About IIH

UAL photo library
UAL photo library


The Innovation Insights Hub is a cross-UAL resource to connect developments in business, technology and society with expertise inside the university resulting in innovative outcomes.

The Hub aims

  • To connect UAL staff and students with emerging developments shaping innovation including technologies, methodologies and contexts.
  • To connect insights and ideas within the UAL community and its students, alumni and partners with developments outside the university.
  • To explore and describe the contribution that design and the arts make to business and societal innovation.

How the Hub works

  • Connector events, bringing together people across UAL with people from business, social enterprise, policy, voluntary group and from other research fields to exchange ideas and insights and explore potential collaborations.
  • Challenge projects, working with partners to bring together collaborative, cross-disciplinary teams including UAL staff and students on “sprint” projects to address an issue and explore and generate solutions together.
  • Capability building through training and short courses in applied creativity and design thinking.

Expected outcomes

  • UAL is a go-to resource for organisations wanting to apply creative approaches to their business, technology or societal challenges.
  • UAL contributes to a stronger narrative about how design and arts contribute to positive societal and business change that is grounded in research.
  • UAL is more strongly connected to networks using approaches from design and the arts to effect positive change for business and society.

Working with us

The Innovation Insights Hub engages in experiments with new ways to support individuals and organisations to develop capabilities in applying approaches from design and the arts to business, social and disciplinary problems.

Design and arts practitioners are well-served by existing provision at UAL. The Hub focuses on professionals such as managers in business and the public sector and civil servants through both informal and formal teaching and learning.

Recent activities include

  • Developing a PhD Scholarship jointly supervised by the Innovation Insights Hub and The Policy Institute, King’s on design thinking and policy making practice funded by both Kings College London and University of the Arts London.
  • Developing new short courses aimed at managers to be delivered by UAL staff as well as external experts on design thinking for managers, and designing public services, and managing service design innovation.
  • Contributing to Redesigning Planning, a four-week student project co-delivered by UCL’s BSc Management Science and UAL’s Public Collaboration Lab. The PCL is a one year, AHRC-funded action research project in which researchers and students from a design HEI collaborate with officers and residents within London Borough of Camden.

The Innovation Insights Hub provides an inspiring, energetic and intellectually stimulating platform for partners who want to investigate and apply art and design approaches to business and societal issues.

We are keen to work collaboratively with enterprises, public bodies, research centres and universities on joint initiatives aimed at developing pioneering and inspiring research projects on the application of design and the arts to business and societal challenges.



Advisory Group

This is currently being set up but includes:

  • Dr Jamie Brassett, course leader MA Innovation Management, Central Saint Martins
  • Dr Marc Ventresca, Said Business School, University of Oxford
  • Ben Reason, Founding partner, livework
  • Emanuela Vartolomei, AllStreet

Partners from business, the public sector and other disciplines

There are many ways to engage with the Innovation Insights Hub, whether you're looking to embark on an applied research project, interested in designing a training programme, curating an event, or wanting some innovation brain food from across UAL.

Visiting academics and practitioners

The Hub is based at Central Saint Martins in Kings Cross in central London. Visiting researchers with research interests in the topics the Hub is working on are invited to get in touch for light-touch visiting fellowships.

PhD candidates

Please refer to UAL’s application process for research degrees, which also gives information about funding including the London Doctoral Training Centre. Potential PhD candidates interested in researching design thinking, design for service innovation and design for policy are invited to get in touch with Lucy Kimbell.

Current PhD Students

  • Yemima Safra

    Yemima holds a BA in Politics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MSc in Management Science and Organisational Behaviour from Tel Aviv University. Over the years she has gained experience in qualitative and quantitative research from a variety of lenses, including business, academia and film. She has also taught Organisational Behavior Theory at Tel Aviv University, and recently supported teaching in Strategy by Design and Design Thinking modules at UCL.

    Her background in documentary filmmaking and experience as a generalist advisor at Citizens Advice inform her current research project which looks at public participation in policy-making through the use of video. Interested in hybrid multidisciplinary research, she hopes to develop video co-design methods that encourage participation, reflection and iteration.

Visiting Researchers

Luca Simeone

Luca Simeone's trajectory crosses design management, interaction design and design anthropology.

He is the founder and managing partner of Vianet, an interaction design agency focused on delivering advanced technology and design solutions based on ethnographic research. Vianet has worked on more than 500 high-impact and award-winning projects, from interactive museums to experimental publishing platforms.

Luca also works as a consultant for public and private organisations helping to define strategies, policies and funding schemes to support strategic design approaches targeted at innovation.

He has conducted research and teaching activities in leading international centers (Harvard, MIT, Polytechnic University of Milan and KTH Royal Institute of Technology), (co)authoring and (co)editing some 50 publications. His book (Visualizing the Data City, Springer, 2014) explores the potential of data visualisation for more inclusive urban design, planning and management processes.

Contact: l.simeone@arts.ac.uk

Dr Jonas Hoffman

Dr Jonas Hoffman is Professor of Luxury Strategy at SKEMA Business School and Visiting Professor at Said Business School, University of Oxford. An expert in innovation, he consults and gives executive training in Europe, the United States, China, and the Middle East. He is a regular keynote speaker at international luxury summits and has published the following books: Independent Luxury www.theindependentluxury.com, Global Luxury Trends, Luxury Strategy in Action, Sustainable Innovation Strategy, Innover par les Usages et Les Business Models du Futur.