What do you feel are the key issues/ challenges/constraints interior design professionals face today?

One of the key challenges the industry is plagued with is the theft of ideas without consent or fee from peers and commercial pitches as well as the unclear legal guidelines for contract terms between clients, supply of goods and design fees. 

How do you feel new entrants to the market can best equip themselves in order to survive within such a competitive field?

Firstly, they need good advice; a good accounting system for monitoring cash flow and a legal system in place to check that project procurement is on time, compliant and on budget as well as profitable.

They need to make sure that their product is protected, if it were a factory or property you would normally be legally obliged to insure it, if it were a consumer purchase, there would be a variety of duties to perform so combined, if you follow these guidelines as a service provider and check balance measures, you will be less likely to be prosecuted. 

"Having the best product is not going to cover your living costs if you are not able to be found. Get your name out there and you will be successful with a professional presentation"

The biggest protection is security of an idea; protecting commercial ideas from duplication is often a difficult task to prove but covert operations can be undertaken to gather evidence and avoid lengthy court cases. Finally you need a powerful and measurable marketing plan. 

Having the best product is not going to cover your living costs if you are not able to be found. Get your name out there and you will be successful with a professional presentation. 

You’ve consistently been a champion for enforcing intellectual property rights and compensating victims of theft – could you talk a little more about the SBID’s IP campaign? 

Abuse of IP rights is a problem that plagues the creative industry, cheats consumers and threatens the livelihoods of designers. The SBID IP campaign will be an awareness campaign in advance of establishing its international IP register where originators of design can register creative ideas from inception, which will create a platform for the provision of objective evidence in the instance of any IP infringement. 

"Abuse of IP rights is a problem that plagues the creative industry, cheats consumers and threatens the livelihoods of designers"

The campaign aims to inform the current dialogue on IP being a messy issue and to notify victims that there can be action against perpetrators. 

SBID has a corporate social responsibility to provide a route for all business enterprises to help protect the supply chain where it is vulnerable. The initiative will facilitate the seizure, prosecution and imprisonment of identified perpetrators of IP, as designers will have confidence and support to bring a criminal charge against the perpetrators.

We have run numerous IP awareness campaigns over the years and along with our partner, TM-Eye, who have undertaken several hundred covert operations on IP theft. Unlike any other initiative or group, we will provide enforcement. This is quite a deterrent and criminal law is not time sensitive like civil law. We can prosecute anyone for any theft that has occurred at any time in any country under any law. 

How can design professionals use the tremendous pace and reach of digital technology to their advantage? 

Technology is invested and incorporated into most aspects of our personal and business lives. When SBID launched in 2009 it was just before the rise of social media. We had to keep up with the expansion but it also allowed us to build and connect with a multitude of parties that affect and are affected by the design industry, from homeowners and design enthusiasts to design professionals. 

To keep ahead you must have a professional social media but keep personal life, food, pets etc, separate from business outlets and sharing and remember who is following you and why they find you interesting! In order to keep your focus on target, the correct messaging to a targeted audience will enhance your profile and help you reach a broader audience. 

Does the SBID have any other key campaigns or partnerships on the horizon that you’re able to tell us about?

We are always launching new initiatives and functions, we like to be first to market and set the trend for competitors to follow. Following a trend is encouraged and is of course different to copying which we do not allow and will now be able to act upon. Our latest initiative is the completion of the trio of councils; in 2012 SBID launched the Healthcare Council based on the growing ageing society and the lack of interest in healthcare design of products, design understanding by interior designers and the public. 

"Our latest initiative is the completion of the trio of councils; in 2012 SBID launched the Healthcare Council based on the growing ageing society and the lack of interest in healthcare design of products, design understanding by interior designers and the public"

We then launched the Education Council and soon the Colour Council will be finally launched to complete the trio. We have worked out this for over a year and it will be huge. We have a global presence for this initiative and it will be of interest to manufacturers, designers and consumers.

I don’t mean pretty things displayed in a glossy magazine, I mean serious science-based research on how colours perform in certain environments, how they impact on occupants’ behaviour and also on wellbeing. These environment guidelines will help designers in commercial environments, which is where SBID global membership has always been primarily focused.  

Finally, could you tell us a little about what we can expect from this year’s SBID awards? 

The awards have become a real destination; we had 204 people on the waiting list last year that we just couldn’t fit in. We thought about relocating or running two events but decided that we like the formula we have.

We always add something, so this year we have a slightly different presentation – it’s always better than the year before, because that’s what we do – we innovate, we celebrate and we do it all commercially because we are a business destination. We also launch the annual 2017 world top 100 Design in each category and this will be a global directory of best destinations, restaurants, hospitals and products.

It is a commercial launch so it is IP protected as is everything we do. It’s a great feeling to have gotten there finally and I have been itching to launch this year’s dual initiatives. 

Dr Vanessa Brady OBE is an international multi-award-winning interior designer, business consultant and founder of the Society of British and International Design with over 30 years’ experience in B2B procurement and post analysis of the design profession. She has been acknowledged for a number of high level business and design achievement awards; such as the 2013 Woman in the City, Woman of Achievement Award for the Built Environment and in 2014 was awarded an OBE for her services to the design industry and UK economy. In 2015, she also received an honorary degree titled Doctor of Design from Southampton Solent University, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the interior design industry.