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RCA talks

In Session: Open Innovation for London: why it matters?

16 September 2020 | 11am – 12pm

This event was live-streamed via Zoom.

Brought to you by the Short Courses & Executive Education team at the RCA.


Join Nick de Leon of RCA’s School of Design in conversation with Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners and Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer for London. They will discuss the importance of collaborative and inclusive Open Innovation (OI), exploring its importance to London, the role of place in designing OI strategies and the importance of diversity and inclusion in OI.

Nick and Laura will also introduce us to the Open Innovation Fellowship – a new initiative making open innovation in London more effective and inclusive, launching in September, the fellowship is run by London & Partners in partnership with the RCA.

The discussion will ran for approximately 60 minutes and included Q&A.


Laura Citron, CEO, London & Partners
Laura is CEO of London & Partners, London’s international trade, investment and promotion agency. She leads the organisation to grow London’s global reputation and to attract business, tourists, students, events and talent to London. Prior to London & Partners, she was Managing Director of the Government & Public Sector Practice at WPP, the world’s largest marketing and communication services business. 

Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer for London, GLA
Appointed in 2017 as London's first Chief Digital Officer, Theo leads on London-wide digital transformation, data and smart city initiatives at City Hall.
His role involves:

  • Strategic leadership on the digital transformation agenda for London's public services, across the GLA group and the wider public sector.
  • Convening on behalf of the Mayor, across London local government to support the take-up of innovative, technology, and data-led approaches to service delivery and public engagement.
  • Developing and promoting partnership between the public, private and community sectors to enable and support the development of new public service-oriented technology and innovation.

The new Smarter London Together Roadmap launched by Mayor Sadiq Khan in June 2018, is supporting the collective capabilities of the city through citizen-centred design, data-sharing, smart infrastructure, digital skills and collaboration. Progress can be followed on the Smarter London Together Report Card.

Dr Nick de Leon, Executive Education and Knowledge Exchange Lead, RCA
Dr Nick de Leon is Executive Education and Knowledge Exchange Lead in the School of Design, where he leads the development of the School's research and knowledge exchange relations. He received his PhD from Imperial College Business School, where his research addressed the impact of information and communication technologies on the social and economic vitality of cities. Dr de Leon has an engineering degree from Imperial College and a Master’s degree in Industrial Design from the Royal College of Art.


Recording of the session:


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