To gain competitive advantage an increasing proportion of companies incorporate design into the product development process; it has become a critical determinant of competitive success. Design expertise is either provided internally or externally. Thus, in common with management consultancy, independent firms are increasingly providing design expertise to clients. Over the last ten years the British and Norwegian governments have emphasised the contribution made by industrial design to national competitiveness. This takes two forms: the export of design services, and the added value that comes from the incorporation of design into products and services. This paper explores the role of design services in the production process and undertakes a preliminary analysis of the structure and geography of the design industry in the UK.
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