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Improving management of the design process in SMEs

The results of the European Design Innovation Tool (EDIT) project, supported under the EU's INNOVATION programme have recently been published by SOCINTEC, the Spanish innovation agency. EDIT was implemented in 16 SMEs in seven European countries during 1997, with the aim of im...
The results of the European Design Innovation Tool (EDIT) project, supported under the EU's INNOVATION programme have recently been published by SOCINTEC, the Spanish innovation agency. EDIT was implemented in 16 SMEs in seven European countries during 1997, with the aim of improving the design process in SMEs through practical applications. The report documents the results of the project - an improved management tool addressing products and design process in SMEs.

EDIT undertook to study existing company processes to understand the organisational capabilities and weaknesses related to design and innovation. This also enabled the rationalisation of the recent proliferation of design techniques and tools, and the complexity of the current design process, consisting of many inter-related functions and conditioned by external and internal factors.

This was accomplished using a reference model and an assessment and improvement system, which was oriented towards continuous improvement through actions and assessment. The publication describes the tool structure and the results obtained from the joint analysis of the 16 assignments performed in the project framework.

The project's conclusions show that the majority of problems within European SMEs are focused on certain specific areas closely related to the lack of innovation strategy, adequate product planning, realistic project planning or the lack of team work. The annexes briefly describe other assessment and improvement methodologies and include a bibliography for those interested in further reading.

Source: SOCINTEC, Spain

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