The Barcelona Design Centre, an organization that promotes design as a strategic element for innovation, discipline and quality of life, conducted a survey of design companies to analyze how European companies manage design in hopes to identify the obstacles to the use of design and find ways to increase its creative and innovative capacity. The study takes into account several factors: design planning, designating resources, management skills and know-how, the design management process and recognition of the benefits.
The pan-European study on the state of design management in European countries that is being carried out as part of the Design Management Europe (DME) project. The Design and Enterprise Observatory run by BCD, Barcelona Design Centre is playing an active part in the process of collecting data in Spain.
The survey results were as follows:
96% of companies offering design services are interested in taking part in international activities
45% of professionals and companies had already exported their design services
24% had taken part in joint international activities with other design service companies. Of these, 56% had received subsidies from an organization, whereas 44% had not.
The top-ranking activities were: participation in international events (trade fairs, exhibitions, conventions, meetings, etc.), international trade fair visits / attendance, joint ventures, visits by other countries to Catalonia (known as inverse missions) and, finally, joining export groups.
79% of respondents stated that the region they were most interested in was the EU15, followed by Asia Pacific (47%), then the 12 countries that joined the EU in the 2004 and 2007 enlargements (44%) and the Mediterranean and the Middle East (43%).
31% of respondents expressed an interest in the Mercosur/Andean Community region and 36% in the NAFTA-Caribbean region. Finally, Sub-Saharan Africa-South Africa was clearly the region of least preference (10%).
Country priorities tended to follow the same trend as region preferences. In the EU15, France led the ranking, with Italy and the United Kingdom in joint second place and Germany in third place. In the Asia-Pacific region, the priority countries were Japan and China. In the Mediterranean and Middle East, the United Arab Emirates led the ranking. The United States, located in the NAFTA-Caribbean region, should also be mentioned.
Regarding obstacles and/or shortcomings that these companies face in terms of their internationalization, the one that stood out from all others was the lack of grants and subsidies. This was followed, in order, by the lack of international trade training and the lack of qualified staff to guide the process of internationalization.