Professor Lucy Kimbell

Profile image of Director of the UAL Innovation Insights Hub and Professor of Contemporary Design Practices

Director of the UAL Innovation Insights Hub and Professor of Contemporary Design Practices

University of the Arts London (UAL)

Biography

Lucy is an experienced researcher, postgraduate educator, and strategic design consultant. She has spent much of her career on design’s fringes, intersecting with other disciplines and contexts including social innovation and policy. Lucy has been involved in research, teaching and assessment within leading international universities for over a decade, with a particular focus on the role of design in society, services and innovation. Her leadership and facilitation skills are complemented by research in design thinking and service design and art experiments in visualising data.

Before joining UAL Lucy was AHRC research fellow in Policy Lab in the Cabinet Office (2014-15) and principal research fellow at the University of Brighton where in addition she jointly led projects for the AHRC around social design. Previously Lucy was Clark fellow in design leadership at Said Business School, University of Oxford for five years, where she remains an associate fellow. Lucy co-founded one of the UK’s first digital arts groups and went on to work in digital innovation consultancy before joining academia.

As an educator, she has been involved in developing the joint MBA between CSM and Birkbeck College and UAL’s executive training offer. She’s taught an MBA elective on design innovation at Said Business School, University of Oxford, since 2005. Lucy also designs and delivers training in people-centred design for the UK Civil Service.  

Research interests

Lucy’s research explores emerging fields including design for service, design for social innovation and design for policy. Her approach involves combining literature in design studies with strands of sociological research including organisation studies and science and technology studies.

Research statement

My research explores emerging fields including design for service, design for social innovation and design for policy. My approach involves combining literatures in design studies with strands of sociological research including organisation studies and science and technology studies.

Outputs include peer reviewed journal papers, book chapters and conference papers. My book Service Innovation Handbook (2014) brought together design, services management and ethnography, shifting the emergent field of service design away from users and methods to practices and organisational capabilities.

As well as presenting at conferences, I have co-convened niche events looking at the intersection of design and other areas. The Strategic Design and Public Policy symposium (2010) co-organised with the UN Institute for Disarmament Research brought together specialists in international relations and security with anthropologists and design researchers. The Social Design Talks series (2012-14) provided a critical space to reflect on the emergence of socially-oriented design practices. The Oxford Futures Forum (2014) brought together 70 specialists in scenario planning and design.

As well as publishing, I shape the field through keynotes including IIT’s Design Research Conference, Service Design Network Conference, Design Management Conference and Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference and TEDx Oxbridge.

With Professor Guy Julier, I was co-investigator on two projects commissioned by the AHRC. Mapping Social Design (2013-4) explored the emergence of ‘social’ design andmade recommendations for the future UK research infrastructure/process. ProtoPublics (2015) prototyped new ways of doing design-oriented research. I initiated and jointly convenes a network of arts and humanities researchers and civil servants in the Cabinet Office, exploring how to bring research into policy making. 

Project awards and grants

2014-15: AHRC. Design Research Fellow, Policy Lab, Cabinet Office. Principal Investigator.  University of Brighton.

2014-15: AHRC. Developing Participation in Social Design: Prototyping projects, Programmes and Policies.Co-Investigator. University of Brighton.

2013-14: AHRC. Mapping Social Design Research and Practice. Co-Investigator. University of Brighton.

2006-08: AHRC-EPSRC. Designing for the 21st Century Award. Designing for Services in Science and Technology-based Enterprises. Principal Investigator. Said Business School, University of Oxford.

2003-05: AHRB. Practice-based Research Fellowship. Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford.

2004: Wellcome Trust. Sci-art award.

2002: Arts Council England. New media art award.

1999: Arts Council England. Collaborative arts award. 

Selected research outputs