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More and more, design is being recognised by regional innovation agencies and governments as a driver of user-centred innovation. It can not only enhance the innovation capability of SMEs but also be applied to improving the SME experience of the innovation programmes themselves. Design is a user-centred approach to problem-solving that can be applied to developing products, services, processes and strategies. Drawing on 15 years of experience, this presentation distils a number of key lessons from integrating design into regional innovation programmes and policies from across Europe. There will also be a specific case study on Design Vouchers in Scotland.

Anna Whicker is Associate Director of Research and Professor of Design and Policy at PDR – International Centre for Design and Research – at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She leads a multi-million portfolio of research, knowledge transfer and commercial projects on design in the public sector. Her professional passions focus on developing, implementing and evaluating government policies, services and programmes using design methods. She has supported various government departments around the world to integrate design into their ways of working. She is one of the European Commission’s expert reviewers on user-centred innovation.

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