Innovation, R&D

Design Innovation: Creating Cultures of Innovation Programme

The Creating Cultures of Innovation Programme is an action research project delivered by the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) in partnership with the Institute of Directors (IoD), and the University of Glasgow Business School (UGBS).

The project explores the use of design thinking to improve the effective use of skills in the workforce to enhance performance, innovation and economic productivity in business.

Design thinking is a structured approach to creativity that involves putting the user at the centre of a co-creation process. This encourages observation, investigation, insight and prototyping to provide the impetus for change, improvement and innovation.

Design is also about finding appropriate solutions to particular problems, tangible or otherwise. Design innovation is the process of applying an idea to an existing product, service or system in order to improve it.

What are the business benefits?

  • Design thinking enables organisations to harness creative capability to innovate new or existing products and services.
  • Innovation design puts the user firmly at the centre of the process, exploring needs and preferences as part of opportunity spotting and rapid prototyping.
  • The tools and techniques support effective decision-making, open communication, greater collaboration and opportunities to draw on strengths from across the organisations.
  • Design skills are absorbed into the organisation and become part of the organisational culture, ensuring long-term benefits to individuals and the performance of the organisation.

Who is it for?

Any organisation may participate in these programmes provided the leadership team are curious and open to innovation and the company has budget to invest in the interventions.

How do we deliver this service?

Innovation designers will work with the leadership team of a business to establish programme objectives that align with company strategy. The company elects 10-12 people from across the business to participate in design thinking workshops and, over a period of six to12 months, begins a process of implementing design innovation in-house and across the board.

  • In the case of micro-businesses, the programme may be available to participate in sector or cross-sector clusters to achieve economies of scale.
  • The Light Programme entails four one-day workshops over six months.
  • The Intense Programme entails eight one-day workshops over twelve months.

How much does it cost? 

The research project is made possible by funding from the Scottish Funding Council. Participating organisations will need to pay between £5,575 and £10,620, depending on the duration of the programme chosen.


  • Joe Lockwood, Programme Director, Centre for Design Innovation on 01309 678 137 or

Email Joe Lockwood

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