East Asian countries emerging as new design "powerhouses"
East Asian countries such as Korea and Singapore are beginning to shift their economic emphasis away from low-cost production and into design, new research suggests.
The findings, which appear in a new Institute for Manufacturing report examining international design capabilities, could have significant implications for the UK, where high-value activities such as design are regarded as essential to future competitiveness.
The "International Design Scoreboard" has been produced by a consortium of UK universities led by the University of Cambridge and supported by the UK Design Council. It marks the first ever attempt to compare national design capabilities and was published on April 15th. The project has been funded by a research grant over £300,000 from the joint Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)/Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) research programme 'Designing for the 21st Century'.
A total of 12 countries are assessed based on a series of indicators, including numbers of design graduates, and the strength of the design consultancy sector.
The results suggest that western nations are under increasing threat from emerging East Asian "powerhouses" as they develop their design sectors, invest in national design promotion and produce skilled design graduates.