When Galician Agency of Innovation (GAIN )decided to participate in the Design4Innovation project in 2017, our objectives were quite modest, but we were very confident in the project idea. Our objectives were to achieve improvements in our Galician design activity supported by our experiences as a partner of this European project.
From the beginning, we assumed the importance of design as a factor of innovation in companies, but only thanks to the workshops and tasks undertaken during our participation in this project where we exchanged interesting experiences to support design with our partners, we were able to attract our stakeholders’ and policymakers’ attention.
It was during the third Design4Innovation Partnership Meeting, organized by GAIN in Santiago de Compostela, where we could notice that our policymakers began to show great interest in knowing more details about some of the proposals presented. In a special way, the Design Strategy of Latvia 2020 was a real matter of inspiration because we thought that it could be possible to introduce something similar in Galicia.
Among the activities of the Design4Innovation project, the selection of two design success stories in Galicia to attend the fourth Partnership meeting held in Malta, was the most appreciated task with a high impact and influence in our design ecosystem. The selection process was widely disseminated by the Galician press and raised great interest from the companies.
As a consequence of all mentioned before, our policymakers requested information to elaborate our 2020 Design for Innovation Program. Once again, the excellent documentation about some European Design Action Plans provided by the leading partner PDR was very useful.
In June 2018, the Galician Design Program for Innovation 2020 was officially launched and since then various actions have been developed that have served to reinforce the importance of design in Galicia. Carrying out events and training activities to increase skills and capabilities of our designers has resulted in many new collaborations with business. SMEs were also supported and encouraged to reach out for local design expertise.
In 2019 and with our Design4Innovation Action Plan implementation, a great collaboration was established with our stakeholders. Gradually all pieces of support came together in a coherent and holistic way (supporting both supply and demand for design through promotion, funding and networking) impacting in significant reinforcement of the Galician design ecosystem.
Finally, during this year 2021, a line of design aids called the DeseñaPeme Program, co-financed by Galicia ERDF 2014-2020 funds, has been launched. It is worth €1,500,000 and it is expected to provide support to 50 SMEs. The purpose of these grants is to improve companies' capacity for innovation and sustainability by promoting design management through the design of products, services, experiences, and brands and identities.
In four years, design has really become a recognized driver of innovation in Galicia thanks to learnings and inspirations from Design4Innovation project. We are happy to continue this path in light of new challenges, such as green transformation, digitalisation and care-led recovery, where design can also play a central role.