Design: A State Affair
Together with the cities of Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen and Lahti, Helsinki is the World Design Capital 2012. The Finnish state is strongly involved in this project. The Ministry of Employment and the Economy, as well as the Ministry of Education and Culture, are providing joint financial support amounting to five million euros.
In addition, the ministries, Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and Tekes will carry out projects of their own under the umbrella of the Design Capital.
Design means innovation and cultural policy to the state sector. The nature of innovation activity is changing: alongside technology, end user needs have become a key inspiration for innovation. Studies have shown that design investments improve a company's competitiveness. Good design is an intangible asset: the better the design, the better the product or service. Design is a means of differentiation on the market.
"Design helps enterprises and the public sector to take better account of user needs. Design should therefore be utilised much more broadly, particularly by the SME sector", Minister of Economic Affairs Jyri Häkämies commented at the project presentation held by the ministries, Tekes and Sitra in Helsinki, on 14 December 2011.
He adds: "We also strive to improve public services. Service design can help us to heighten the satisfaction of users and to decrease costs. Later, the results of this work will become visible in the services of TE Offices, among others."
Design also means culture and is a broad field. It is industrial art – that is, both art and industry – and a sector of art supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture, mainly through National Lottery funds. The aim of cultural policy is to make culture broadly available to everyone, with a low threshold. As many people as possible should participate in culture. Design may also help to improve the everyday lives of average citizens.
"I am convinced that the Design Capital year will increase the utilisation of design and improve the employment rate and livelihood of artists and other creative professionals", said Jarmo Lindén, State Secretary at the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The project is also gathering information and experience for a new national design programme. Prepared during the course of next year by the MEE in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Culture, this programme will be published at the end of the Design Capital year 2012. It will be developed with an open approach and formed with the help of e.g. social media and workshops.
The state's Design Capital year projects have been prepared by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Environment, as well as Tekes and Sitra.
information, please contact:
Minister of Economic Affairs Jyri Häkämies, tel. +358 10 606 3500
State Secretary Jarmo Lindén, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 40 517 3374
Director Pekka Timonen, World Design Capital, tel. +358 50 337 4386
Petri Lehto, Industrial Counsellor, MEE, tel. +358 50 387 8068
Liisa-Maria Hakala-Zilliacus, Counsellor for Culture Affairs, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel . +358 50 502 0841