Title: The integration of industrial design capability within UK SMEs: the challenges, opportunities and benefits

Authors: Paul W. Wormald, Mark A. Evans

Addresses: Department of Design and Technology, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK. ' Department of Design and Technology, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK

Abstract: The paper presents a case to support the business of Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) through the building of partnerships between universities and companies which foster and support the introduction of industrial design processes in the SMEs. The basis of the partnership is the use of the UK government|s |Knowledge Transfer Partnership| (KTP) schemes to initiate and develop in-house industrial design capability in the SMEs. The paper presents two case studies that raise design management issues and underline the value of industrial design expertise for SMEs. It discusses the positive and negative issues centred on the introduction of graduate-level in-house industrial design expertise for product innovation in manufacturing-sector SMEs. The paper demonstrates that through the discipline of industrial design and the mechanism of a well-managed KTP programme, SMEs can improve their commercial performance and operate successfully in global markets.

Keywords: industrial design; knowledge transfer partnership; KTP; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; product innovation; product development; UK; United Kingdom; university-industry cooperation; industrial collaboration; design management; product design.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPD.2009.027469

International Journal of Product Development, 2009 Vol.9 No.4, pp.343 - 356

Published online: 26 Jul 2009 *

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