Companies which incorporate a design ethos into their business strategy can create a competitive advantage, yet only a small percentage of companies in Northern Ireland actually use design to connect new ideas with market opportunities, Professor Fabian Monds, Chairman, Invest Northern Ireland said today.
Professor Monds was speaking at the 10th Invest NI Design Development Programme final exhibition where he presented certificates of achievement to nine local companies which participated in the five month scheme.
“Innovation, research and development, and design have become increasingly important to business success and Invest NI recognises that these elements are vital to Northern Ireland’s economic wellbeing,” said Professor Monds. “Yet many companies don’t seem to understand the full extent of design’s potential and how it can be used as a strategic business tool.”
“The Design Development Programme demonstrates the widespread benefits of innovative design and helps local companies think more creatively in order to develop ideas and products. This programme has delivered significant successes with more than 100 local businesses having benefited from expert guidance provided by the Invest NI Design Group and design consultancies over the past five years.”
He added: “The variety of participants this year clearly demonstrates an increasing realisation that industry must fully exploit the design excellence that exists on our doorstep.”
The nine participating companies represented the food, textiles, manufacturing, engineering and cosmetic industries. Their months of work and strategic application of design were unveiled following a presentation of certificates at the Island Civic Centre in Lisburn.
Projects resulting from this year’s participants included: an engineering firm which developed an innovative joint system for diggers that can increase efficiency and capability; a skincare company which developed its brand identity and packaging; an export focused textiles firm which developed a new range of children’s clothing accessories and a water bottling firm which created a unique, high volume water storage and dispensing container for the domestic market.