User-driven innovation: value creation through design-enabled innovation

Specific Challenge

With competitiveness being increasingly based on intangibles and a mix of products and services that respond to users' needs, applying design thinking, tools and methods can improve performance and efficiency in the commercial and public sector. Design-enabled innovation can be considered as a prominent example of "user-driven" innovation, where user involvement in the process is central, as in many cases innovation can better succeed through co-creation. User-centred design thinking and the application of design tools and methods, when applied to services, systems and organisations, enable structured service and business-model innovation, organisational innovation as well as other intangible forms of innovation. The focus is on applying design tools and methods, since this offers a systematic approach to conceive user-driven innovations.

The specific challenge to be addressed by this topic is that many public sector organisations and businesses, especially SMEs, miss out on the potential to utilise design as a source for improving efficiency and stimulating growth.


The consortium should plan and run a European pilot including selecting and allocating funding primarily to the concept development phase of the selected projects. Aspects of inclusiveness and social objectives of addressing inequalities in citizens' access to the innovations should be taken into account. The pilot should build on national and European level actions on design, incorporating a robust selection process to ensure that projects selected are likely to be further developed and implemented beyond the concept phase. The emphasis should be on practical experimentation, piloting and demonstrating activities as well as concept testing and incubating to improve organisations' processes, services, products or business models in the private, public or third sectors. Drawing on the experience of the funded projects, the pilot will a) gather data and metrics concerning the impact of design-related policies and programmes in terms of user benefit and business impact, b) develop a transferable methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of design in the innovation process, c) develop a methodology on how actors in different sectors can better connect with design-enabled innovation to increase efficiency and competitiveness in their respective sectors as well as a common impact evaluation methodology and respective indicators, to be applied across sectors and scalable to organisational, regional, national and European level. The activities could also involve showcasing success stories and disseminating the accumulated knowledge, particularly illustrating the applicability and potential of design-enabled innovation for all sectors, be they public or private or commercial or non-commercial activities.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the order of EUR 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. This does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

  • Robust and commonly accepted guidance on embedding design in value-creating networks and identification of barriers and enablers;
  • Creation of data, data sets and metrics to evaluate impact regardless of sector;
  • The methodology developed and the analysis will contribute to incorporating diverse user perspectives into design policies and practices and for their further development and implementation. The results, e.g. the impact evaluation methodology, should be applicable and give clear guidance particularly to SMEs and public administrations;
  • Development of new approaches and solutions which translate into new products, services and processes increasing public sector effectiveness and private sector competitiveness, and sustaining innovation capabilities and processes;
  • Producing assessment and simulation tools to verify results in the increase of efficiency and/or effectiveness through the use of design;
  • Mainstreaming design, making it an integral part of value creation and a self-sustaining element of innovation processes;
  • Integration of design and user-driven innovation into innovation policies and support mechanisms, including funding programmes.
Date de candidature
Sciences sociales