The reality of working with local SME’s, design agencies and an RDA in the light of the Lambert review
The Lambert report (2003) discusses at length the nature and future potential for Universities to undertake collaborative work with Small to Medium Sized companies as part of the Government drive to encourage innovation and new product development. This paper reviews the Improving Business by Design initiative commenced in 2003. Funded by the LeicesterShire Economic Partnership this initiative sought to identify key design projects for SME’s within the sub-region of Leicester and to utilise the relative neutrality of Universities in pairing these companies with appropriate design consultancies to undertake this work. The Lambert report hints at potential problems in such relationships. The significance of this paper is that it refers to tangible evidence of both the difficulties and opportunities for a university in engaging with SME’s, third stream funding agencies and consultancies. The paper provides recommendations as to how the difficulties can be addressed and how to gain from the benefits. This paper describes how a university can engage with industry in such a way so as to bring about significant financial and therefore employment benefit to a region. The approach outlined in the paper would appear to be unique, stemming from the ability of a university to provide intense project interventions. Success is founded on the university having significant and proven design expertise and the ability to actively identify projects with SME’s and produce clear and well defined project specifications against which consultancies can tender. A university can gain an intimate knowledge of these consultancies such that the most appropriate consultancy could be paired with an appropriate client SME. The university can therefore identify and manage/allocate funding and manage the projects through to completion. The research rigour inherent in the above approach has led to 13 successful projects out of 16.
Citation : Ford, P.B. and Marsden, M. (2005) The Reality of Working with Local SME’s, Design Agencies and an RDA in the Light of the Lambert Review. Crossing Design Boundaries: Proceedings of the 3rd Engineering and Product Design Education International Conference, September 15-16, 2005 Edinburgh, Scotland,pp.453-457.
ISBN : 0-415-39118-0
Research Group : Design and New Product Development
- School of Design