How Britain Jumpstarts Design

The Design Council heads up a network of regional programs that help harness the creative energy of small businesses as an engine for national growth

Alastair Fisher was never a big believer in the value of design. For nearly 170 years his family's company, Sheffield-based Harrison Fisher, had been making the kind of quality knives and cutlery for which this city in the north of England is renowned. But Harrison Fisher, like manufacturers all over the world, has become increasingly vulnerable to low-cost competition from Asia. The mainstay of Harrison Fisher's business—supplying big-name British retailers such as supermarket chain Sainsbury (SBRY) with private label products—was under threat as retailers began to buy cutlery directly from China.

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