This project was developed for the government of Uruguay, a country in South America with an economy dominated by the agriculture and livestock sectors. In order to improve the country’s economic development, the Uruguayan government began investing in the development of the competitiveness of key sectors that could boost its growth.

Demand: In this context, design was identified as a strategic activity, since it is transversal across all sectors and aligning it with key sectors immediately increases the competitiveness of the country as a whole. In 2005 the Conglomerado de Diseno (Design Cluster) and the Consejo de Diseno (Design council) were created.  Together with CDU (Chamber of Design) an organisation that was already established, they set about the development of public policies for design and promoting the design sector in Uruguay. In 2013 this group of institutions gained funding from the Ministry of Industry to appoint an external consultant to research and advise on these objectives.

Approach: DUCO’s proposal was a two part study researching and proposing public policies for design. The first part ‘Research’ consisted of several techniques to gain a broad and in-depth understanding of design in Uruguay.  One of the methods used was an extensive consultation with all design stakeholders in Uruguay e.g. government agencies, industry bodies, design associations, design schools, designers and businessmen. Another technique employed was the Design Diagnostics developed by DUCO. It is a nation wide survey of design practices by businesses and design consultants whereby companies are encouraged to participant in return for a design diagnostic of their company. This methodology includes 194 valuation metrics, analysis and comparisons with other countries. Another research technique employed was the International design scoreboard. With these techniques it was possible to make recommendations based on the data gained.

The second stage of forming the policy recommendations included a workshop with key-stakeholders. The workshop included several exercises designed to gauge the reaction of the stakeholders to examples of best practice from around the world and how they would fit into their context.

Delivery: In addition to the workshop, presentation and consultation, two reports were delivered, a preliminary report with the whole research, data collection and analysis, and a final report containing a set of 16 recommendations to boost the design sector in Uruguay with planning in the short, medium and long term.