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Design Thinking & Innovation in Collaboration with the Design Museum

Understand the purpose of design thinking in promoting innovation, and learn real-world applications and strategies for design thinking.

At the RCA we teach design thinking, training designers who go on to lead global brands worldwide as creative directors and CEOs. In contrast to standard, linear approaches that build on tested models, design thinking is creatively structured, analytic and responsive. It draws on diverse disciplines and multiple areas of expertise and exploration, starting with the core premise that everything is a design problem.

Through the application of this informed analysis within business-driven, public-facing and community-centred contexts, design thinking can produce innovation, which in turn enables brands to remain competitive in changing markets.

Dates: 17–18 September 2020

Duration: 1 day, structured over two half-days

  • Day 1: starts after lunch at 1pm and finishes at 5.30pm
    Location: Design Museum, 224–238 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 6AG
  • Day 2: starts at 9.30am and finishes at 1.30pm. At the end of day two there will be an invitation to join a student-led tour of the RCA design studios.
    Location: Senior Common Room,  Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, Kensington, London SW7 2EU

Fee: £900

Course overview

This one-day executive masterclass led by Professor Jeremy Myerson, the RCA’s Helen Hamlyn Professor of Design, will cover five main areas: the emergent role of design within the landscape of innovation; combining convergent and divergent thinking; the real world versus the world of ideas; the power of visualisation; and creating environments for innovation.

Using case studies and innovation stories that draw from current exhibitions at the Design Museum, the masterclass will explore the curatorial context and provide a rich and stimulating mixture of new ideas and practical tools. Through the course you will learn to negotiate the complex relationship between the concrete and the abstract, to enable an understanding of the purpose of design thinking in promoting innovation, and the benefits to an organisation.

As part of this masterclass, during day one you will have the opportunity to visit the permanent and temporary exhibitions at the Design Museum, which include:

Personal and organisational benefits

The benefits to you and your organisation include:

  • access to global best practice in design process and thinking
  • new strategies to put innovation into practice
  • greater ability to work collaboratively
  • critical, creative and insightful thinking
  • ideation and visualisation skills to realise design innovations
  • empathic understanding of users / customers
  • interact and network with peers from different backgrounds and functions

How will I learn?

Learning takes place in groups of up to 25 participants, including: 

  • two extended lectures
  • two three-hour workshops
What will I learn?

You will learn:

  • an introduction to design thinking
  • real-world applications of design thinking and its outcomes
  • strategies for sharpening innovation thinking, evaluating and prioritising ideas
  • strategies for exploring alternative positions and improving decision making
Who should attend?

Anyone interested in transforming their organisation through the application of design thinking for innovation, including:

  • in-house R&D teams across all sectors
  • public-sector and third-sector business innovation teams
  • innovation directors
  • senior business managers
  • sales and marketing teams
  • policy makers
  • entrepreneurs

The RCA approach to Design Thinking & Innovation

The Royal College of Art views Design Thinking as a form of people-centred innovation. Design solutions therefore derive from reframing problems from the perspective of the the citizen or the customer, not the producer or service provider. The process is not scientifically neutral – it involves showing empathy and engagement with people’s lived experience. It also means resolving the contradictions between the real world of barriers and constraints and the abstract world of imagination and creative ideas. This masterclass will provide the tools and frameworks to bridge this divide.  

Programme team

Professor Jeremy Myerson is the first-ever Helen Hamlyn Chair of Design at the Royal College of Art, with a remit to encourage ‘design that improves quality of life’. An academic, author and activist in design for more than 35 years, he began his working life as a journalist and was founder-editor of Design Week in 1986. He co-founded the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the RCA in 1999, and his research interests focus on the role of design in social, demographic and technological change. He was director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design from 1999 to October 2015.

A graduate of the RCA, Jeremy Myerson is the author of many books, chapters, papers and articles on people-centred and inclusive design. He is also director of the WORKTECH Academy, a visiting fellow at the Oxford Institute for Population Ageing, and sits on the advisory boards of design institutes in Hong Kong, Switzerland and Korea.

In 2017, Jeremy Myerson co-curated the Design Museum’s inaugural exhibition in Kensington, NEW OLD: Designing for Our Future Selves, exploring the potential for design to enhance the experience of later life. Featuring work by RCA alumni, including Konstantin Grcic, Sam Hecht, Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh and Priestman Goode, the exhibition looked at how innovative design can help people lead fuller, healthier, more rewarding lives into old age – and asked whether designers are ready to meet the future challenges of an ageing society. In February to March 2020 the exhibition travelled to New York's Pratt Manhattan Gallery. For more information, visit:

Watch Professor Jeremy Myerson speaking about the RCA Design Thinking and Innovation course.

Clara Gaggero Westaway is an intrepid designer, inventor and creative director committed to enriching the lives of people through hopeful product innovation. Whether this means helping the elderly to engage with technology, reimagining the playground, or devising systems that help us focus on the present, Clara’s concepts bring empathy, optimism and clarity to where society needs it.

The daughter of a mechanical engineer and a fashion boutique owner, she studied industrial design in Italy before setting up her own fashion label in Berlin, only to get back into design engineering a few years later, this time in London. Consequently, her design method is defined by an unparalleled ability to integrate seemingly disparate realms and elements: art and engineering, purpose and aestheticism, the physical and the digital. When she’s not the colourful and multifaceted co-founder and creative director of Special Projects, Clara is a spirited design-thinking speaker and visiting senior lecturer at the Royal College of Art and at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design and a faculty member of Oxford University Said Business School OSLP.

About the Design Museum

The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to architecture and design, encompassing all elements of design, including fashion, product and graphic design. Since opening its doors in 1989, the museum has displayed everything from an AK-47 to high heels designed by Christian Louboutin. It has staged over 100 exhibitions, welcomed over 5 million visitors and showcased the work of some of the world’s most celebrated designers and architects including Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid, David Adjaye, Jony Ive, Miuccia Prada, Frank Gehry, Eileen Gray, Kenneth Grange, Jonathan Barnbrook and Dieter Rams. On 24 November 2016, The Design Museum relocated to Kensington, west London, where leading architectural designer John Pawson converted the interior of a 1960s Modernist building to create a new home for the museum.

Register your interest to download the full course description.

Disclaimer: The information given is accurate at the time of publication, however, the RCA reserves the right to amend the described courses as circumstances dictate.

Read Jeremy's 'Three top tips for design thinkers' for a taste of what the course will cover.


+44 (0)20 7590 4279
[email protected]


17–18 September 2020

Register your interest to download the full course description.

Click here to book

"We want people to come away from our executive education courses with achievable insights and a critical path to making change in their organisations and to their own individual working lives." Professor Jeremy Myerson
"Highly relevant for anyone looking for more effective ways to solve innovation challenges. The main takeaways were the power of visualisation & importance of empathy and research." Benjamin Glatz, Digital Transformation Lead at Shell, March 2019
Jeremy Myerson
Jeremy Myerson