Modern mousetraps and nesting boxes, a device for assessing the freshness level of meat and fish products, Braille packaging, phone and computer cases made of wood, stone or compressed hay, ergonomic furniture and smart games – these and thousands of other innovative products have been created thanks to the funding provided to their creators under the ‘Design LT’ measure.

The contracts under the call for the ‘Design LT’ measure first launched in 2019 and repeated a year later, are coming to an end. Of the 297 contracts signed with EUR 4.7 million of EU investment, 22 are still to be implemented, and this number is rapidly declining. Innovation Agency Lithuania, which will continue the activities of the former Lithuanian Business Support Agency (LBSA), forecasts that the last projects funded by the measure will be implemented in the fourth quarter of the year.
A total of 3,145 design projects have been funded, mainly covering packaging for the food and chemical industry, followed by clothing, footwear and textiles, furniture, technical and electronic equipment, educational tools and games, building materials and other design projects.

Design projects are also implemented in the service sector, including accounting, travel, hotel, consulting, catering, training, marketing and other services.

Around 82% of all projects are carried out in Vilnius and Kaunas counties; the rest are in Alytus, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, Panevėžys, Marijampolė, Telšiai and Utena counties.

Unconventional solutions for business success

Agnė Vaitkūnienė, Director of Innovation Agency Lithuania Investment Management Department: ‘In Lithuania, the mission of design in the development of products and services has not been sufficiently appreciated. This measure has shown that entrepreneurs have seen the sense of cooperation with developers in creating product or service innovations that are needed by society and business, and that are in demand’, says Vaitkūnienė.

According to Vaitkūnienė, design combines elements of production, innovation, technology and communication, so it is encouraging that business has recognised the creative potential of talented designers and has provided the public with original products. ‘Saving money on packaging is a poor decision, and not investing in unique products means standing still and losing customers’ she adds.

The development or implementation of non-technological innovations – original product or service design for serial or mass production, or mass service provision, was funded under the ‘Design LT’ measure.

The conditions of the second call for proposals allowed funding not only for the creation of a visualisation or sketch of a new product or service design, but also for the realisation of a design idea through the production of a sample. EU investment ranged from EUR 3,000 to EUR 30,000 per project.

According to Sigita Skrebė, Head of Business Productivity Project Division of the Innovation Agency, the measure particularly promoted design solutions for ecological themes, the service needs of people with disabilities and others.

‘Non-traditional solutions can help national businesses to further develop the competitive advantage of their products on domestic and foreign markets and we already have examples of this. ‘Dizainas LT’ has helped many companies to become unique in the market with their products or services’, Skrebė notes.

From packaging to dentists and games

UAB Ustukių malūnas, a company recognisable in Lithuania not only for its organic products but also for its business history, has implemented a new design project for cracker packaging, and the Virūna company has introduced a new chest of drawers in three different designs to consumers.

UAB Eventus group, which develops and manufactures educational toys, is continuing its project to design a new table transformer, while UAB Rodeta will complete the design and implementation of three products: an integrated acoustic wall and cushion system, a modular piece of public space furniture and a multi-functional play pouffe.

Meanwhile, UAB Ergolain baldai has already implemented three design projects that have given a more attractive shape to the Bastion soft furniture system, the ENDY-4 office furniture system and the TalkTalk single-seater acoustic booth.

The products of Novum commercium, which designs and manufactures unconventional accessories for electronics and represents the WoodWe brand, have already spread around the world. These include smartphone and laptop cases made from wood, stone or compressed hay. Thanks to a contribution from the ‘Dizainas LT’ measure, computer stands and leather cases have been created, and existing products have been redesigned.

UAB DTL Vilnius created a new generation and a new design of original tools (a dental biometric data logger and data transfer device), while UAB Septintoji dimensija created a scheme for photography training services and a client pathway.
UAB DUV has developed designs for a desk workstation lamp, a room divider system and eco-wood furniture.

Of the completed design projects funded by EU investment, more than 50% have already been installed and made available to consumers. For the others, there is still time to do so – according to the requirements of the measure, the designs must be implemented within one to three years after the end of the project.

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