A roundup of industry expertise, exclusive resources, business support and tools for your design business.
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The DBA’s Board of Directors is fundamental to the work we do. Our Directors possess diverse experience of bringing design to the strategy-setting c-suite of business. They work closely with the DBA’s management team to develop the strategy and frameworks by which we support the sector to drive design ever further up the agenda in business and government, and together as an industry can build universal confidence in design investment.
Says DBA Chief Executive, Deborah Dawton: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Tim Duncan onto the Board of the DBA with his expertise in communications. Given the complexity and breadth of issues facing businesses and Government today, it’s more important than ever that we demonstrate design’s ability to solve today’s social, economic and sustainable challenges, particularly if we want a better tomorrow. Tim will be able to help us communicate these truths into our audiences very effectively.”
Tim Duncan is the founder and managing director of TDC PR, an international communications consultancy working with clients across design, creative, technology and innovation.
Says Duncan: “Having been a member of the DBA Experts Register for some years now, as well a close friend of the organisation for over a decade, I’m delighted to be joining the Board to assist with the macro communications strategy for the DBA.
The cumulative value and/or output of what I do day-in-day-out with the team at TDC is to underscore the significance of design as a sector, as well as helping to inspire younger generations to understand they can have a wholly viable career path in the field given the pantheon of specialisms across the industry.
The DBA represents a sector lynchpin and it is an honour to join the Board. I relish the opportunity to apply and share my knowledge, working in partnership with the DBA team to further develop the communications strategy.”
Further details about DBA Directors, other members of the Board and its role, can be found here.
With members drawn from across each UK nation and region, as well as the full spectrum of creative sub-sectors, the UK Council plays a vital role in determining and shaping the Creative UK Group’s impact priorities, steering policy positions and sharing crucial insights from across industry and the UK.
Caroline Norbury MBE, CEO, Creative UK Group, said: “We are very excited to announce the newly appointed members of our UK Council, whose breadth of experience and expertise will be enormously valuable in driving our mission to ensure the best possible conditions for the growth and success of the creative industries. Representing freelancers, practitioners and businesses both big and small, they reflect the diversity and creativity that is central to what makes our sector thrive.”
Deborah Dawton, Chief Executive, Design Business Association says: “I’m delighted to be joining the UK Council of the Creative UK Group, and to be working with like-minded organisations and individuals to further the interests of our amazing creative industries which deliver so much to the UK economy and society at large.
If we want to remain a nation that continues to lead the world in creativity, then we need to champion the sector and attract the very best talent into it. Creativity isn’t only about encouraging talented individuals to become the world’s best product designers, musicians, artists, games designers, fashion designers, architects, film makers, interior designers, app designers, advertisers, theatre set designers, photographers, and many more; it’s also about attracting passionate individuals into the support roles which enable designers and creators to flourish.
Awakening a desire in all of us to consume creativity is also fundamental. Switching off has perhaps never been more important to everyone than it is now. Imagine that moment without music, without theatre, without paintings, without making, without bars and restaurants, without apps, without websites, without all your favourite products, without all the things which have been created to fill that space – depressing isn’t it!
We’re at a crossroads in the UK. And it’s imperative we take the right path to ensure the best possible conditions for the growth and successes of the creative industries. That’s the mission for Creative UK Group and I look forward to working with all the UK Council members to help drive positive change through action to awaken creativity for all.”
Creative England and the Creative Industries Federation have come together to form the Creative UK Group. The two companies merged in 2020, making a greater difference together than would be possible alone. They work to connect, support, champion and invest in the UK’s world-leading Creative Industries.
Skye Studios | Unsplash
The DBA’s Twenty/Twenty mentoring programme pairs rising industry leaders with established design pioneers for a 12-month one-to-one mentoring relationship.
Here, two previous mentees – 2LK’s Head of People Rob Short and Sail Creative’s Founder Mandy Barker – discuss their experiences of the programme.
Rob: “I was moving into a new role at 2LK, quite different from what I’d done there in the past. I felt that Twenty/Twenty would provide much-needed guidance on how to build my knowledge, expertise and confidence to deliver on my own expectations, as well as those of my colleagues.”
Rob: “After quickly establishing trust, my mentor and I immediately had honest and open conversations. My mentor listened (and understood) my challenges, and together we worked on new skills and techniques to help me develop confidence in those areas where I’d previously lacked knowledge or experience. This process immediately benefitted my new position – I was able to have challenging conversations that I might have previously shied away from.”
Mandy: “Twenty/Twenty mentoring helped grow my confidence tenfold. I received robust, solid advice from my mentor and found it invaluable how he shared his experiences. He didn’t tell me ‘what to do’ but provided an open forum to discuss potential scenarios and solutions. I have now got better boundaries around valuing what we deliver with confidence, and I am stronger at negotiating and saying no.”
Mandy: “DBA Twenty/Twenty matched me with a mentor who complimented my skills and expertise. His experience, knowledge and openness helped me to laser focus in on decisions with the team, workload and future visioning. We talked through bigger picture thinking, down to the detail around numbers, profit and turnover and I shadowed his Glasgow studio for a day, meeting the strategy team to see how they did things. It was reassuring to see the quality of work for an established studio was similar to that of Sail, and that confirmed we were on the right track.”
Rob: “The way that I work has definitely been positively influenced. I feel more personally invested in and informed about those areas that affect the day-to-day running of an agency. This has over time led to other team members, at all levels of the business, relying on me to have a more informed point of view.”
Mandy: “My mentor was a strong cheerleader and advocate of what I had already achieved and where Sail was going – something I often forget to celebrate – and his encouragement led to us entering (and winning in) the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards.
I would whole heartedly recommend the experience not only from a personal development standpoint, but also in terms of return on investment to the business. Sail’s turnover increased 31% during the Covid-19 pandemic and my growth in confidence through the mentoring was definitely a factor towards this.”
Rob: “Participating in Twenty/Twenty was probably the most important year in my career to date. This is a two-way commitment, but I think that the more mentees put in to the process, the more they will get out of it. Despite geographical challenges, my mentor and I met every six weeks with a clear agenda, in part laid out by the DBA, but also dictated by my own needs and desires.
My mentor improved my thinking and provided me clear pathways to pursue my strengths and to embrace (and then develop) my weaknesses. Our relationship grew to such an extent that it still exists to this day, well beyond the ‘official’ year-long programme.
My mentor’s impartial help continues to be invaluable – whether it’s to bounce ideas, seek advice or just have someone see the bigger picture without any emotional attachment.”
Medien Stürmer | Unsplash
Rob Short, 2LK
Mandy Barker, Sail Creative