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New online design and manufacturing forum goes live

03 December 2007

DesignTalks (, a new UK online community and discussion forum for UK design and manufacturing businesses, has gone live. Sponsored by leading CAD software vendor SolidWorks, but independently edited, hosted and managed, DesignTalks will encompass a range of resources and activities including live roundtable debates, independently written whitepapers and a dynamic online debating forum. The initial focus is on ways of measuring and maximising the return on design investment, and a whitepaper, Design and the bottom line, is available for immediate download to registered members.

DesignTalks was established in response to research carried out within the SolidWorks user base that suggested the need for practical advice and best practice guidance aimed at UK manufacturing organisations. “We are committed to helping our customers succeed through designing better products and we recognise that this is about more than just providing the right software tools,” explains Anne Busson, UK Marketing Manager for SolidWorks. “Of course we believe that our software is invaluable in boosting both creativity and productivity, but there are many other factors surrounding the deployment of design within business and manufacturing that need to be addressed at a more strategic level. We identified the need for an independent resource specifically aimed at manufacturing organisations that want to share their own experiences and learn from others, and we are happy to support the DesignTalks initiative.”

Although debate will be encouraged about all aspects of design in manufacturing, the initial focus for DesignTalks is on ways that businesses can evaluate and maximise the return on their investment in design. A panel representing a varied cross section of leading UK designers and manufacturers from both the consumer and business-to-business sectors was assembled last month at the Design Council’s London headquarters to debate exactly this issue. A transcript of the two-hour debate and Design and the bottom line: Measuring the value design brings to manufacturing business, a whitepaper summarising the issues raised, are available immediately for download for registered DesignTalks members.

“Return on design investment continues to be a hot topic throughout the private sector, particularly among smaller businesses,” says Dr Antonia Ward, Knowledge Manager at the Design Council and chair of the first DesignTalks roundtable debate. “We have just announced the findings of our own extensive research into the broader impact of design in business and it was refreshing to hear similar themes being discussed among manufacturing and design professionals. Anything that encourages businesses to think more carefully about the link between design and profitability must be a good thing.”

As well as whitepapers and transcripts from live debates, DesignTalks will also feature regularly updated topical articles and independent comment from the design and manufacturing industry, and a dynamic forum where designers and executives can debate hot issues among themselves.

DesignTalks membership is free. Members are entitled to download DesignTalks whitepapers and transcripts and to participate fully in forum debates.

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