Project Ideas

Designcenter(s) Ghent & NSR,a catalyst, incubator, facilitator, inspirer & matchmaker for a creative and entrepreneurial Cities in the NSR


The city, the design museum Ghent and Ministry of Makers – the newly established Design platform Ghent (East) Flanders - join forces in order to, together with a number of European players, support and present design not only as an object but as a tool, a way of (design)thinking, a combination of economy and culture.

For this purpose, Ministry of Makers is developing a Makers Incubator that operates from the center of Ghent. Design museum Ghent facilitates and supports this project by providing a new, still to be built, Designcenter Ghent. A
multifunctional site that will serve as a platform for various public events.

Together, Ministry of Makers and Design museum Ghent put Ghent and East Flanders on the map as a center of experiment, experience and expertise in design.

On the one hand, Ministry of Makers stimulates the economic clout of East Flemish companies and organizations through a sustainable and responsible business model (promote the use of design as a tool for change and transition management, encourage matchmaking and co-creation, introduce service design in all sectors,...) to increase competitiveness and production and stimulate export of products and services. On the other hand, Design museum Ghent places more emphasis on design thinking and puts – in a inspiring way - design in the spotlight as cultural heritage.

The analysis of Charles Landry (consultant in city design thinking, acupuncture vision), combined with the results of the study “creative economies in Ghent” done by Buck consultants, were the reason for setting up an enabling policy regarding the creative industries.

The Designcenter will accommodate the offices of Ministry of Makers who provide the content and strategic working of a ‘Makers Incubator’. The Incubator itself will execute the programme by using the new infrastructure in a holistic way as a
experience-, meeting-, work- and promotion place for designers.

In that way, the Makers Incubator will become a sanctuary, a lab, which however won’t centralise all functions in one location, the Designcenter. The intention is
that existing organizations and initiatives in the city of Ghent and the
province of East Flanders will get involved in the incubation effect and create
an inspiring, profitable and user-friendly environment for the designers.
Therefore, several functions of the incubator will be occupied by existing hubs
in Ghent en East Flanders (fablabs, studios, co-working spaces, prototyping
labs, pop-up exhibitions) and in the long term new ‘makers’clusters will be
initiated and created in the city and province. This way smaller initiatives are given the chance to develop, grow and attract a broader public. Designers can explore several ways of making/producing/…, can develop their skills, exchange
knowledge and meet a lot of creative and inspiring people.

The public activities of Ministry of Makers and their Makers Incubator will be highlighted and promoted in the new Designcenter Ghent. The Designcenter will be a multifunctional exhibition area where many designers and design organizations can literally and figuratively get a showcase and platform. It will become a physical hub where people can see, experience, discuss, create and sell/buy design. By using the Quadruple Helix philosophy, both partners – Ministry of Makers and Design museum Ghent - explicitly wish to involve designers/entrepreneurs, knowledge institutions, policymakers and citizens in their policy and a ctivities.

True to Ghent’s DNA, not only will the creative entrepreneurial spirit be fueled this way, but the creative entrepreneurship will also be safeguarded.

In the Designcenter Ghent, design is being promoted and presented as a successful and inspiring union, a combination of economy and culture, a joining of forces of the cultural and creative industries with the cultural design heritage.


Ministry of Makers – Design Platform Ghent East-Flanders:

 Saskia Westerduin, creative director:

 +32 472 190 138

Design museum:

Katrien Laporte, director:

+32 497 57 74 37

City of Ghent:

Mieke Dejonckheere, Strategic Funding - Strategy and Coordination:

+32 9 266 84 09

Belgium, East Flandres



Saskia Westerduin

Tel: +32 472190138

Central Aim


 • Use design as a tool for innovative and creative entrepreneurship  

 • Use design as a tool for the Quadruple Helix Model  

 • Use design as a tool for growth and innovation

 • Use design for and connect it with research & development

 • Use design as a tool for a hospitable, enterprising, liveable & sustainable city

• Design as a connection tool within Europe

• Use design as a tool for city-marketing

Share every aspect of design with all stakeholders and citizens

Spot, promote, show and offer Ghentish and (Eastern) Flemish design and talent


• Inititate, organise, facilitate, support and promote:

- Matchmaking (Link-up) activities

- Cross sectoral cooperation modalities (in knowledge as well as in infrastructure)

- Experimenting & prototyping (Lab-pas) and testing

- Co-creation trajectories and projects

- (service)-design-thinking processes

- ‘Makers’clusters

- Sharing: knowhow, tools, skills, best practices, infrastructure, communities

- GP’s: the shortest way to entrepreneurship

• Inspire and make designers, companies, governments and citizens aware of the value of design through:

- Meet & greets

- Exhibitions

- Lectures

- Events

- Exchanges

- Workshops

- Discussion forums

• Show, present, spot, interpret, offer and make Ghentish and (Eastern) Flemish design and new national and international trends in the designer landscape accessible


Envisaged Output

• More designers take the step towards entrepreneurship

• More companies successfully apply design as a tool for growth and sustainable entrepreneurship (service – design - thinking)

• Designers, companies and governments apply co-creation as a critical success factor for development and growth

• New, better and more sustainable products, services, and multipurpose processes are being developped

• More ‘smart design’ emerges by sharing knowledge and best practices, whether or not in an open source model

• More involvement, xenogamy, cooperation, and experimenting arises across sectors, domains and target groups

• On an international level, more knowledge and best practices/cases are being exchanged and employed

• Ghentish/(Eastern) Flemish design is a ‘lovemark’ for export

• The scope, value and employability of design is widely accepted and appreciated

• The Design museum Ghent is a trendsetter and appetizer in the national and international design landscape

Partners Found Already

Capital D, Eindhoven, Netherlands

Contact with:

- V&A, Dundee, Scotland UK

- Spinderihallerne, Designandelen/Designers' Coorporation, Vejle, South Denmark

- Essener Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft (EWG), Essen, Germany

- Aalto University, school of arts, design and architecture, Helsinki

Partners Sought

Others from the North Sea Region

Estimated Budget

Thematic Keywords
Makers incubator, designcenter, creativity, design value, entrepreneurship, quadriple helix approach, sustainability, co-creation, service design, social design,matchmaking, show-off, fablabs & makers clusters, creative city incubator

Lead Beneficiary

21 March 2015

Event Calendar
Events Archive

09 July 2015
06 July 2015
30 June 2015
18 May 2015
21 April 2015