Scott & Fyfe, image by Jennifer Wilcox

Creating Cultures of Innovation >

Research Themes
Design Innovation

Research Staff
Joe Lockwood

Scottish Funding Council

The Creating Cultures of Innovation programme (CCOI) is an action research project delivered by The Glasgow School of Art in partnership with the Institute of Directors to explore the role that higher education might play in improving skills utilisation in the workplace.

The premise of the initiative is to explore the use of design thinking in improving performance, innovation and economic productivity in participating companies. The project involves working with leaders to harness creativity within their organisation and enable workplace innovation through collaboration. The research questions explored how participants use design‐thinking skills and how these might operate as a vehicle for the effective use of skills.

Key findings of CCOI include that design thinking skills enable participants to take a user‐centred approach to innovation, encouraging teams to think about the broader impact of decisions. By encouraging an experimental approach to testing and prototyping, participants overcame their fear of failure, moving to a solution‐focused mindset. Involving leaders at all levels of the organisation as champions of the innovation process was key to the success of the interventions. The ripple effect used to cascade skills and learning from the workshops across the organisation has proved key to engaging employees and overcoming internal inhibitors, ensuring a sustainable impact.

A pilot CCOI programme in 2010–2012 worked with three organisations in Scotland: Scott & Fyfe, a technical textile manufacturer; Schuh, a high-street shoe retailer; and Cairngorm Mountain Ltd., a not‐for‐profit organisation who manage recreational facilities in the Cairngorms. The project was delivered through a series of integrated workshops delivered at approximately monthly intervals, with interim tasks for the workplace. A second phase of development (2012–2014) is significantly expanding the scale of business engagement, further refining the delivery model and gathering robust evidence of its effectiveness and economic impact. CCOI is currently working to validate the outcomes of the pilot project by working with more companies, different types of organisations (for example, the public sector), and different organisation structures (such as clusters of companies). 

Papers on RADAR:

Work-Well: Creating a culture of innovation through design - Joe Lockwood, Madeline Smith, Irene McAra-McWilliam (2011)

Boost Business by Design - Joe Lockwood, Iain Reid, Irene McAra-McWilliam (2011)

Joe Lockwood on RADAR

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Design Innovation

Design Innovation |

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