Inside

Dr Rob Phillips

Info

  • Rob Phillips is Senior Tutor in Design Products at the Royal College of Art. He is a product designer working commercially and independently with expertise in how research acts as an interface with Government and commercial funders. His main interests include user interactions, responding to participant observations and aligning new technologies with design. He facilitates user-orientated solutions and creates design workshops intent on educating and applying design approaches to commercial and academic situations. His PhD research at the RCA investigated the relationship between open design and citizen science, and was funded through the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute.
  • Biography

  • From 2011 to 2014, Rob Phillips conducted PhD research at the RCA in a partnered project that researched open design practice and the deployment of citizen science tools for beekeeping. He worked with the British Beekeepers Association, Wolff Olins (the Honey Club social innovation), Technology Will Save Us and Horizon Digital Economy Research.

    In addition, from 2010 to 2013, he was a tutor at Brunel University and Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, where he taught manufacturing processes, design methods and digital manufacturing processes.

    Prior to this, from 2006 until 2009, he was a designer for d3o with responsibility for impact material, distilling user insights into product opportunities for international sports teams, including Team GB, and riot police.

    From 1998 until 2014, he was a designer for Upgrade Bikes, designing for international manufacture and mass manufacture. 

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  • Practice

  • Rob Phillips is a product designer working commercially and independently with expertise in how research acts as an interface with Government and commercial funders. His main interests include user interactions, responding to participant observations and aligning new technologies with design. He facilitates user-orientated solutions and creates design workshops intent on educating and applying design approaches to commercial and academic situations. He is in the final stages of his PhD at RCA (submitted September 2014), investigating the relationship between open design and citizen science, and funded through the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute.
  • External collaborations

  • Rob Phillips is experienced in initiating, creating, facilitating and growing collaborations with a wide range of partners and institutions in order to underpin industry-led research and innovation opportunities. Rob has created and managed external collaborations in a national and international context. These relationships also help to create realistic needs for academic research and design briefs for student projects, as well as student employment opportunities.

    Rob has developed collaborations with the widest range of clients, including: the Government (MOD, NASA, British Standards Institutions, BBC), charities (RNIB, BBKA, V&A) global brands (Barclays, Arup, Samsung, M&S, Nokia, Procter and Gamble, Team GB, Google, Puma, Wolff Olins) and professional organisations (The Design Council).

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  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Publications

    Phillips, R., Dexter, M., Atkinson, P. & Baurley, S. (2014) 'Standard Deviation: Ensuring Quality and Replicability in Open Design Practice' (International Journal of Design pending)

    Tooze, J., Phillips, R., Smith, S., Foote, E., Silve. S & Baurley, S (2014) ‘Clip-it-on, Actively Testing Rapid Manufacture in a Retail Space with Lead Users’ (Design Journal pending)

    Tooze, J., Phillips, R., Smith, S., Foote, E., Silve. S & Baurley, S (2014) 'How Open is Open?' (Design Journal accepted)

    Phillips, R. & Baurley, S. (2014) ‘Exploring Open Design for the Application of Citizen Science; a Toolkit Methodology’, 8th Design Research Society conference: Design’s Big Debates. Umea, Sweden 16-19 June 2014

    Phillips, R., Silve, S. & Baurley, S. (2014) ‘Citizen Science and Open Design: Workshop Findings’, Design Issues, 30:4, 52–66

    Phillips, R., Blum, J., Brown, M. & Baurley, S. (2014) ‘Testing a Grassroots Citizen Science Venture Using Open Design, “the Bee Lab Project”’, ACM. CHI’14: Proceedings of the 32nd International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, May 2014, 1951–56

    Phillips, R., Lockton, D., Baurley, S. & Silve, S. (2013) ‘Making Instructions for Others: Exploring Mental Models Through a Simple Exercise’, Interactions, 2013, 20: 5, 74–79

    Phillips, R., Ford, Y., Sadler, K., Silve, S., & Baurley, S. (2013) ‘Open Design: Non-Professional User-designers Creating Products for Citizen Science, a Case Study of Beekeepers’, Human Computer Interaction International, United States: Springer, 54

    Phillips, R., Silve, S. & Baurley, S. (2013) ‘What Are The Opportunities in Partnering Open Design with Citizen Science for Bespoke Monitoring within Hobby or Niche Communities?’, Rescon 13, London: Brunel University

    Phillips, R., Silve, S., & Baurley, S (2013), ‘The Practical Maker: Investigating the Definitions and Requirements of and Exploring the Motivations Behind Bespoke Making’, Crafting the Future, 10th European Design Conference (EAD), Gothenburg: University of Gothenburg

    Davis M., Phillips R.D. (2012) Finger Toy Interaction Device, UK Patent

    Phillips, R., Silve, S., & Baurley, S. (2012) ‘The Trust of a Maker and Making to Trust’, Future Everything 2012, Manchester: Future Everything

    Mason D., Phillips R.D. (2011) Suspension Device For Un-motorised Bike, Taiwanese Patent

    Gaver, W., Boucher, A., Bowers, J., Blythe, M., Jarvis, N., Cameron, D., Kerridge, T., Wilkie, A., Phillips, R., Wright, P. (2011) ‘The Photostroller: Supporting Diverse Care Home Residents in Engaging with the World’, CHI’11: Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Vancouver, British Columbia

    Mason D., Phillips R.D. (2010) Inter-rotational Bearing Assembly, Taiwanese Patent

    Phillips, R.D. (2005) Lid, In Particular For A Disposable Cup, UK Patent: WO 2005/014425 A1


    Exhibitions

    Digital Design weekend, London Design Week, Victoria and Albert Museum, September 2013

    Maker Faire, Corn Exchange, Brighton, 2012

    Future Everything, Victoria Baths, Manchester, 2012

    Design Interventions, ExLibris Gallery, Newcastle University, June 2010

    Creative Partnerships, Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, June 2010

    UX Brighton, May 2010

    Pecha Kucha, Brighton, November 2009

    International Fire-X, Birmingham NEC May 2009

    Vieltag, shop installation, Zurich, November 2006 – February 2007

    Canary Wharf, window installation, November – December 2006

    Fly Pitch, ICA and ICON magazine, ten-minute stand-up presentation, 23 September 2006

    Tea & Prosperity, Truman Brewery, London, Design Week 2006

    Golden Lane Estate, community project, London Design Week 2006

    Conran Head Office, London, selected works from RCA, 2006

    RCA Design Products Show, 2006

    Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Nigeria, March 2006

    British Council Office, Lagos, Nigeria, February 2006

    KOKUYO, Tokyo Shinagawa office showroom, 17–18 November 2005

    Designers Block, London, September 2005

    RCA, window exhibition, bus route 52, 9 and 10 June–July 2005

    Brighton Festival, Biscuit Studio, Hove, May 2003, 2004, 2005

    Salone di Mobile Satellites, Milan - April 2004, 2005


    Design Workshops

    Assembling technology kits with beekeepers, Technology Will Save Us 2013

    Designing with Beekeepers, Honey Club Wolff Olins 2012

    Users as Designers, Digital Shoreditch 2012

    Users creating devices for citizen science, Future Everything, Manchester 2012

    Users as Designers, Clip-it-on, 3D printing in retail, Look Mum No Hands 2012

    User centred banking, Barclays, Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, 2012

    What is Good Design? PS I am 6, Ocklynge School, 2012

    HCI Thinking in Schools, mixed schools, Google 2011

    Design a Fish: Approaches to Conceptual Design, University of Sussex, 2011

    Design for Protection, Riot police, Belgium, d3o, 2011

    Design Interventions, Newcastle University, 2011

    Design for the Everyday, Supernormal, University of Plymouth, 2011

    Creativity Through Play, six secondary schools, 2010

    Design for Disability, staff training at the BBC, 2008–9

    Let's Make, mixed schools, V&A, 2006–8

    Devices for the Elderly, Nokia, 2005

    Made in Nigeria, The British Council 2005

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  • Awards and Grants


  • Bee Lab, project funding, awarded by Horizon Digital Economy Research £35,000, 2013

    Ispo Design Award for Best Apparel, Quicksilver & d3o, 2007

    Snowdon Award for Disability Projects, Highly Commended, 2006

    Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Design for Future Selves, shortlisted, 2006

    Kokoyu Okuyuki Design Award, 2006 (following a project in Tokyo)

Selected work

Research

Research interests

Robert Phillips is a product designer and has worked on a wide range of projects, from mass-manufacture design to bespoke ceramics. He has initiated patents, developed techniques for ambulance fittings and worked on bulletproof cars. He worked for DMR bikes for 15 years on limited-edition products and concepts that have been produced for ten years by manufacturers in the United Kingdom and Taiwan. He helped establish the design manufacturing and applications for material development company d3o with clients ranging from Quicksilver and Puma to Victorinox, GB Athletes and the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Currently, he is completing a PhD in Design Products at the Royal College of Art, investigating Citizen Science and Open Design for grassroots initiatives. He collaborates with organisations including Technology Will Save Us, The Honey Club, Horizon Digital Economy Research and the British Beekeepers Association to deliver beehive-monitoring devices for the Bee Lab project. His main focus is aligning design or technological interventions with end users desires and needs.

Current and recent research

Bee Lab: this project aligns open design methodologies with citizen science motivations to enhance the experience of beekeeping and monitoring from a remote location.

Artefact Café: a feasibility study of maker spaces and the development of methodologies and processes for open design.