In July 2017, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) established the Study Group on the Relation between Industrial Competitiveness and Designs.
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The Japan Patent Office “Declaration of Design Management” Compiled Report by the Study Group on the Relation between Industrial Competitiveness and Designs Released

In July 2017, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) established the Study Group on the Relation between Industrial Competitiveness and Designs. Since then, the study group has been holding discussions to streamline challenges in enhancing the competitiveness of Japanese companies through design and to consider measures to address such challenges. The JPO hereby announces that the study group has compiled the discussion results into a report titled “Declaration of Design Management.”

1. Background

As the commoditization of products dramatically advances, companies are an era in which they are not adequately enabled to provide differentiated products that overwhelm those of competitors based only on functions or quality. Indeed, the release of advanced Japanese products with outstanding functions are often followed by those from companies in emerging countries immediately afterwards. This causes a decline in the prices of such products. In this situation, Japanese companies are facing difficulties in securing a competitive advantage.

Some Western enterprises, such as Apple Inc. in the United States and Dyson Limited in the United Kingdom, set clear corporate philosophies and, bolstered by these philosophies, express their unique advantages, technologies and concepts through designs as a representation of their brands and identities. These strategies contribute to enhancing the value of their products and to further expanding their markets at the global level.

Meanwhile, some reports say that Japanese companies, even at management level, tend to have less confidence in their designs or are less aware of the importance of design. Against this backdrop, there are some concerns over the further decline of Japanese companies’ competitiveness in global markets with the advent of product commoditization.

In light of this situation, in July 2017, the JPO established a Study Group on the Relation between Industrial Competitiveness and Designs (chair: Dr. Yuichi Washida, Professor, Graduate School of Commerce and Management, Hitotsubashi University) consisting of prominent designers, executive management responsible for designs, personnel responsible for intellectual property, management consultants and academic experts, aiming to streamline challenges in enhancing the competitiveness of Japanese companies through designs and hold discussions on measures to address such challenges. Since then, the study group has been holding discussions for these purposes.

2. Key points of the report

As an outcome of its 11 meetings bearing in mind the background above, the study group streamlined challenges in enhancing the competitiveness of Japanese companies through design and measures to address such challenges and compiled the discussion results into a report. Key points of the report are as follows:

  1. Roles that design management should play
  2. Design that connects invention to innovation
  3. Transition of industries and designs
  4. Era in which networks and data overwhelm all things
  5. Investment effects derived from designs
  6. Definition of design management
  7. Implementation of design management
  8. Policy recommendations

The study group also prepared an annex to the main text titled “Ideal States of Future Design System Contributing to Enhancing Industrial Competitiveness” and compiled a supplement titled “Case Examples of Leading Companies Making Use of Design Management and Designs.”

3. Future directions

Based on the discussion results of the study group, the JPO will further exchange views with experts and industrial players taking a variety of opportunities, such as meetings of the Industrial Structure Council, and endeavor to discuss related issues toward the formulation of concrete policies.

Appendix

Release date

May 23, 2018

Division in Charge

  • Design Division, Patent and Design Examination Department (Physics, Optics, Social Infrastructure and Design), JPO
  • Cool Japan Policy Division, Commerce and Service Industry Policy Group, METI
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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