Unlocking the creative potential of 21st century


  • Design
  • Creativity

The importance of design to the UK economy has reached a tipping point in recent years. As the data around the impact of design is more accurately measured and reported, including gross value added, productivity and exports, both the practice and theory of design have been elevated to new levels of importance. But there are still barriers to the wider uptake of design within industry.

Today the RSA publishes a new paper exploring the role of design in unlocking the creative potential of 21st century industry. This paper seeks to better understand the challenges and opportunities presented by design, explore new design applications and create a clearer vision for what a successful design-led future would look like. It covers the current use of design by industry, and the effect that it has on industry performance and the broader economy. It looks at opportunities for greater application of design, particularly those arising from shifts in the economy entailed by the so-called fourth industrial revolution, as well as what conditions best enable design to flourish and how they can be fostered.

Together with Innovate UK, we aim here to build on previous studies that have explored the role and value of design in industry, and stimulate an open debate about how best to facilitate the broader adoption of design in industry. We aim to understand what practical interventions can be put in place, as well as how multi-stakeholder networks can be galvanised to elevate the importance of design to UK industry.

Download the report: Unlocking the Creative Potential of the 21st Century (PDF, 0.57 MB)

Read the report online (on Medium)

This report was published in partnership with Innovate UK


Picture of Sevra Davis
Former Director of Design

Picture of Josie Warden
Head of Regenerative Design

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