Over the next few years Bahrain aims to shift focus from oil wealth towards a diversified economy, by supporting the growth of the private sector. Despite Bahrain’s efforts to grow the private sector, SMEs overwhelmingly dominate the market and only contribute 30% to the GDP. Due to the narrow view of design value in business, it has not been used effectively as a solution to support SMEs sustainable growth and instigate innovation in Bahrain. Design has a positive correlation between innovation and economic growth, and it has been used by various countries including the UK, Singapore, South Korea and Denmark as a strategic tool to add a competitive advantage to domestic products and services and transform businesses. Consequently, The aim of the research is to develop a guideline to promote the strategic use of design by SMEs in Bahrain to support growth and instigate innovation.

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