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DesignSingapore Council to come under EDB to help drive business innovation and growth abroad

IN a move to help local companies tap innovation in design and expand overseas, Singapore's national agency for design - the DesignSingapore Council - will be transferred from the Ministry of Communications and Information to the Economic Development Board (EDB) from April 1 next year.

Announcing the move on Thursday, Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran said design is increasingly important to drive business innovation and growth "against the backdrop of rapid technological advancements and growing customer sophistication".

In a speech at the Design Education Summit, he said the DesignSingapore Counci has notably encouraged small and medium-sized enterprises in the food, retail and info-comm services sectors to adopt design which has led to productivity growth and business improvements.

The President*s Design Award has also raised awareness and promoted a design culture, he said. In 2015, Singapore was designated the UNESCO City of Design.

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"I am confident that the DesignSingapore Council will continue to succeed in its missions to help companies and organisations redesign their businesses and discover new opportunities," said Mr Iswaran.

With the transfer, EDB will provide strategic oversight and support the integration of DesignSingapore Council’s work with the industry and enterprise development priorities of EDB and Enterprise Singapore (ESG). 

Mr Mark Wee, who will continue to lead the DesignSingapore Council as its executive director, said: "Our mandate to be a champion for the design industry will not change.

"As part of the EDB family, we will be able to tap its immense industry knowledge and extensive networks even more, to promote the adoption of design in companies. The transfer will also give us greater autonomy and flexibility to develop partnerships and explore new opportunities to make our programmes better."

The council's work includes expanding the role of design as a strategic and transformational tool for businesses and government. To develop a strong design talent pipeline, it has been working with the industry, institutes of higher learning and public agencies to develop the Design Industry Manpower Plan, which aims to close manpower gaps and meet the changing needs of the design industry.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said the move was timely "as design will become an increasingly crucial competitive advantage as our industries look to innovation to drive growth in the future economy.”