Design Culture Salon 12: Is innovation overrated and what is the role of design here?

Friday 12 Dec 2014


Clore 55, British Galleries, V&A Museum

Government think-tanks, policy wonks, business gurus, management book publishers and lots and lots of design commentators stress a need for innovation in order to ‘compete globally in these turbulent times’. Alternatively, innovation also gets tacked onto thinking about how new social arrangements, welfare services or participatory processes can unfold. But has innovation become an unthinking default position? Is this verve to aim for invention actually missing important challenges like implementation, poor leadership or infrastructure? What is the role of the State in promoting particular versions of innovation? Can designers provide a critical space where something else might happen? This Salon investigates how a certain cultural understanding of innovation has emerged, what it is doing and how alternatives might be forged.

Chair: Guy Julier, Professor of Design Culture, University of Brighton and Victoria and Albert Museum

Jamie Brassett, Subject Leader & MA Course Leader, Innovation Management, Central Saint Martins, London
Duncan Fairfax, Lecturer in Design, Programme Leader MA in Design & Environment, Goldsmiths, London
Lucy Kimbell, Principal Research Fellow University of Brighton and Associate Fellow, Said Business School

Dr Jamie Brassett has been working at Central Saint Martins college of the University of the Arts London since 1995 working across most of its subject provision – product design, fashion design, graphic design, textile design and fine art – and has been Subject Leader and MA Course Director of Innovation Management since 2008. Jamie has also consulted for a number of design and innovation agencies, and global commercial, public and voluntary sector organisations. He graduated with a PhD in Philosophy from University of Warwick in 1993, producing a thesis on Deleuze and Guattari, Kant and Bachelard called Cartographies of Subjectification, supervised by Nick Land. Jamie has published on a number of topics since 1991 and has spoken nationally and internationally at conferences since 1989, chairing ‘Out of Control’ the 8th International Conference on Design and Emotion in 2012. A volume for Edinburgh University Press called Deleuze and Design, co-edited with Betti Marenko, is to be published in June 2015. His own work for this book deals with philosophy, design, innovation and biology. Jamie is currently working on projects covering style and design, futures and trends, materialism and ontogenesis, sometimes all at the same time.

Duncan Fairfax is the current director of the Prospect and Innovation Research Studio (Pi) at Goldsmiths, University of London. He lectures in both the Design Department, and the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths, and Trinity College Dublin. His research and teaching areas include Leadership, Innovation, Management, Design Process/Thinking, and Sustainability.

Dr Lucy Kimbell is Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Research Fellow embedded in the Cabinet Office Policy Lab, part of the Open Policy Making team, and Principal Research Fellow at the University of Brighton. She was co-Principal Investigator leading a study on Mapping Social Design Research and Practice, the report of which was published in September 2014. Since 2005, she has taught an MBA elective in Designing Better Futures at Said Business School, University of Oxford, where she is Associate Fellow. For Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, she scoped and designed a new MBA programme centred on creativity and design. Lucy was previously Head of Social Design at the Young Foundation and her new book Service Innovation Handbook will be published by BIS in early 2015, aimed at managers and entrepreneurs trying to design new services.

The Salon is now fully booked, but you can contact me,, to join the guest list.

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