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Meet the Storyteller

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Committee of Supply 2019

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Joint Media Release by MCI and MTI

DesignSingapore Council to transfer to EDB under MTI to drive design innovation across industries and enable growth beyond Singapore

The DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) will be transferred from the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) to the Economic Development Board (EDB), a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), from 1 April 2019. The move seeks to harness design as a driver for innovation-led economic growth and a core competency for Singapore companies as they expand internationally. 

2 EDB will provide strategic oversight and support the integration of Dsg’s work with the industry and enterprise development priorities of EDB and Enterprise Singapore (ESG). Mr Mark Wee will continue to lead Dsg as its Executive Director.

3 Announcing the transfer at the Design Education Summit this morning, Minister for Communications and Information, Mr S Iswaran said, “Against the backdrop of rapid technological advancements and growing customer sophistication, design becomes increasingly important to drive business innovation and growth. Dsg has made significant progress over the years, notably in encouraging design adoption among our SMEs in the food, retail and infocomm services sectors, which has led to productivity growth and business improvements. The President*s Design Award has also raised awareness and promoted a design culture. In 2015, Singapore was designated the UNESCO City of Design. I am confident that Dsg will continue to succeed in its missions to help companies and organisations redesign their businesses and discover new opportunities.”  

4 Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Chan Chun Sing welcomed the move and said, “Our economic agencies have been partnering Dsg closely through the years to help businesses leverage design as a tool for value creation and remain globally competitive. This move is timely as design will become an increasingly crucial competitive advantage as our industries look to innovation to drive growth in the future economy.”

5 Dsg will continue to work closely with MTI and its agencies to drive design adoption by the industry through a better understanding of business needs and integrating design as a tool in businesses to improve competitiveness. Dsg has also been able to scale up the promotion of design adoption by aligning its strategies to the Professional Services Integrated Industry Transformation Map (ITM) and through partnerships with MTI, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the Ministry of Education (MOE) and their respective agencies. It has also been able to leverage brand efforts and the international footprint of EDB and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to strengthen the Singapore design brand and network globally to help local designers internationalise. As Chair of the Design 2025 Masterplan, Dr Beh Swan Gin, Chairman of EDB, has also been guiding the work of Dsg since 2015. 

6 The Dsg’s work includes expanding the role of design in businesses and government for strategy and transformation. To this end, the Dsg and the EDB launched the Innovation by Design programme last year. EDB and Dsg also partnered Time, Fortune and Wallpaper* to organise Brainstorm Design, the first global conference to explore the intersections between design, business and public policy. To develop a strong design talent pipeline, Dsg has also been working with the industry, institutes of higher learning and public agencies to develop the Design Industry Manpower Plan, which will seek to close manpower gaps and meet the changing needs of the design industry. 

7 “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. My team and I are excited to take this opportunity to do even more for the design industry and for Singapore,” said Mr Mark Wee, Executive Director, Dsg.

8 The National Design Centre, where Dsg resides, is a focal point for designers, collaborators and the industry to come together and co-create solutions. Dsg will continue to reside at the National Design Centre. The Centre will continue to be a space for the design community to deepen its existing relations and grow new ties.