Trust me, I'm a Designer: How Design Research Can Influence Businesses, Governments and Policy Makers?

Governments increasingly recognise the need to move their economies from low-value, commodity products and services towards differentiated, added-value production. In turn, businesses understand that competing principally on price is a losing game. More and more business leaders and policy makers also see design as a strategic business process that helps to identify and meet real user needs.

But the challenge is to translate this generalised understanding into real activity and bottom-line impact. Research shows that lack of significant experience of design amongst decision-makers is a major barrier to vital design investment. Harry Rich will talk about the role of design research in supporting design investment decisions and in demonstrating the impact of design in transforming companies and creating economic value. On the other hand, he will challenge the demands for calculations of return-on-design-investment that go way beyond those required of other business advisors and consultants.


Harry Rich is Deputy Chief Executive of the Design Council. He leads on services to support the understanding and use of design to drive economic growth; program development; policy and government relations; and design knowledge, methods and research.

Harry has pioneered the Design Councilís world-leading evidence base demonstrating the economic impact of design and its application to business transformation, including the creation of the UK-wide Designing Demand business program. He has been a keynote speaker at business and design conferences around the world, including the USA, Canada, China, Russia, Hong Kong, Sydney and Europe.

Harry serves on the Press Complaint Commission's Charter Compliance Panel and the advisory board of the US-based Design Management Institute. He joined the Design Council as a director in 1999 after a business career in industrial distribution, retailing and publishing. He was a non-executive director of the Advertising Standards Authority, a Justice of the Peace and has practised as a commercial lawyer.

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