Practices > Good Practices > Brokerage > Design Transfer Bonus

The Design Transfer Bonus helps SMEs to innovate their businesses. The programme brings together companies from technological sectors, e.g. manufacturing, engineering, transport or logistics with design companies, agencies or universities.

The programme is aimed at transferring design know-how that is being developed within design companies and universities to SMEs developing technology oriented products and services. The technology developers are provided with the opportunity to engage early on in the production process with design experts and develop new innovative solutions, products and services.

The Design Transfer Bonus provides financial incentives with funding up to 70% and a maximum of 15.000 Euros. The scheme is funding external design works as well as design consultancy, project and design management for new or improved products, services and processes. SMEs can apply with a specific project proposal.

Similar to innovation voucher schemes the Design Transfer Bonus provides access to R&D and know-how from design experts. In addition to voucher schemes that relate SMEs and higher education institutions or research centres the Design Transfer Bonus is also designed to support business-to-business relationships and consultancy.

Design Transfer BonusDesign Transfer Bonus

Role of partners?
The programme has been set up by the Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Research. The funding agency B.&S.U. Beratungs- und Servicegesellschaft Umwelt mbH is the administrator for the programme.

Together with business support agencies in the city and districts the Design Transfer Bonus is being promoted at matchmaking events where SMEs from technology oriented companies can meet potential new partners from the design industries. The events support the businesses with finding the right partners. They provide company profiles, presentations and speed dating sessions. The organisers also assist the follow-up meetings and application process.

Why is it needed?
The incentive tool has been designed to particularly trigger the collaboration between design-led industries and companies from ‘traditional’ sectors, e.g. manufacturing, logistics or transport. With this approach it helps companies with the need to innovate their products and services. At the same time it opens up new markets for the creative industries and design products.

The Design Transfer Bonus provides an innovative new format. Compared to common voucher schemes designed to bring together research institutions and companies the Design Transfer Bonus also focuses on the potential that lies within the creative economy and design businesses.

The approach addresses silo thinking by promoting this business-to-business knowledge transfer. In the creative economy where ‘practice’ can be ahead of research or at least has a different more developmental symbiotic relationship it becomes clear that knowledge flows are not primarily in one direction – from higher education institutions to SMEs. The Design Transfer Bonus engages with the knowledge intensive design industries and makes the expertise and creativity that lies within those companies more widely accessible. The scheme is a trigger for innovation and the development of new collaborative projects, products and services.

What are the success factors and challenges?
The programme is currently in the pilot phase. The first examples of projects developed with the Design Transfer Bonus will be completed soon.

Thematically the projects approved show a focus on web applications and user interface designs. Product designs are the second important group. The examples also demonstrate a success of the business-to-business approach. Most projects bring together SMEs from different sectors. SMEs teaming up with higher education institutions are less often at this stage.

One of the challenges working with different sectors is to circulate and present the offer through different channels. In some districts ‘traditional’ sectors and design businesses work in close proximity but still do not necessarily meet and connect. It is key to create opportunities were companies from different sectors can meet and connect.

Business name: Design Transfer Bonus
Contact name: Ms. Jenny Dittner
Address: Beratungs- und Servicegesellschaft Umwelt mbH, Saarbrücker Str. 38 A, 10405 Berlin
Telephone: +49 (0)30 39 04 23 72
City: Berlin
Country: Germany
E-mail: jdittner(at)
Legal status of Company: B.&S.U. Beratungs- und Servicegesellschaft Umwelt mbH (Ltd.) (programme administrator)
Number of employees: 39
Nature of business: Funding Agency/ Consultancy
Name of company collaborating with: SMEs from Berlin and Brandenburg from technological industries collaborating with design companies, agencies or universities.
Title of project: Design Transfer Bonus
Dates of activity: From: 01.10.2011
Activity Theme: Smart incentives
Project website:

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