My programme of enquiry has been informed and driven by an early career as an in-house and consultant industrial designer that provided in-depth contextualisation in the nature and challenges of professional practice. Entering academia during the emergence of research in the applied arts as it attempted to establish its own direction enabled me to draw on commercial experience to develop relevant and innovative approaches to scholarship. This resulted in a research profile that has pioneered the use of creative design activity for data collection and translation of findings into validated outputs, demonstrating that design-based/led approaches have the potential to generate high impact within and beyond academia. In addition to publication in leading design journals, these include website, app, video, product, exhibition, design award and cards.
In the USA, collaboration with the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) on the fold-out iD Cards design communication tool and peer review by its Board of Directors resulted in distribution to 5000 members, use to define the profession on its website and conversion to PDF for their website. In response to demand, the tool was translated into an app that had over 18000 users in its first two years and received recognition through promotion by organisations that include Design Denmark, German Design Council, Ornamo Finland, British Industrial Design Association and Design Institute Australia. Other activities in the USA include an exploration into the capabilities of digital sketching using the tablet PC through a Hewlett Packard Innovation Grant; visiting professor at Rhode Island School of Design; guest speaker at 13 leading universities; six month residency as an international scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and two year term as judge for the International Design Excellence Awards (2018/19). In 2016 I received the IDSA Educator of the Year Award and in 2021 was inducted to their Academy of Fellows.
In Africa, a 2017 Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) project to investigate the design potential of sustainable indigenous materials to generate employment in low-middle income countries involved collaboration with universities in Turkey, Indonesia, Kenya and Uganda. The Thinking Materials project resulted in exhibitions in the four countries, distribution of outputs to all 146 low-middle income countries and selection by the AHRC for its Design Research Showcase at the 2018 London Design Festival. The follow-on Circular Plastic project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) GCRF explored the conversion of used water bottles into 3D printer filament to produce useful products for Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, receiving a silver award in the Social Impact category of the 2021 International Design Excellence Awards.
In Europe/UK, contributions to methodological innovation led to the award of a 2020 European Union grant to map the nature of the European design doctorate to facilitate transparency, evidence of excellence and internationalisation. Collaborating with three leading design schools in Italy, Finland, Turkey and a teaching technology company in Belgium, the two year D.Doc project is transforming understanding of the doctoral landscape. This work builds on a previous collaboration with 13 academics from the UK, Australia and Norway to develop the Design Practice Research Case Studies online resource to support PhD students in the challenge of integrating their own creative practice in data collection (over 38000 views/downloads to date), supervision of 20 PhD students to completion and examination of 21 (UK/international). Cross-disciplinary work on the EPSRC Concrete Innovation project with four Schools at Loughborough University and the National Centre for Craft and Design (NCCD) explored commercial applications for 3D concrete printing. A three month exhibition at the NCCD in 2016/17 recorded 10159 visitors and over 130000 views of the supporting video. Other roles include member of the AHRC Peer Review College; Design Research Society conference organiser; 10 External Examiner/Programme Reviewer appointments; editorial board member for two design journals and special issue editor. Academic standing in Europe has resulted in 6 accepted invitations as guest speaker at world leading universities. In 2017 I was one of four ‘thought leaders’ to be interviewed by the World Design Organisation on the future of design.
Current PhD supervision
- James Branch: Pedagogy of user experience (UX) design
- Wei Zhou: Design interventions to reduce conflict in mobility scooter use
- Matt Tommey: Identifying and predicting stylistic trends in industrial design
- Karl Hurn: The scope of the industrial design academic
- Taoran Ji: Supporting healthy eating through design-driven behaviour change
- Xiaoneng Jin (visiting student): Design heuristics for digital innovation
- Lee Adams: The future of UK industrial design
Completed PhD Supervision
- 2020 - Erin Rovalo: Prototyping design principles abstracted from the biological domains
- 2018 - Jenny Gordon: A hands-on interactive approach to textile design in footwear
- 2017 - Nicola York: Consumer product applications for printed electronics
- 2017 - Garry Layden: Hand drawing in spatial design (with University of Bedfordshire)
- 2016 - Mary Beth Privitera: Collaborative medical device design
- 2016 - Arthur Chan: Perspectives of academics and practitioners on design thinking
- 2016 - Yudhi Ariadi: Facilitating consumer involvement in design for additive manufacturing/3D printed products
- 2015 - Sarakard Pasupa: The development of a theoretical framework for education for sustainable development
- 2015 - Timothy Whitehead: Facilitating product development in low income economies
- 2011 - James Self: Investigating the relationship between industrial design tool, process and practitioner
- 2011 - Noor Al-Doy: An investigation into a digital strategy for industrial design education
- 2010 - Eujin Pei: Enhancing collaboration between industrial designers and engineering designers
- 2009 - Jayshree Kerai: Development of a tool for monitoring automotive interior quality