Designing Growth: A Design Conference


Because we can learn from others, we brought together people involved in public policy and strategic development across diverse areas at home and abroad to share their insights and practical experience.

There’s a lot of growing room in design for Dublin and Ireland. This is useful in a context where we need to activate our economy, deliver more cost effective public services and rethink how we govern the city.

Design is about more than aesthetics, it’s a strategic approach to solving problems and challenges. The process is human-centred, a form of practical creativity which is results focused. It is a useful educational tool in a rapidly changing world where we need to learn how to be adaptive and open. It can help us develop more responsive products, services and systems in both the public and private sector.

We’re natural born designers in Ireland so how do we promote and capitalize on this asset? Do we need to adopt a systematic approach which can connect the excellent work being done across different sectors and also, critically, focus on communicating the value of design to people’s day to day lives? Do we need a national policy, a promotional body or other approaches? We provided an opportunity to talk about a national vision for developing design as an asset.

Dr. Jane Suiter, School of Communications, DCU chaired the discussion which was held at the Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield. ‘Designing Growth’ was oversubscribed within two days of its announcement.

John Moran

John Moran is the Secretary General of the Department of Finance having previously been Head of Banking at the Department. He is responsible for economic, budgetary and fiscal, banking and financial service policy matters and oversight of Ireland’s investments in and support for covered banks. Prior to this, Mr Moran was head of wholesale bank supervision in the Central Bank of Ireland.  Mr Moran is a member of the Commission of the Central Bank of Ireland, a Board Member of the European Investment Bank, a member of the Advisory Board of the National Treasury Management Agency, Co-chair of the EFC Expert Group on Long Term Financing and he is also a member of the Activating Dublin Steering Group.  Mr Moran has also been CEO and Board Member for Zurich Bank, CEO of Zurich Capital Markets and worked at GE Capital, GPA, McCann FitzGerald and Sullivan & Cromwell.

Robin Edman

Robin Edman is the Chief Executive of SVID, Swedish Industrial Design Foundation since 2001. Presently, SVID is embarking on major programs in the health and wellness sector as well as destinations. Mr Edman holds an industrial design degree from Rhode Island School of Design and has worked in the design industry for over thirty years, initiating and running various design teams for AB Electrolux where he was made Vice President of Global Design in 1997. Throughout his career, Mr Edman has worked towards integrating a better understanding of the users and the importance of design. He has held numerous international jury appointments, board and advisory positions and was elected Vice President of BEDA (Bureau of European Design Associations) in March 2013.

Marco Steinberg

Marco Steinberg is founder of Snowcone & Haystack, a strategic design practice focused on helping governments and leaders innovate. Prior to that he was Director of Strategic Design at Sitra, a government fund to help develop the economic prosperity and future success of Finland, where he helped built the Fund’s capability to shape & deliver strategic improvements through design. His previous experience includes: Professor at the Harvard Design School (1999-2009); advising governments on SME & design funding strategies; and running his own design & architecture practice. Mr Steinberg holds a March with Distinction from Harvard University and has published extensively on design, innovation and public sector transformations.

Maureen Thurston

Maureen Thurston is Deloitte’s first Principal of Design Thinking. An industrial designer, educator, entrepreneur, lecturer, and author, Maureen joined Deloitte in 2012 to lead a unique initiative that deploys co-design as a catalyst for change – bridging the gap between creative capability, business strategy and innovation. She has over 30 years’ experience consulting in both public and private sectors.

Enrique Avogadro

Enrique Avogadro is Under Secretary for Creative Economy at Buenos Aires City Government. He is also in charge of the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Design Center, established in 2001. Buenos Aires was designated the first UNESCO City of Design in 2005. Enrique has a degree in International Relations, a Master degree in Public Policy & Administration and is currently finishing his second Master in Content Management. Enrique is a regular speaker at international conferences in the field of creative industries, cities and beyond, and has been member of the jury for several international design awards.


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