Design Thinking & Innovation in Collaboration with the RCA

Understand the purpose of design thinking in promoting innovation, and learn real-world applications and strategies.

What to expect

Explore the emergent role of design within the landscape of innovation, the key players in design-led innovation teams, how to combine convergent and divergent thinking, the real world versus the world of ideas, the power of visualisation and ways to scale up your design concept.

Using case studies and innovation stories that draw from current exhibitions and the permanent collection at the Design Museum, the masterclass will explore the curatorial context and provide a rich and stimulating mixture of new ideas and practical tools.

At the core of the masterclass is the opportunity to work as part of a creative team on a real-world project that you bring to the session. Whatever business sector you are in, or level of design interest or expertise, this course will equip you with a robust model to apply design thinking in your own working life.

Our approach to design thinking:

The Royal College of Art views Design Thinking as a form of people-centred innovation. Design solutions therefore derive from reframing problems from the perspective of the citizen or the customer, not the producer or service provider. The process is not scientifically neutral – it involves showing empathy and engagement with people’s lived experience. It also means resolving the contradictions between the real world of barriers and constraints and the abstract world of imagination and creative ideas. This masterclass will provide the tools and frameworks to bridge this divide.

This practical Executive Masterclass will take participants through six main phases of design thinking:

  • Discover
  • Define
  • Design
  • Develop
  • Deliver
  • Diffuse/Distribute

The benefits to you and your organisation include:

  • Thorough understanding of design thinking as applied across a range of business and organisational challenges
  • A new model to reframe innovation projects through a design lens
  • Experience of working collaboratively
  • Access to global practice in design thinking
  • Critical, creative and insightful thinking
  • Ideation and visualisation skills to realise design innovations
  • Empathic understanding of users / customers
  • Interact and network with peers from different backgrounds and functions
  • A certificate of attendance

The session

What will you learn?

  • An introduction to design thinking – theoretical principles and practical building blocks

  • Real-world applications of design thinking and its outcomes

  • strategies for improving decision making by reframing innovation challenges in a people-centred way
  • ways to work effectively in teams
  • global best practice in how other organisations have used design thinking.

The sessions include a mix of:

  • Three keynote lectures, e.g. ‘How I Think’ by a leading designer

  • A series of practical exercises

  • Six ‘sprints’ through the six stages of the Design Thinking model

  • Team creative workshops

  • a final crit of project presentations by a panel of experts

  • Post course, we may offer a session with the course leader, Professor Jeremy Myerson, where participants have an opportunity to discuss key take-outs from the masterclass (optional)

Participants will come away from this course with:

  • Creative confidence to work in a team on design-led innovation

  • A clear understanding of the different stages of the design thinking model

  • Practical experience of applying the principles of design thinking on a project relevant to you

  • A reinvigorated sense of what can be achieved when taking a people-centred approach

Who should attend?

Anyone interested in transforming their organisation through the application of design thinking for innovation, including:

  • In-house R&D teams across all sectors

  • Public-sector and third-sector business innovation teams

  • Innovation directors

  • Senior business managers

  • Sales and marketing teams

  • Policy makers

  • Entrepreneurs


Professor Emeritus Jeremy Myerson

Myerson is the Helen Hamlyn Chair of Design at the Royal College of Art, with a remit to encourage ‘design that improves quality of life’. An academic, author and activist in design for more than 40 years, he began his working life as a journalist and was founder-editor of Design Week in 1986. He co-founded the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the RCA in 1999, and his research interests focus on the role of design in social, demographic and technological change.

Clara Gaggero Westaway

Gaggero Westaway is a designer, inventor and educator leveraging human-needs to create meaningful innovation that addresses pressing societal issues. Her mission is to improve lives through hopeful and sustainable design solutions that encourage a healthy relationship with technology. She is the co-founder and creative director of award-winning design and invention agency Special Projects and a thought-leader shaping the narrative on human centred design.

Dr Tom Wilson

Wilson is Head of Collections at the Design Museum. He is a graduate of the Royal College of Art / V&A, where he studied an MA in History of Design. In 2013 he was the British Council’s Curator in Residence at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India. His AHRC-funded PhD focused on the design and display strategies of the Commonwealth Institute, the Design Museum’s new home. He is the author of The Story of the Design Museum (Phaidon, 2016) and Imagining Empire (Lund Humphries, 2021).

Book online

Booking information

Adult: £1200

10% Discount for the Design Museum Members.

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Images by Royal College of Art.