Hugo Manassei


First things first: to quickly introduce myself. My name is Hugo Manassei and I run the Creative Pioneer Programme in the UK – I work for NESTA (The National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts). I’ve started to call myself a design strategist, not a designer, but I trained as a product designer at the Glasgow School of Art, after which I went on to set up two digital communication consultancies, one in New York and the other in London. Needing a break from the client/consultant relationship, I went into the public sector two years ago – specifically to work on the Creative Pioneer Programme at NESTA. I’m not an academic, and most of the content of this paper represents my opinions and experiences.

NESTA’s remit is to boost creativity and innovation through the whole of the UK. We were set up by an act of Parliament, and have been given, over the years, 430 million Euros via the National Lottery fund; and simply put, the interest of which we use to fund mainly individuals, in a number of different ways. We have an annual turnover of around 39m Euros. 3.6m Euros of that is spent on developing the Creative Pioneer Programme.
In many respects the Creative Pioneer Programme is a working prototype for a Design Finishing School. In this contribution I talk about the case and need for a Design Finishing School. Inherent in this discussion is the idea that Design Education needs to focus on developing creative skills, and a Design Finishing School needs to focus on understanding that skills base, the motivations of the individuals and methods for applying that creativity to business and workplace skills.

As a brief introduction, the Creative Pioneer Programme takes individuals from the Creative Industries, ranging from Film to Music to Fashion to Design, who are in the early stages of their careers, up to 5 years out of higher education, and who have an interesting business idea that applies creativity in new ways, and we put them through an 11-month programme the beginning of which is a 3 week residential course. At the end of the 3 week course, they can apply for up to 50,000 Euros of funding.

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Design Management
VIZO Workshop

“Design makes the Difference”
Brussels, Belgium - 29/30 November 2002

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