DESIGN FOR CREATIVE INNOVATION*

* Design pour une innovation créative

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Competitiveness Clusters Closely Linked with L’École de design

Competitiveness Clusters Closely Linked with L’École de design
VR4D project, in collaboration with Clarté and the Pôle EMC2

By putting its expertise into practice through fruitful business partnerships, L’École de design has now come to be recognized as an innovation manager by French competitiveness clusters

In France, competitiveness clusters were implemented in 2004 as a means to bring competitiveness back into local areas and to constitute local areas with a strong specific know-how and a worldwide scope. They aim to promote geographical closeness with a view to bringing companies and laboratories together around collaborative projects. To cope with the ongoing globalization process they favor the creation of strong-value-added collaborative projects, thus helping companies gaining more competitiveness. The regional authorities in Pays de la Loire and Brittany benefit from a wide range of clusters many of whom see in L’École de design an indispensable trigger for innovation.

Our institution is currently involved in six collaborative projects spanning a wide scope of fields from virtual reality to vegetal products or eating habits (i.e. the creation of a sectional kit to conduct sensory tasting sessions with kids (Dis-moi Goût project). In addition to our involvement in many projects we have also been solicited in many different ways in nearly all the competitiveness clusters implemented in Western France (pôles du Grand Ouest). Among those with whom we have woven the closets ties are EMC2, the Pôle enfant, Images et Réseaux, L’Automobile Haut de Gamme, Végépolys.

We joined these networks quite rapidly because our institution has always been seen as a relevant complementary player for companies willing to implement an efficient cross-fertilization. Indeed no original projects or solutions can be found without making use of creative skills. Besides design advocates a user-centered project-grounded method which can easily bring a useful input into high-tech-content projects thanks to its expertise in value of use, ergonomics and quality of service.

Creative skills, vision, usage - the three main functions conveyed by design -are taken into account right from the onset of the projects. Therefore our activities actually encompass both project management and project operation. To acquire such a position in a collaborative context one must develop new collaborative work methods that can also be applied to teaching or to business and industry.

Our being involved in so many competitiveness clusters is living proof that L’École de design has gained recognition as a true innovation manager by scientists and industrial players. However this posture is far from being exceptional, it could even be said to be blatantly obvious : the Silicon Valley, where design agencies have already been acting as creative partners for scientists and industrial players for while, perfectly illustrates this trend.