Kolding, as 7th largest Danish municipality, has been for centuries a very traditional business area with a lot of production (e.g. steel or plastic, logistics, etc.). The strategic location on the main highways in Denmark supports distribution of produced goods.

In order to sustain the municipal attractiveness, in times of limited resources and public funding shortages on one hand and inhabitants expecting of continuous prosperity on the other hand, the city councilor looked for new methods. Kolding seemed to have a relentless demand of innovation; a desire for growth, welfare and efficiency.

2012 city councilor started a major campaign to investigate the strength of the area. Design was chosen to be the key aspect for the Kolding Municipality Vision 2022 statement: “Together we design options for a better life through entrepreneurship, social development and education & knowledge.”

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Design has answers in terms of understanding customers, more suitable compared to traditional methods of market and business analysis. Design can be used as an intelligent method of customer insight for business development. Easy to grasp methods and practices are what small and medium sized companies need to provide better value to their customers.

Kolding kommune has established its own design secretariat with more than 90 professional design consultants investigating future scenarios and future solutions for the region.

Activities around Vision 2022 utilize practices of design and agility. That is e.g. stakeholder were involved from the establishing phase in 2012. Over time the campaign aimed to make results visible, that inhabitants can see and experience progress and get further involved. Informal involvement of all kind of stakeholders gave them ownership and pride.

Kolding aims to be a full-scale design community by 2022 by setting design leadership as a main competence of the region. Strengthening business by offering a strong design environment with free service of support. Design driven innovation empowers and sustains businesses.

A full-scale design community means to Kolding kommune that all partners have an informed voice. Everyone listens and collaborates to solve problems in the field of social development and business.

It is great to see, how Kolding municipal provides a tool kit and platform for regional advancement; Inviting business and education to make their own interpretation and developing their own strategy, what design means to them; Engaging on multiple levels to solve welfare problems (physical design of the city and its roads, provisioning and development of offered welfare services) with innovation and design smoothly across various organizational borders and involving generations from kindergarten to retirement home.