4. Networking, Marketing and Export and National Policy
Two major national policy reports were published since the inception of the London Design Festival. The Cox Review was published in 2005 and the Work Foundation published a major creative industry review in 2007. Both of these national policy documents contain important creative industry policy objectives that could be translated into local action by a creative enterprise seeking financial independence and continued growth.
In recommendations that seem specifically written for an organization like the London Design Festival the Cox Review calls for the establishment of a national network of ‘creativity and innovation’ centres with a focus on design. The London design centre, states the report, would have the functions of bringing together relevant trade and professional bodies to enhance contacts and promote the UK’s capabilities internationally.
The report further suggests the London design centre could be established by the “London Development Agency, the London Regional Authority or a commercial body, or a combination of these bodies.” The London centre would be “both a resource and a showcase for creative talent.” It would provide, among other things, exhibition services, a hub for creativity industry gatherings, space for professional and trade bodies, retail facilities and incubator space for early stage creative businesses.
Like most policy papers the Cox Review offers only recommendations. It is up to local actors to take up the challenges from the recommendations and forge the necessary relationships to move policy from objectives to plans and into reality. With the strength, knowledge and necessary relationships from guiding the London Design Festival from an idea to its recent fifth year of success there seems no better agency placed to take up the policy challenge put forward in the Cox Review of creating a London design centre than the London Design Festival.
The London Design Festival team should explore the possibility of establishing the UK’s first international ‘creativity and innovation’ centre.