Recommended Open Design Policies for the European Union

From P2P Foundation
Jump to: navigation, search

* Proposal: Open Design, a recommendation for European designers and public policies. By Massimo Menichinelli


Full report at


Excerpt of the recommendations with running commentary of Massimo Menichinelli:

“With the co-design workshop and the final report, taking a broad-based view of design, the Leadership Board identified twenty-one policy recommendations, grouped according to six areas for strategic design action that can be summarised as follows:

1. European Design on the global stage

2. Design in Europe’s Innovation System

3. Design in Europe’s Enterprises

4. Design in Europe’s Public Sector

5. Design in Europe’s Research System

6. Design in Europe’s Education

Especifically, for us these are the most important recommendations, since they are more linked to the issues of intellectual property, Open Design, digital fabrication and FabLabs:

3. Work towards zero tolerance of infringement. This requires legislative revision, through the inclusion of a ‘Duty of Care’ for shared responsibilities on IPR protection across the digital value chain. Set up a specific EU Tribunal /Court for European IP cases and promote and increase the training of judges in national courts, in relation to the protection of Intellectual Property Rights in the physical world and online.

Ok, we could have expected something like this: it is what many designers and company want, since they believe it will stop piracy (I think that piracy, and more generally copying, is a very complex issue that won’t be completely addressed by creating a specific police against it). There is, however, a very important point even for Open Design: the intellectual property regime for Design is very fragmented (each country has its own laws even in Europe), not clear and widely understood by designers and companies, and very incomplete. Having a better structured and shared system for intellectual property protection is very important for having a common system for Open Design. If you think about GPL and Creative Commons licenses, they exploit copyright in order to license content and enable the sharing of it: they are not destroying copyright, they are extending it by using its same tools.

7. Include design within innovation and business incubators and their networks

This is a very clever recommendation, and it could even point (in the future) to bringing also digital fabrication and FabLabs inside innovation and business incubators (FabLabs are also actually a kind of incubator!).

8. Create guidelines, codes of practice, legal frameworks and experimental spaces to promote the use of Open Design.

This is the single, most important point of all the recommendations: Open Design is officially a recommendation for the design policies and for the designers and companies. In case it will be transformed into a policy and then a law, it will be easier to adopt it and develop Open Design projects. It is very important to note the complete overview of Open Design, involving guidelines, codes of practices and so on; here “experimental spaces” can be read as “FabLabs” as well!

16. Increase the use of design/designers in public sector innovation: [...] Through supporting designers’ greater involvement in ‘living labs’ where social innovation and public services are critical challenges.

This is important not only for the involvement of designers in the public sector (which is critical for redesigning current services and co-designing them with citizens), but also for their involvement in living labs (that, again, are somehow related to FabLabs since both are spaces where co-design processes happen or where they can be enabled in an easier way, and that could work together in the future: both are in fact spaces where product and services are co-developed with users!).

20. Raise the level of design literacy for all the citizens of Europe by fostering a culture of design learning for all at every level of the education system.

Again, this is very important not just for making people aware of what design is and how it could be better adopted by everybody, it will be important for Open Design as well, since the more people have knowledge about design, the easier it will be for them to participate in Open Design projects, and easier the design processes and the better the design outcomes will be. Everyone, then, will be really a designer, it is through education of design that we will achieve a true democratization of design, not just with fancy technologies!” (