Strategic Design Pilot Scheme

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Design4Growth is a programme that will help your business to identify its biggest strategic challenges and create new opportunities to overcome them by using design effectively. By identifying design opportunities to drive innovation and growth, your business will then commission (heavily subsidised) design projects with ongoing coaching support to ensure they are implemented successfully.

Why should I participate in this programme?

Similar international programmes show the business results:

  • Design increases turnover: For every €1 invested in design, businesses can expect over €20 in increased revenues
  • Design is linked to profit: For every €1 invested in design, businesses can expect over €4 increase in net operating profit
  • Design boosts exports: For every €1 invested in design, businesses can expect a return of over €5 in increased exports.

If I were to participate, what kind of things might we work on?

Possible business areas strengthened through design

  • Stronger and more compelling brands that stand out in the market
  • Accelerating new ideas to market
  • Creation of new products and services that have transformed existing markets or opened up new ones
  • Establishing improved or new processes for product and service development to more effectively support innovation activity
  • New ways of operating that engage staff and leverage their creativity.

Outline of the scheme

Design4Growth is a scheme to assist small businesses in using design strategy methods to aid their development. It involves providing subsidised design consultancy services to businesses which will:

  • Conduct reviews to analyse their objectives and resources and assess strengths and weaknesses of design in all aspects of the business.
  • Assist them in identifying opportunities for how design could improve business performance.
  • Assist the business owner in developing a brief for a project to further their objectives
  • Assist with commissioning the design services required to implement the project
  • The scheme will then provide funding to subsidise the design services required to implement the project.

Application process

As places will be limited, firms will be prioritised for bookings based on how they meet the criteria listed in 1.2 above.

Applications to attend the training workshop can be made by contacting Dublin City Local Enterprise Office:

Phone: 01 222 5611


Client profile

The scheme is aimed at businesses meeting the following criteria:

  • Location: Dublin city based businesses (Dublin City, DLR, Fingal, South Dublin)
  • Size: 3+ employees. Preference will be given to micro enterprises.
  • Stage of business: Trading for over 2 years

Programme for Client Businesses

Stage 1: Open call and introductory briefing Following an open call, businesses interested in participating in the scheme will attend a general briefing session to introduce the strategic use of design, illustrating examples of small businesses that have implemented such a design approach. The session should provide businesses with an understanding of potential use of design strategy in business development, with generalised advice (i.e. not specific to their own businesses). The aim is to get 50 businesses to participate. [Client Business fee €10]

Stage 2: Audits and advice for up to 15 businesses Following the briefing workshop, a design review service will be made available to a smaller number of participating clients who fall within the client profile listed above. This will involve a review of a client’s business by a Design Strategist utilising a template developed for the scheme through meeting clients at their premises, an analysis of the issues and challenges and a feedback consultation with recommendations on ways in which design strategy could assist with business development. [Client Business fee €100]

Stage 3: Design strategy service delivery for up to five businesses The Design Strategist will work with the client over a defined period to develop a brief for implementing the recommended approach and assist in commissioning the necessary design services for developing their business. The focus in the brief development will be on developing profits and exports and the potential for job creation. [Client Business fee €200 (Refundable at Stage 4)]

Stage 4: implementation of recommended actions At the implementation stage, vouchers for design services will be made available to the client for fulfilling the brief. The services may be commissioned from other specialist designers e.g. industrial designers, web designers, branding or identity designers. The Design Strategist will provide ongoing advice and assistance to the client during the design service. The value of the voucher will be €2,300 + €200 refund of the fee for Stage 3. [Client Business fee: 50% cost of implementation to match value of voucher (€2,500).]

Stage 5: Documentation, review and case studies Design Strategists will have documented the process, with an end review to measure performance against particular criteria (identified during the diagnostic work at Stage 2) to assist ongoing development. This information will be presented as Case Studies to inform the future development of the scheme.


The overall programme is anticipated to take place for businesses from January to May 2016.

Introductory Workshop for Client businesses: 26th January 2016.


The proposal aims to achieve outcomes across a range of areas; however the core focus is on achieving tangible, measurable benefits for the small business clients of the LEO. Small businesses will need to commission services in order to develop profits, jobs and exports. This scheme aims to provide them with a structured, quality controlled service which will:

  • Assist them in procuring the most effective design services for their business needs.
  • Find appropriate design services.
  • Help tailor the services effectively to advancing their objectives.
  • Provide subsidised services at implementation stage.
  • Provide a structured way of measuring ROI on their investments in design and a review process which will feed back information to assist small businesses in their future development.

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