Creative designs to generate economic expansion

A cross-border initiative has increased the competitiveness of traditional manufacturing SMEs in the Austrian – Italian border region, while at the same time adopting high environmental and social standards.

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Activities in the colour laboratory and some prototypes and studies carried out. © Consorzio Innova FVG Activities in the colour laboratory and some prototypes and studies carried out. © Consorzio Innova FVG

" By enhancing aspects of eco-design the products obtain a significant value-added, aiming at improving their attractiveness, particularly for premium consumers. "

Günter Getzinger, Professor, Deputy Director of the Institute for Science, Technology and Society Studies (STS), Alpen-Adria-Universitaet Klagenfurt/Vienna/Graz

Industrial design represents, in all its aspects, an increasingly important competitive factor for companies facing the global market. The success of the product is determined by many factors from price to assistance, and from technical features to advertising. Design can also give to the final product a high added value under a functional point of view, as well as reducing production costs and thus improving competitiveness.

With the aim to unleash the creative and innovative potential of SMEs working in the knife, glass and woodwork sectors, the ‘Desire’ project has successfully helped those sectors in developing designer goods in line with current market expectations for the future.

Thanks to this initiative which has enabled them to exchange experiences and transfer technologies, participating SMEs have gained knowledge about the latest innovations of formal and creative design, new products, modelling and prototyping, as well as materials and surface treatments. Dynamic tools have been developed in order to optimise production costs and colour management, to plan programmes and to update products.

Design ethics

One of the main benefits gained through ‘Desire’ has been the opening up of new markets for the participating SMEs. A sound business strategy and integrated marketing communication strategy coupled with the creativeness of entrepreneurs and their willingness to cooperate and innovate has altogether helped make this a reality.

In addition to its commercial success, ‘Desire’ has voluntarily adopted social and environmental standards that are higher than those legally required. The business model therefore not only fits the opportunities offered by globalisation, but does so in a context of greater social, ethical and environmental compatibility.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Desire – The Design of the Future” is EUR 997 782, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 714 764 from the Operational Programme “INTERREG IV Italy-Austria” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date

02/11/2015