About the author

Lucy Kimbell

Lucy Kimbell, author of Service Innovation Handbook

I am an academic design researcher, post-graduate educator and strategic design consultant.  I am Director of the Social Design Institute and Professor of Contemporary Design Practices at University of the Arts London. Previously I was Principal Research Fellow at the University of Brighton, working as a researcher embedded in Policy Lab, an innovative team within the Cabinet Office of the UK government, through an award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. I was previously Clark Fellow in Design Leadership (2005-2010) and then Associate Fellow (2010-2020) at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, where I taught an MBA elective in design thinking and service design between 2006-2019 as well as executive education. I also designed and taught the design module on the BSc/MSc Management Science at UCL. I am an associate at NormannPartners, a boutique consulting firm that focuses on innovation, strategy and scenarios.

My academic research tries to help work out what “design” approaches bring to organisational, societal and public policy issues. My approach synthesises design studies, with research in management, ethnography and science and technology studies. My practical consultancy includes leading experience design teams at commercial organisations as well as supporting public sector innovators and entrepreneurs.

As an academic researcher I have published more than 40 journal articles, book chapters, keynotes and essays, mostly on design thinking and service design. For many years, I have taught and examined MA and PhD design students at leading schools such as the Department of Sociology, LSE; the Institute for Social Futures at Lancaster University; the Royal College of Art; and Malmö University. Other activities include leading Central Saint Martins’ research and development work to create its design-led MBA in collaboration with Birkbeck College, University of London on which I designed and taught a module on design thinking and systems thinking.

I originally studied engineering design and appropriate technology, then a masters in digital arts. My PhD at Lancaster University combined research in design and sociology. I’ve done lots of other things too, ranging from organising club nights in Warsaw, Poland, working as a BBC business journalist, leading a start-up innovation consultancy, and fundraising for women’s mental health charity. I’ve also worked as a volunteer English teacher in Sudan and the Gaza strip.

My artwork has been shown internationally including in the interdisciplinary exhibition Making Things Public (2005) curated by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel; TED Global (2011) and Modern Art Oxford (2017). I live in London with my family.

You can find me on twitter @lixindex.