Policies for design and policies for innovation: contrasting perspectives and remaining challenges

Michael Hobday, Anne Boddington, Andrew Grantham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Innovation policy makers and analysts have traditionally paid little attention to design policy. Design has either been absent or a poor ‘second cousin’ within the broader field of innovation policy which tends to privilege research and development (R&D). However, in many countries, improving the contribution of design to innovation, business performance and national economic growth is becoming a key policy aim of government. This paper examines design within the wider context of innovation policy and, in turn, examines policy making from a modern design perspective. Design policies tend to reflect first or second generation models of innovation, rather than systems or network based (‘fifth generation’ models). However, modern ‘design thinking’ can be used to help identify problems with the current paradigm of policy making in both design and innovation fields and to suggest alternative approaches which might be useful for both design and innovation policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-281
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

Bibliographical note

This work has been supported by investment from the University of Brighton’s “Research Challenge” initiative designed to stimulate new and emerging fields of research.


  • Design policy
  • Innovation policy
  • Design thinking


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