Open for Innovation brings together industry experts to discuss how design can inform responses to contemporary global and local challenges across business and wider society.
Join RCA academics, business leaders and designers for a programme of creative conversations and workshops on Sustainability, Designing with Communities For Local Action and Responsible Growth.
Welcome address from Sir Peter Bazalgette, RCA Pro-Chancellor & Chair of Council and Co-Chair of Creative Industries Council.
Sign up to attend
The event delivered by the Royal College of Art’s Executive Education programme will bring together up to 60 guests, including invited RCA academics, business leaders, innovation managers, community organisations and designers, to discuss how design-led innovation, creativity and collaboration with universities can contribute to the current challenges of business and wider society.
Sign up by sharing why you are interested in collaborating or working with universities on design led innovation.
- Selected participants will be sent a booking link.
- The attendance fee is £20.00 which includes refreshments during the event.
- Spaces are limited, register early to avoid disappointment!
Date and time
9.30am – 1pm, 20 October 2022
The event date has been moved from 20 September 2022. The College will be respecting and honouring the life of Her Majesty through two weeks of national mourning.
Dr Emma Wakelin
Emma's role as Director of Research and Innovation involves leading the College’s strategy and policies for research, knowledge exchange, innovation (including student enterprise) and executive education, as well as overseeing provision for postgraduate research students. Based in the Research and Knowledge Exchange office, Emma works across all six Schools, the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Innovation RCA and other College research units.
Dr Nick de Leon
Executive Education and Knowledge Exchange Lead
Nick 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.
Professor Clive Grinyer
Head of Programme
Clive is an acknowledged expert in service design, design thinking and digital and technology innovation who has led award-winning design teams for companies around the globe.
Dr Rob Phillips
Rob is a product designer with expertise in how research acts as an interface with Government and commercial funders.
9.30am Arrival, registration and refreshments
10.30am 3 x interactive small-group workshops, facilitated by leading RCA academics, industry partners and graduate ambassadors:
- Delivering a Sustainable Future, led by Professor Clive Grinyer, Head of Service Design MA
- Designing with Communities, For Local Action, led by Dr. Rob Phillips and Dr Delfina Fantini van Ditmar
- Responsible business growth and development, led by Dr Nick de Leon, Executive Education and Knowledge Exchange Lead
11.30am Key take-aways and reflections from the workshops are shared.
12pm Exclusive networking reception with refreshments on the Terrace with 360° panoramic views of London.
1pm Optional behind the scenes guided tour of the research centres, IRCA incubator, MA studios and facilities led by Dr Nick de Leon.
ZELP by Francisco Norris (RCA MA Information Experience Design, 2017). One of four winners of the inaugural Terra Carta Design Lab.
The Tyre Collective by Siobhan Anderson, Hanson Cheng and Hugo Richardson (RCA MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering, 2020). One of four winners of the inaugural Terra Carta Design Lab.
AMPHITEX by AMPHIBIO by Jun Kamei (RCA and Imperial College London MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering, 2018). One of four winners of the inaugural Terra Carta Design Lab.
Aerseeds by Bike Ayaskan & Begum Ayaskan (RCA MA Design Products, 2015). One of four winners of the inaugural Terra Carta Design Lab.
- Explore new ways business, policy makers and higher education can collaborate to transform their capacity for innovation
- Three interactive workshops designed by RCA Executive Education faculty including Dr Nick de Leon, Clive Grinyer and Colum Lowe
- Network with business leaders, innovation managers, community organisers and designers
- Experience the new 7th floor Executive Education spaces, with 360 degree views of London
- Take a behind the scenes guided tour of the research centres, IRCA incubator, MA studios and facilities
- Access world leading research from RCA Research Centres and InnovationRCA
- Join an exclusive networking group and stay connected with invitations to future talks and events
The view from the Terrace at the Royal College of Art's new £135m design and innovation campus, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, located in Battersea, London. Photos © Adam Hollingworth
Groups of 15–20 delegates will participate in interactive workshop sessions.
Workshop 1: Delivering a Sustainable Future
Led by Professor Clive Grinyer, Head of Service Design MA
The impact of environmental change is now being felt by businesses and public sector alikes. Drought in Taiwan has led to a 3000% rise in chip prices. Future public planning is driven by environmental goals. Rising energy costs make energy saving a priority for everybody. Offering consumers and businesses options to help us achieve our Zero Carbon goals need to be created and every business large and small needs to go on a journey of change to examine every aspect of our business. How can we balance our need for transformational growth with the need to reach zero carbon goals?
In this workshop, led by Professor Clive Grinyer, Head of Service Design at the RCA, we will look at case studies from the RCA Liveable Planet Challenge Lab student projects and an introduction to the new systems of sustainable business models, ethics and purpose that is driving business and public sector strategy and delivery.
We will invite participants to talk about what sustainability means to them. Working in small groups, we will share experiences, the challenges and possible solutions. By exchanging hopes and fears, knowledge and experience, we aim to create a valuable foundation for future action and collaboration on this vital issue.
Workshop 2: Designing with Communities, For Local Action
Government agencies are stretched to breaking, requiring rethinking diverse models of action. Place-based ownership and empowering communities offers invaluable collaborative opportunities. We foresee empowering public agents catalysing greener economies, i.e. becoming ecological citizens. We learnt invaluable insights to positively engage steward wards of environment(s), contributing to a grassroots impact on communities, through the My Naturewatch project.
The workshop will explore the opportunities, pitfalls and benefits of working alongside communities that are embedded within society, for local transition to more sustainable practices. We will share insights and invite active participation with all participants, building on collaborative experience and expertise. This will open future collaboration opportunities.
The My Naturewatch project is a collaboration between Interaction Research Studio (IRS), and The Royal College of Art Design Products programme. IRS, led by engaging the BBC, designed the cameras and instructional materials. The RCA team used camera designs in a series of engagement workshops, catalysing: wildlife charities, schools and cultural institutions, including training agents to teach their peers and communities. This led audiences of over 3 million people and a lasting impact legacy of; rewilding, technological skills, wildlife knowledge and sustainable behaviour.
Workshop 3: Responsible business growth and development
Led by Dr Nick de Leon, Executive Education and Knowledge Exchange Lead
The workshop will explore the evolution and practice of design to address the grand challenges facing people, planet and nature and the opportunities this creates for business to deliver sustainable growth.
We have seen through the RCA’s involvement in initiatives such as HRH Prince Charles’ "Terra Carta" and "Design For Good”, a partnership with the UN and 9 global corporations, how designers can help business to develop not only innovative products and services to address these challenges but also innovative new business models that are more in harmony with our world.
Such an approach demands new models of interdisciplinary and collaborative working and an evolution of the role and skill sets of designers. It also means a much more open approach to innovation by industry - the co-creation of solutions working with an ecosystem of partners.
RCA Executive Education workshop at the Royal College of Art's new £135m design, research and innovation campus, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, located in Battersea, London. Photo © Ezzidin Alwan
Creative industries clusters
This event intends to bring a mix of participants together from universities, enterprise, local authorities, charities and the community. We want to create a space that encourages people to make connections, share ideas and network, with the possibility of establishing future knowledge exchange activities.
The Place Matters Report published in June 2022 states:
"Existing Creative Industries clusters thrive on a quadruple helix of universities, enterprise, civil society and community working together to boost innovation. The greater the inter-dependence of these actors, the stronger the creative cluster. Across England, opportunities exist to strengthen and coordinate quadruple helix activities to put culture and the Creative Industries to the heart of civic renewal. Knowledge exchange activity is critical to the sector and its R&D."
Commissioned by the industry members of the Creative Industries Council from Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy, this report researches how and why local authorities and LEPs in England are supporting the growth of the creative industries in their areas.
The full report can be accessed here.
It includes recommendations for future policy consideration to nurture the creative industries, and foreword by Sir Peter Bazalgette, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council at the RCA.
The report also coincides with the publication of resources by the creative industries Policy & Evidence Centre (PEC) for people working with local authorities who are considering investing in creative industries via the Shared Prosperity Fund as part of the UK government's 'Levelling Up' agenda.
About Executive Education at the RCA
Executive Education at the Royal College of Art delivers open and custom masterclasses, workshops and short courses that provide senior-level professionals with critical business skills, covering topics such as design thinking, service design, creative leadership, human-centred design, architecture, curating, graphic design and contemporary art practice. Granting access to advanced level lectures and seminars by RCA academic faculty as well as notable guest speakers and industry practitioners, Executive Education is a meeting place for ambitious professionals wanting to further develop their creative skills and global network.