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The Tyre Collective - winner of the Dyson Award

Equipping future design-engineers with the tools and techniques to combine technological innovation with human-centred design.

Key details


  • £1,200


  • Online

    Six sessions over two-and-a-half weeks

Successful innovation demands not only the effective and often novel application of technology, but also deep insights into what will create real value for customers and society. This requires a more empathetic, human approach to understanding customers’ and users’ compelling needs at a systemic level and devising solutions that address those needs.

The new technologies that are enabling exciting transformations in health, education, transportation, energy and the telecommunications sectors, as well as in consumer sectors such as retail, music and media industries can only be successful if they consider the socio-cultural, political, environmental and economic context and the needs of all of those involved – it demands empathy and creativity combined with an analytical approach to innovation.

This practical and engaging online course will equip you with an understanding of a new approach and the principles, tools and methodologies to become a more empathetic and creative engineer blending science and technology with society and culture.

Students will work on diverse live project briefs developed by the RCA with CERN, Lenovo and NASA.

We are grateful for the support of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition 1851 in developing this course.

About the course

Session 1

  • Introduction to transdisciplinary empathetic innovation
  • Understanding systems and the socio-cultural, economic and environmental context for innovation

Session 2

  • Empathic design research: how to identify truly compelling needs and opportunities to create value
  • Introducing live project briefs developed by the RCA with CERN, Lenovo and NASA

Session 3

  • Exploring and managing the interplay of cultures and diversity across disciplines as well as across our world
  • Innovation in action

Session 4

  • Applying the principles: a creativity and prototyping workshop, reverse disruption

Session 5

  • Example of transdisciplinary innovation at NASA and CERN: understanding intrinsic human needs and technical constraints and apply these to your project assignments

Session 6

  • Presenting your projects to an expert panel of leading designers, entrepreneurs and practitioners.

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

In this course, you will benefit from:

  • a new model to reframe innovation through a more empathetic, human-centred, socially and culturally aware approach to innovation
  • experience of working collaboratively with design engineers from different disciplines and with practicing professionals
  • access to a tightly-knit community of transdisciplinary designers
  • enhanced critical, systemic and creative thinking to both research and frame complex problems
  • ideation and visualisation skills to clearly communicate design innovations
  • techniques for understanding, testing and validating designs with users and stakeholders.

By the end of this course you will have learnt to:

  • apply the latest techniques in human-centred design innovation
  • how to identify the context for innovation, be it human, socio-cultural, technological or economic
  • identify compelling needs and opportunities to create added value to users and stakeholders
  • understand the role cultures and diversity play in design propositions
  • use human and technical constraints to your best advantage
  • how to prototype, test, refine and validate design innovations.

This interactive online course is divided into six sessions taken over a two-and-a-half week period.

Learning will take place online in sessions of two-and-a-half hours, followed by small group tutorials with expert practitioners.

The sessions will include a combination of keynote lectures from leading academics and industry disruptors as well as a series of practical exercises. They will involve design ‘sprints’, creative workshops and a final review of project presentations by a unique panel of experts. There will be activities to guide your objectives and outcomes, all the time supported by expert tutors.

Participants may additionally have an opportunity for a post-masterclass discussion with the course leader (optional).

The course is organised in synchronous sessions in a live virtual environment that combines various digital platforms and tools.

Using the videoconferencing service Zoom, the RCA's esteemed academics and facilitators deliver a mix of:

  • live lectures
  • case studies
  • guided assessments
  • presentations

Participants interact with the faculty and peers in breakout rooms in real time.


Participants engage in cross-functional team work with the use of visual collaboration tools.

Through the online whiteboard platform Miro, participants get to:

  • interact with various formats and templates
  • plan and brainstorm ideas
  • create processes and workshop activities in the digital workspace.


The College's learning platform Moodle is personalised according to the course's requirements to provide participants with a secure integrated system where they can access the course content.

The hub hosts a range of useful resources to enable the learning experience, including comprehensive timetables, pre-reading materials, course slides, curated videos, tutorials and session recordings.


Participants stay connected and communicate via the channel-based messaging platform Slack throughout the whole duration of the course.

In this space, academics, facilitators and delegates get to network, plan the course activities, share documents and files during the live sessions or offline.

You will come away from this course with:

  • the creative confidence to work as an empathetic design-engineer
  • a clear understanding of the different stages of the empathetic innovation process
  • practical experience of applying these principles, methods and tools to any project relevant to you
  • a reinvigorated sense of what can be achieved when taking a more empathetic approach to innovation, both in terms of the value created for stakeholders and users as well as the social and environmental impact of your design proposals
  • a certificate of online attendance.

  • Practising professionals (designers, engineers, innovators, entrepreneurs) who would like to develop their human-centred design skills
  • Prospective students of Innovation Design Engineering or Global Innovation Design
  • Newly qualified engineering and science graduates, especially those supported by 1851 and RA Eng


Contact us

Get in touch with Jo Chounta if you'd like to find out more about this or any of our other short courses.

Email us at
[email protected]
Executive Education Team