranked economies in descending order are Hong Kong, China, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Malta, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland, Germany, and Denmark

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