Next Government urged to put design at the heart-of decision-making

A cross-party group of leading parliamentarians is calling on the next government to put design at the heart of the UK’s political, economic and education systems to ensure “the opportunities of the future are fully realised”.

The call comes in new publication Thinking, Making, Testing: A Manifesto for design, which is being released by the All-Party Parliamentary Design & Innovation Group. It has been written by architect Lord Richard Rogers, Baroness Whitaker and MPs Carline Dinage and Barry Sheerman.

The report – released in advance of the 7 May General Election – makes the case for bringing design thinking into key main policy areas: industrial strategy, public services and government infrastructure, housing and the built environment and education.

Among the recommendations made are that the government should appoint a chief advisor for design and innovation; that “design thinking” should become an integral part of design teaching in the education system; and that design should be given the same consideration as sustainability – no longer a “nice to have” but instead a central pillar of government policy.

Other recommendations include that civil servants should be trained in basic service design methods and that there should be an improved understanding of design and innovation spend in the public sector.

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Government “must be braver in using design” | Design Week

Design Council chief executive John Mathers says that design can have “a major impact” in the delivery of public services and called on Government to take full advantage of this.

Mathers says: “Many of our Design Challenges have explored ways to solve difficult public service problems, and we’ve seen some great results. For example, our Reducing Violence and Aggression in A&E work saw threatening body language and aggressive behaviour fall by 50 per cent, while for every £1 spent on the design solutions, £3 was generated in benefits.

“However, innovating at the margins will only get us so far. To realise the full potential of design, it needs to be embedded at a strategic level, just as many leading businesses are doing. This requires a braver approach from the government.”

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How the compact disc lost its shine

Thirty years ago this month, Dire Straits released their fifth album, Brothers in Arms. En route to becoming one of the best-selling albums of all time, it revolutionised the music industry. For the first time, an album sold more on compact disc than on vinyl and passed the 1m mark. Three years after the first silver discs had appeared in record shops, Brothers in Arms was the symbolic milestone that marked the true beginning of the CD era

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World Cup sponsor logos redesigned to protest labor abuses in Qatar

Qatar has come under intense criticism in the lead-up to the 2022 World Cup, amid reports that new stadiums and luxury hotels are being constructed under labor conditions that amount to modern-day slavery. Nepalese workers, who comprise about 20 percent of Qatar’s migrant labor force, were dying at a rate of one every two days as of late last year, according to The Guardian, often due to extreme heat and poor safety standards. The country’s kafala labor system also ties migrant workers to their employers, who can confiscate passports and withhold pay as they see fit. Last week, The Guardian reported that many Nepalese workers were denied leave to attend funerals held after a massive earthquake struck their home country last month. The revelations have spurred some to pressure World Cup corporate sponsors to take a stronger stand. Coca-Cola, Visa, and Adidas have publicly expressed concern over the labor practices and have called for reform, though activists fear that mere statements may not do enough to raise broader awareness. To that end, some amateur designers have taken a far bolder tact, reworking the sponsors’ logos to more accurately reflect the human costs of the event they’re financing.

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Hashtag named UK children’s word of the year #important

#interesting? #greatnews? #aaaaaaaargh? Regardless of your opinion, there is no getting away from the ubiquity of hashtag – today named children’s word of the year. An annual analysis of Radio 2’s 500 Words short story competition reveals the huge increase in the creative use of the word among the under-13s, with hashtag moving from being a Twitter search term to a device for adding comment and emphasis in stories. Oxford University Press analysed 120,421 entries to the competition to unearth insights into the lives of British children and the ways they use English.

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London’s 10 best library cards

The library ticket, alongside the loyalty card three stamps shy of a free coffee, has become something that sits in the wallets of many but may never have been given a second thought. But some London boroughs have been cheering up their passes and the diversity of designs is suprising. Here are some of the most eye-catching

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When Stephen Fry met Jony Ive: the self-confessed fanboi meets Apple’s newly promoted chief design officer – Telegraph

Design, like food in Britain, used to be something you didn’t talk about. It was flash, faintly unmanly and frankly foreign. Yes, of course a fellow sometimes has to get out a ruler and a Rotring to make a technical drawing which might show how something functional and useful could look. But you don’t go about the place calling it design with a capital D. How pretentious. Emperor’s new clothes. Nonsense. All a bit Danish and weird. Nobody can afford to believe that any more. There was a time when you would hear that Apple’s success was the result of a herd mentality fuelled by chic early adopters, fools who were soon parted from their money. The only fool today would be someone who still believed that this explained the Apple phenomenon.

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The generation that tech forgot

The Speaking Exchange is a US initiative that connects retired people living in care homes with students learning English in Brazil, via Skype. A YouTube video of the service in action shows the older people clearly look forward to the chats, the Brazilian youngsters improve their English and both have developed strong bonds. The UK offers a similar service – Cloud Grannies – which puts retired people in touch with children in India. In the end, my mother decided to buy herself an iPad. For years, my suggestion that my mother should get a tablet has fallen on deaf ears. Then, her trusty old PC broke, a friend sang the praises of her own tablet, and the next thing I know, she is Facetiming me.

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