My two weeks at ImaginationLancaster

Two weeks flies by when you’re wading through a variety of literature on innovation, design, participation and every combination therein.

It’s been 4 years since I’ve had the opportunity to set aside some proper time and space to do some research in these areas and these days I have a different lens than I used to. About 7 years ago I met Prof. Leon Cruickshank and Gemma Coupe as part of their European PROUD Co-Design project while I was living in The Netherlands and working as an academic design researcher. We have kept in close touch ever since, exchanging experiences and stories from our different contexts.

I now live in Toronto, Canada and have been working for an innovation design consultancy called The Moment. There I have the privilege of working with amazing clients across sectors, and on some really amazing challenges. A little under a year ago, Prof. Cruickshank and I were speaking about my desire to introduce some new energy, thinking and ways of working into my practice, especially on how we involve our clients and their customers within the innovation design process.

Fast forward to September and I find myself here at ImaginationLancaster, set up at a desk and diving in head first. Researching “participatory innovation in a commercial context” made for some great conversations with the researchers, lecturers and PhD candidates in the studio. Over the past two weeks I have explored the conditions that different roles experience during an innovation process, as well as the agency that each of those roles can carry at different moments along the journey. Through an iterative (and difficult!) process I emerge with a deeper understanding of my own practice, how I might continue to develop the practice of my organisation and most importantly I leave with a set of frameworks that enable a reflection on participatory practices within innovation processes of a commercial context.

I am grateful for the warm and welcoming space at ImaginationLancaster and will continue to keep in touch with the incredibly intelligent and talented folks I had the privilege of exchanging with.

Until next time!