Wallonia creativity vouchersEncouraging collaboration between small businesses and the creative industries
Wallonia creativity vouchers
- European Commission and Walloon Government
- 6 months
- Delivered by
- SPW-DGO6, Wallonie Design, St’Art, Agence du Numérique and ID Campus
In January 2013 Wallonia region of Belgium was named by the EC as key European creative district, a recognition of the success of the regional government’s Creative Wallonia programme.
Designating Wallonia as a creative district aimed to highlight the role that the creative industries can play in bringing about innovation and thereby transforming of a traditionally industrial region like Wallonia.
The Wallonia European Creative District programme was organised into four themes, one of these themes, Better Business Support, included a pilot scheme providing ‘Creativity vouchers’ to SMEs. These vouchers provided businesses across a range of sectors with €6,000 to buy services from the creative industry.
How design helped
The scheme aimed to foster new collaborations between the Wallonia’s creative industries and its SMEs. The vouchers were intended to provide businesses with the means to take on a new creative project that would result in a long-term increase in profitability.
Creativity Vouchers are a concrete way to foster cross-innovation by encouraging collaborations that would not have happened without this support.
The pilot was organised into two rounds, with open calls for proposals held in September 2014 and February 2015, and a total of 10 €6,000 vouchers awarded.
Applications were made online and were judged against four selection criteria:
1. The added value brought by creative element of the project. The creative contribution needed to represent innovation rather than just aesthetics.
2. The diversity and quality of the creative collaboration. This judgement was based on track record of the participants and the nature of their proposal.
3. The likely impact of the project, for customers as well as participants.
4. Feasibility, projects need to be implemented within around 6 months of the award being made.
By awarding these 10 vouchers Wallonia European Creative District and Wallonie Design wanted to raise awareness of the economic potential that collaborations between traditional businesses and the creative industries could offer.
Here is a selection of five projects funded by the creativity vouchers representing the diversity of the collaborations:
Mahusaca & Global Design
Medical innovation specialists Mahusaca developed the Droper, a unique portable IV drip system for emergency services and rescuers that requires no external power, stand or physical manipulation to work. Working with Global Design they created an ergonomic carry case, allowing the rescuer to lift and transport the patient whilst the device is in use, a further attachment also allow the Droper to be mounted to wheelchair or ambulance.
Carrément Bon & Waoow
Chocolatiers Carrément Bon worked with design agency Waoow to develop and package a new product line. The resulting chocolate alphabet and greeting cards were successfully launched with proceeds going to adult literacy non-profit Lire et Ecrire.
Geolix & iol Strategic Design
Geolix sells geolocation products and that help users keep track of objects and vulnerable individuals. Working with strategic design agency iol their goal was to improve the mobile geolocation tag which users carry with them. iol were able to create case designs for the tracking sensors that were innovative, robust and in tune with the Geolix brand.
Mathy by Bols & Romy Design Studio
Mathy by Bols is a manufacturer of wooden furniture. In collaboration with the designer Romy Di Donato, their goal was to create furniture for the needs of 21st century children. Ecologically-sound, functional, but full of unique quirky details, the new pieces were designed to both delight users and allow for efficient manufacture.
Using ecologically-sound design just makes sense, it makes our business more much efficient.
Contes de Fèves & With In
Contes de Fèves is a chocolate factory, workshop and store, on board a truck. Their project with designers With In involved the conceptualisation and build of a new modular pop-up shop that would be easy and quick to set up and transport.