• EDWINA MCCANN: Leading the Australian Fashion Chamber.
    EDWINA MCCANN: Leading the Australian Fashion Chamber.

Championing design to kickstart Australia’s economy in a post-COVID-19 environment will be at the epicenter of the re-established Australian Design Council.

The Council, which includes Vogue Australia editor-in-chief Edwina McCann, will feature a national team of business and industry experts.

The Australian Design Council was initially established in 1958 as the Industrial Design Council of Australia (IDCA).

This was based on the UK Design Council model, established by Winston Churchill’s wartime government in 1944 to support Britain’s economic recovery.

Industrialist and chair of BHP, Essington Lewis served as the inaugural chair. 

60 years on, the Australian Design Council (ADC) has today announced it has been re-established with Australia’s top business thinkers to lead the nation towards national prosperity and long-term growth using design-led innovation.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison supported the move.

"Good design, created by smart people in smart industries, is essential to a country that wants to grow and be prosperous. The envisaged Australian Design Council (ADC) is about inspiring Australian businesses to embrace design as a tool for growth.”

“The impacts of COVID-19 have been profound: on our society and economy, on individuals and communities. The tragedy of COVID-19 has a human face, and our recovery is a human endeavour.

"That’s why the ADC’s journey to its current, refocused and re-energised form, is so exciting. It’s the kind of adaptability – building opportunity out of adversity – that will carry Australia into recovery.

“By asking how they can contribute, reignite, enable and create, the ADC is in a position to design solutions to problems – big and small, local and global.

"I encourage Australian business and industry to engage with the ADC. I think you’ll be surprised by what you come up with when you create an intersection between innovation, investment and productivity.”

The Australian Design Council will serve as a national organisation and have three roles:

1. Advocate to government and industry leaders about the role and value of design to help diversify Australia’s future economy.
2. Embed design into Australia’s nation-building agenda and policy settings.
3. Provide oversight to leverage Australia’s design capability into the nation’s future industry development.

Council Member, David Thodey AO believes the Australian Design Council will inspire Australian business leaders to engage Australia’s world class design community to innovate, disrupt and compete in global markets. Great design makes innovation come to life.

“The Council’s aim will be to help the nation move forward through greater collaboration to foster real innovation. Embedding great design in production and as a core problem-solving tool – both being important drivers for our economic growth and competitiveness,” he added.

The Australian Design Council consists of:

● Simonne Bailey, Global Head of Strategy and Managing Director of GFG Alliance’s property and funds management business, JAHAMA, owned by British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta;
● Dr Stephanie Fahey, former CEO of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade;
● Peter Freedman AM, Founder and Chairman of RØDE Microphones;
● Professor Roy Green, Emeritus Professor and Chair of the Innovation Council and former Dean of the UTS Business School, Chair of the Australian Government’s Innovative Regions Centre, CSIRO Manufacturing Sector Advisory Council, NSW Manufacturing Industries Advisory Council and Queensland Competition Authority, and current Chair of Port of Newcastle and the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Hub;
● Andrew N. Liveris AO, Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Dow Chemical Company;
● Catherine Livingstone AO, Chair of the Commonwealth Bank, Chancellor of UTS and former Chair of CSIRO;
● Edwina McCann, Vogue Australia editor-in-chief and Chair of The Australian Ballet Foundation Board;
● Giam Swiegers, Non-Executive Director for Aurecon and former CEO of Deloitte Australia;
● David Thodey AO, former CEO of Telstra and current Chair of CSIRO;

Australian Design Council Executive Chair Dr Sam Bucolo said design-led thinking had the power to transform an industry and accelerate the creation of new businesses whose products and services drive growth and sustained competitive advantage.

“After 60 years, we have decided to re-establish the Australian Design Council to address the challenges we are facing today. Design must play a major role in rebuilding our economy post-COVID-19 and the Council will shape how we create new and emerging areas for a strong competitive advantage through design.

Our global counterparts are already doing this and now is the right time for Australia to accelerate the adoption of design in business,” he said.

The Australian Design Council’s first step in raising awareness of the value of design to diversify Australia’s economy has been through the creation of its Design Manifesto - the Council’s action plan to help shape a brighter future for Australia through design.

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