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Design in Taiwan Report 2020

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“Design in Taiwan Report 2020” by TDRI Presents Insights on Strategy and Deployment of Taiwan’s Design Industry

“Design” continues to drive national innovation development, and change industries and lifestyle. From semiconductor, biotechnology, to cultural and creative industries, and even the industrial integration and deployment in advance in the face of the pandemic, Taiwan’s robust energy of design and innovation has shone and been widely recognized. According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2019 released by World Economic Forum (WEF) based in Switzerland, Taiwan’s ranking rose to number 12 in the world, and ranked atop Asia Pacific and fourth in the world in the area of innovation; referencing the World Design Rankings (WDR) released over the years by Italy’s Designboom, Taiwan leapt from 38th place in 2013 to eighth place in 2019, proving Taiwan’s rich innovative power.

“Design in Taiwan 2020” released by Taiwan Design Research Institute (TDRI) in late 2020 assessed the power of design in Taiwan through surveying and collecting data of the design service sector and in-house design departments in the past year, offering industries references for development strategy and deployment. According to the study, despite the relatively small scale of design firms, averaging 6.6 people, new design firms continue to thrive with the entrepreneurial trend in the design industry. Moreover, the younger age distribution gives the design industry energy and flexibility. To rapidly respond to market demands, designers have also developed diverse professional skills and capabilities; from product design, commercial design, to the recently emerged interface design and user experience design, as well as emphasis on design services, designer now have growingly diverse and comprehensive skill sets.

More recently, many design firms have helped industries and the public sector with the introduction of design and innovation through design research and design skills, such as the “TPE-HUN Shuttle Bus,” in which the public sector changed highway aesthetics and industry, and “Public Health Center Redesigned” that optimized procedures through service design, demonstrating the diverse services of Taiwan’s design industry and presenting the emerging blue ocean markets.

Furthermore, in-house design energy of enterprises is also an important driver that propels Taiwan’s innovative power. Taiwanese industries have always had the capacities of R&D, manufacturing, and supply chain management, and some sectors even play key roles in the global market. With rapid changes of technology and social environment, many enterprises have introduced design thinking and method, regarding design as the bridge between the two ends of technological R&D and market application; their understanding of design is no longer limited to product aesthetics, and their thinking has also gradually shifted from OCD/OED/manufacturing to “user-centric.” According to the study, in 2019, domestic enterprise design departments’ main tasks were “Product Design (80.4%)” and “Visual Design (70.6%); “Brand Marketing (57.8%)” and “Packaging Design (53.9%)” were also main tasks of many enterprise design departments. The enterprises have also engaged design talents in early-stage research and investigation, and therefore, the percentages of “UX Design (32.4%),” “Technical Development (31.4%),” and “Market Investigation and Research (26.5%),” have also grown significantly.

For example, the renowned design project, “MAC Ward Innovative Design” jointly executed by Miniwiz, a Taiwanese design firm, Fu Jen Catholic University Hospital, and Taiwan Design Research Institute, is a benchmark design case that introduces design thinking and service flow design to healthcare user scenario. Through design, enterprises aim to achieve goals like “creating product uniqueness,” “enhancing product/service quality,” and “enhancing corporate image,” as well as “creating optimal user experience.”

Design is life, the transition strategy of enterprises and the public sector, and an important national soft power of Taiwan. As “design” gradually becomes a prevalent trend in all sectors, the report also shows that over 80% of enterprises recognize the importance of design in the next three years. The government also strives to popularize the capability of design, hoping that enterprises and the public sector can maximize the value of design and achieve interdisciplinary innovation and breakthrough, offering high-quality and premium experiential services. In the future, Taiwan’s innovative design cases can be exported to other countries, generating more cooperative opportunities among international industries.

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