2015 was designated as the Year of Design in Ireland, which involved a EUR 5 million programme of activities to promote and encourage design activity in Ireland. The Year of Design also stimulated debate and discussion around the future of design. A new Policy Framework for Design in Enterprise in Ireland was developed and subsequently launched in 2016 by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. The policy framework included: increased use of design-driven innovation in enterprise, building scale in the design sector and the engineering design sector, supporting entrepreneurship, skills development, and more females in design roles.
The Design and Craft Council published their National Design Strategy for Ireland in 2016. This ambitious strategy pointed out the need for a specific national policy for design in Ireland. Design research is highlighted as a strategic priority to apply design strategies to real-world issues across sectors. Increasing design capabilities in enterprise is also given strategic focus encouraging the introduction of design thinking and skills across all education. The final focus of the strategy relates to facilitating creative communities through user-centred design.
Ireland’s design sector is a fast growing creative industry, with over 3,000 jobs created between 2011 and 2014. In 2015, the sector employed 48,000 people, equivalent to 2.48% of the total workforce. It has a strong regional spread, with over 65% of registered design companies located in the regions. It generates over EUR 38 billion in exports, across traditional and digital design. It attracts significant inward investment, with multinationals such as IBM establishing design centres in Ireland. The sector makes a contribution to the wider enterprise base, with over 80% of Irish firms citing the importance of design to innovation, customer service and profit.
 Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (2015) Policy Framework for Design in Enterprise in Ireland.