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Developing an impactful design sector

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The Hidden Room venue was North House, Dublin Institute of Technology Grangegorman, Dublin 7. DIT is now consolidating its position in Dublin’s city centre, bringing its entire community of students and staff from sites across the city together in one central location at DIT Grangegorman.

The guest speaker was Laura Lee, the discussion was chaired by Bob Gray, and the DCC client was Greg Swift. A full list of participants is below.

The group explored the following issue:

Competing in a national and international market means that start-ups and SME’s in Ireland have to make their product or service stand out from the crowd. How can Local Enterprise Offices (LEO’s) raise awareness of the value and role that good design can play in setting them apart?



For many start-ups and SME’s, the value of good design is often only considered at the end of product or service development, once functionality concerns have been addressed. However the design of websites, packaging, branding, user-interaction etc can all play a critical role in the later success or failure of a company’s business.

The LEO’s are currently involved in scoping the functions of a new Design and Innovation Centre, proposed as part of the Cultural Quarter for Parnell Square. Its role will be to ‘support designers in the development of innovative design enterprises or projects, and assist businesses in using design for innovation, product and service development, branding and communication’. How could this centre promote and showcase the role that good design can play for start-ups and SME’s to develop their businesses? How can the LEO’s facilitate start-ups and SME’s to find the best designers for their budgets? What initiative could be piloted in 2015 that would address this issue and help scope the functions of a new Design and Innovation Centre?


Devise a 2015 pilot initiative that connects start-ups and SME’s to good design and can inform a programme for the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter Design and Innovation Centre.

Please see the group’s key slide plenary session presentation below.


Adrian O’Donoghue

Agata Stoinska

Aileen Dempsey

Anne Marie Butler

Bob Gray - Chair

Clare Dunne

Cllr Deirdre Heney

Diane Dear - Visualiser

Eibhlin Curley

Eoin Kernan

Georgia Connolly

Greg Swift - DCC Client

Jonathan Legge

Kieran Corcoran

Laura Lee - Guest Speaker

Liam Barry

Owen O’Doherty

Róisín de Buitléar

Steven McNamara


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