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Expert Group for Future Skills Needs publish “Winning by Design”

The Expert Group for Future Skills Needs, publishes ‘Winning by Design’, a new study on the design skills requirements for firms to be innovative and competitive in global markets. The objective of the study is to establish exactly what is meant by design and the extent to which it is pervasive in our society and economy.
The report recognises design as a key component of Ireland’s innovation ecosystem. It presents evidence that design can add value to enterprise. The report demonstrates that design has a crucial role to play in the broader concept of innovation and can act as a bridge between technological, service, user-centred and social innovation because at its core design is a human centred process.
This report puts forward a number of recommendations to enhance and develop design in Ireland in the areas of design education provision, design training for businesses and designer upskilling and funding of design. The transdisciplinary nature of design has made design’s skills impact difficult to measure. The first recommendation of this report calls for a review of enterprise demand and the provision of higher and further education design courses across all education institutions to provide a deeper understanding in this area. The EGFSN will be undertaking this quantitative design study as part of its 2018 work programme.
Chairperson of the Expert Group for Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), Tony Donohue said ‘Design has long been associated with aesthetics and what is pleasing to the eye but it is much more than that. Today design thinking informs the strategies of major organisations and is being used to create innovative services, to address social issues and even to shape better public services and policy-making. ‘Winning by Design’ has begun to look at the specific design skills necessary across the economy to meet the future needs of enterprise in the traditional non-design sectors.’
With the digital explosion of the 21st century design has moved hand in hand with technological advancement. New digital technologies are giving rise to new forms of products and services which in turn are putting new pressures on businesses and society. This is requiring the design of solutions to increasingly complex problems which are often global and diverse in nature. Design thinking is transforming the strategies of major organisations by combining processes, skills, cognitive steps and attitudes to infuse innovation in business.
As the definition of design has broadened so too has the design skillsets required by industry. Traditionally design roles have been associated with problem solving and creative ability. However nowadays firms have a clear and strategic requirement to recruit and train designers who possess wider skillsets, including but not limited to, multi-disciplinary learning, empathy, creativity, technical ability, business acumen and strategic thinking. The emerging hybrids of design mean that job roles no longer fall into neat categorisation. Designers are now being asked to work in ways which transcend disciplines as the lines between the disciplines are becoming increasingly blurred.

Editors notes
Winning by Design

About the EGFSN
The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) advises the Irish Government on current and future skills needs of the economy and on other labour market issues that impact on Ireland’s enterprise and employment growth. It has a central role in ensuring that labour market needs for skilled workers are anticipated and met. Established in 1997, the EGFSN reports to the National Skills Council.
The Strategic Policy Division within the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in conjunction with the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit, SOLAS, provides the EGFSN with research and analysis support.