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Innovation

The Royal College of Art has a long history of innovation, both within the College and in its associations with other institutions.

Our students are particularly good at combining things that others wouldn’t have thought of combining. They operate across multiple art and design disciplines, working within them, enhancing them and producing new knowledge. It’s synthetic thinking, applied in addition to analytic thinking, and it produces new ways of utilising ideas and solutions that result in outcomes that would not arise from mono-disciplinary methods and approaches, or from STEM alone. 

Our students develop the confidence to tackle global problems through experimental learning: a learning-by-doing model, rather than learning from teachers. It’s a method that embeds confidence, founding deep disciplinary knowledge in trial, error and experimentation. When they reach a solution, our students know not only that what they are doing works, but why. Co-creation, working in groups and teams, brings the ability to articulate ideas. 

This happens most readily when you accept a brain surgeon to study sculpture, or an ophthalmologist to study vehicle design, or a Sanskrit scholar to study product design. These are real examples of recent RCA alumni, the last being Roland Lamb, RCA Design Products alumnus and inventor of ROLI, the keyboard that’s revolutionised music production and features in an Oscar-winning movie.

Supporting this ethos is InnovationRCA, the College's centre for enterprise and entrepreneurship, which helps students and graduates transform compelling ideas into successful businesses.

Innovation is also at the heart of our pioneering Research, whether by individual staff, specialised, multidisciplinary Research Centres or Knowledge Exchange.

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