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Innovation Output by achieving an enduring adoption of Design Thinking mindset and tools in a technically focused R&D organisation (RDFC18/DES/ENGLISH)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S English
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Design Thinking is a proven approach to drive innovation output however achieving an enduring adoption of the mindset and tools is extremely difficult to achieve in a technically focussed R&D organisation largely composed of chemists and chemical engineers. This requires a cultural shift to a human versus technical centered design approach and research is required to understand the barriers, then develop and validate approaches to achieve the desired change and “to make it stick”.
Whilst a thorough analysis of the barriers to adoption to Design Thinking needs to be carried out, initial discussions with our external partner indicates key areas of investigation will cover:

• Translating the lexicon and concepts of Design Thinking into a language which is more relatable / accessible to non-design experts.
• Understand current culture, work processes, methodologies and tools to identify critical interception and potential collision points for adoption of Design Thinking.
• Examine the most effective way to tailor Design Thinking for application across the organisation eg Strategic vs Executional, Sustaining vs Transformative vs Disruptive Innovation.
• Investigate the best way to deliver training to encourage true internalisation and understanding of Design Concepts
• Assess available internal and external methods and tools for effectiveness and develop and validate improvements.
• Identify changes to work spaces and facilities required to enable the adoption of Design Thinking.
• Identifying what other areas of Mastery and Capability are required beyond Design Thinking to successfully effect change.

It is envisaged that this project will lead to new approaches, methods and tools which are more effective in achieving enduring adoption and effective use of Design Thinking to achieve better Innovation which can be reapplied broadly to organisations who are not rich in Design Expertise.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.

Funding Notes

This project includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2017/18 this is £14,553 pa) and fees (Home/EU £4,450 / International £13,000), and are available to applicants worldwide.

Related Subjects

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