Johan Valcke, Director Design Flanders; Founder and Manager, World Crafts Council Flanders
As director of the design department of Design Flanders and a participant in Belgium's design world for more than three decades, Johan Valcke is well placed to offer a history of design policy in that country. Belgium is a multilingual nation with at least three fairly independent regions-so much so that the country actually has at minimum six functioning governments: federal (Belgium), Flanders (community and region), Brussels (region), Wallonia (region,) and the French-speaking community of Belgium. Valcke believes that in his country, ""a general governmental policy for design is a utopia,"" which is why promotion and support for design has been handed over to the regions and the communities. Design Flanders, like other design promotion agencies, works with businesses and consultancies, but it has also devoted time to convincing government officials of design's value as ""an instrument of management,"" and is involved in supporting the founding of innovative SMEs in parts of the region that have been hit by recession.
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Design in Government