One of the biggest paradoxes of the French economy is that although the country has some of most advanced technology it is increasingly less competitive in consumer markets.
Whose fault is it? According to a memorandum by Design Representative Alain Cadix for Production Improvement Minister, Arnaud Montebourg, and Culture and Communication Minister, Aurélie Filippetti, French industrialists, and particularly small businesses lack a “usage culture”. In other words, innovation is too often presented in a cold and technical form, which is unable to be both appealing and functional.
Yet, there is already someone who can bring this added value. The designer. Unfortunately, they are too often considered to be an elitist and overly expensive decorator.
How can we change perceptions? In addition to encouraging a design culture in school and at university, the memorandum suggests encouraging entrepreneurs by offering tax credit to small businesses for these kinds of expenses, which could also be integrated with the innovation funding provided by Bpifrance.
Can design escape from its elitist image? Although Steve Jobs made it one of his key sales arguments, French industrialists still struggle to integrate design. A problem often shared by public decision-makers.
Will this memorandum provide a much needed boost to what could become a fruitful collaboration?