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Dr Mark Bailey

Associate Professor

Department: Northumbria School of Design

Mark Bailey is Associate Professor of Design Innovation and Director of Transnational Education for the School of Design.

His work in design-led innovation is focused on making the world a better place by launching graduates into it equipped with the knowledge, skills and creative confidence required to bring about positive change. He believes that this can be achieved through authentic, multidisciplinary, cooperative learning conducted in ‘safe environments for innovation’ that support ‘brave failure’ in pursuit of learning.

Mark established the Design-Led Responsible Innovation Practice research group, a community of practice which brings together academics from across Northumbria’s School of Design and Newcastle Business School, alongside researchers and students from the unique MA/MSc Multidisciplinary Innovation (MDI) programme which he wrote, led and has overseen since its launch in 2008. Through this group he has secured, since 2013, over £1.3m Research Council and contract research funding and delivered strategic innovation support to around 80 external enterprises ranging from start-up charities to Fortune 500 global corporations. With the group he has published extensively on design-led responsible innovation practice and education.

He is currently Northumbria University's academic lead in a c.£6m collaboration with the four other North East universities: Creative Fuse North East (now in phase 2). This work is focused on developing multidisciplinary innovation capability and capacity amongst the region's Creative Cultural Digital and IT sectors. He is also leading a British Council-funded partnership with the American University of Armenia to develop design-led enterprise education in the country. This work has led to Bailey and his team authoring Enterprise education Policy recommendations for the Armenian Prime Minister and the Ministry of Education and Science.

Alongside his teaching and research activities Mark is responsible for establishing and leading educational and research partnerships between Northumbria University's leading School of Design and other highly-rated universities and colleges around the world. 


Mark Bailey

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Mark's research is about the practices of design that enable multidisciplinary groups to work creatively together to address stubborn and complex challenges in pursuit of positive change. Specifically, through my research I have helped shape the development of the new field of multidisciplinary innovation practice and pedagogy, and demonstrated how design-led, enquiry-based, cooperative learning develops new knowledge and meaning at the intersection of disciplinary boundaries. He believes that whatever form a designed output takes, it is a manifestation of synthesised knowledge crystallised as a version of certainty at the moment of its completion. Furthermore, that synthesised knowledge is a crystallisation of the multiple compromises, creatively made in the artistry of reaching that temporal certainty. 

The unique, experimental and innovative Master’s programme in Multidisciplinary Innovation programme that Mark established capitalises on this concept of design as knowledge creation. 

As a pragmatic academic, his approach has been an entirely integrated one and this is evidenced by his creation of an Integrated Academic Practice (IAP) model. With this he established and leads environments that enable high quality authentic, cooperative, enquiry-based learning and excellent practice-based research undertaken through business engagement operating at the heart of the research/teaching nexus.

Employing this IAP model, he has led collaborations with multiple organisations including Unilever, Mars, Philips and Herman Miller as well as many SMEs, start-ups and charities. These collaborations allow the academic team to develop and deploy new knowledge regarding the role of design within enterprises whilst simultaneously affording students the opportunity to learn through addressing real-world issues that really matter to the partner organisation.

Mark has worked in Higher Education for more than 20 years having previously spent ten years leading design and development projects in the Aerospace industry where he worked on advanced passenger and business jet concepts as well as designing bespoke private jet interiors. He has also led a small design consultancy business. A highlight of his early consultancy career was as part of the design team that designed the best-selling ‘Little Professor’ for Texas Instruments!

He supervised a Knowledge Transfer Partnership embedding Service Design methodology within Age UK Newcastle which won the Research Councils of UK Knowledge Base Impact Award in 2013. He has led the School of Design’s Cultural Partnership with the RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) of which he is a Fellow. He is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has contributed to the Pure Insight Innovation Leaders programme delivering on the subject of ‘Smart Failing’ to delegates from companies such as Mars, Pepsico, Telefonica O2, Astra Zeneca, Birds Eye, Coca Cola, Carlsberg, Philips and GSK.

Through his Integrated Academic Practice approach, over the past decade, Mark has worked, with some 70+ different companies across 3rd, public and private sectors. These have included BBC, Philips, Mars, Bower and Wilkins, Unilever, Age UK, Northumbrian Water Group, Fendor, NCVS, Berghaus, Northumbria Police, Sonoco Alcore, Elddis and the Parking Appeals Tribunal to name but a few.

Over a decade of working in partnership with Unilever, characterises the value of this sort of unique research and educational partnership:

Mark is interested in the role of the designer as orchestrator, facilitator and translator within multidisciplinary innovation teams. He is particularly interested the role of education in this regard. He is concerned with developing knowledge around and approaches to design and innovation practice and education with reference to organisational settings with a particular emphasis on multidisciplinary activism and the role of the designer/design approaches in facilitating innovation in teams of ‘non-designers’. His work is involved with pedagogical approaches to broad spectrum design activity ranging from service and system design through brand strategy to artefact.

As Northumbria’s Principle Investigator in both phase 1 and phase 2 of the AHRC/ERDF/ACE funded c.£6m collaborative research programme Creative Fuse North East programme, Mark has employed his Integrated Academic Practice approach to enable post graduate innovation students to act as co-investigators in developing and deploying innovation readiness workshops with regional small businesses.

Mark sees value in design education for ‘non-designers’ recognising the critical importance of establishing creative confidence as a key employability attribute. To this end, he is also an active co-investigator in the €1m EU funded Global Entrepreneurial Talent Management 3 programme (, through which he is exploring the role of designerly pedagogies in preparing graduates, outside design disciplines, for jobs that don’t yet exist.

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Managing a mega-project to explore and enhance careers: insights from Global Entrepreneurial Talent Management 3, Pearce, A., Harney, B., Bailey, M., Dziewanowska, K., Bosak, J., Pease, P., Stalker, B., Skoumpopoulou, D., Doyle, P., Clegg, S., Shokri, A., Crane, S., Quan, R., Ko, I., Mihelic, K., Kase, R., Cerne, M., Sun, H., Brueckner, J., Wu, S., Valencia Hernandez, J., McMackin, J. Jun 2021, Handbook of Research Methods in Careers, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar
  • Design for Complex Situations: Navigating ‘Matters of Concern’, Spencer, N., Bailey, M. 31 Dec 2020, In: International Journal of Design
  • Novice facilitators as creative catalysts in innovation support, Lampitt Adey, K., Bailey, M., Carrion-Weiss, J., Gibbons, F. 2 Nov 2020, Design revolutions: IASDR 2019 Conference Proceedings. Volume 4: Learning, Technology, Thinking., Manchester Metropolitan University Press
  • A design-led approach to transforming wicked problems into design situations and opportunities, Bailey, M., Chatzakis, E., Spencer, N., Lampitt Adey, K., Sterling, N., Smith, N. 1 Mar 2019, In: Journal of Design, Business & Society
  • Designing a Design Thinking Approach to HRD, Bailey, M., Harney, B., Pearce, A. 31 Dec 2019, In: International Journal of Human Resource Development Practice, Policy and Research
  • Giving Meaning to Products Via a Conceptual Design Approach, Yaldiz, N., Bailey, M. Jul 2019, Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19), Cambridge University Press
  • Global Entrepreneurial Talent Management: Challenges & Opportunities for HRD, Pearce, A., Harney, B., Zupan, N., Stalker, B., Bailey, M., Dziewanowska, K., Petrylaite, E., Balas Rant, M., Skoumpopoulou, D., Kohont, A., Clegg, S., Booth, M., Shin, H., Slavec Gomezel, A., Quan, R., Brueckner, J., Mihelic, K., Mazghouni, M., Ko, I., Doyle, P., Wu, S. 31 Dec 2019, In: International Journal of Human Resource Development Practice, Policy and Research
  • The effect of critical thinking on making the right decisions in the new venture process, Yaldiz, N., Bailey, M. 2019, In: Procedia Computer Science
  • The Why and How of Design-led Multidisciplinary Innovation Education: Context and Curriculum, Bailey, M., Spencer, N. 5 Dec 2019, In: International Journal of Design Education
  • A rapid design-led approach to innovation readiness: Advantages and challenges, Gribbin, J., Spencer, N., Bailey, M. 18 Jul 2018, Academic Design Management Conference ADMC18

Current and Recent Projects

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Creative Spark partnerhsip fund, Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), British Council, 05/11/20 - 30/06/23, 0.0
  • Creative Fuse North East (AHRC funded), Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), Newcastle University, 01/02/20 - 31/07/22, 0.0
  • ERDF: Creative Fuse North East 2 (see also CRP0755 AHRC), Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), Newcastle University, 01/02/20 - 31/07/22, 0.0
  • Creative Spark Partnership Fund Year 2, Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), British Council, 01/11/18 - 30/06/20, £29,978.00
  • Creative Spark: Get Ready to Innovate Armenia, Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), British Council, 09/10/18 - 31/07/19, £49,924.00
  • AMEX Product Summit consultancy, Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), American Express Europe, 01/10/18 - 12/10/18, £7,570.00
  • Project Legacy Sprint, Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), Northumbrian Water, 08/05/17 - 12/05/17, £2,000.00
  • Global Entrepreneurial Talent Management 3 MSCA RISE Project No 734824, Pearce, A. (Principal Investigator), Bailey, M. (Co Investigator), European Commission, 14/12/16 - 30/12/20, £769,355.00
  • Creativity Works (ERDF), Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), European Commission, 01/06/16 - 28/01/19, £229,779.00
  • Creative Fuse North East, Bailey, M. (Principal Investigator), Arts & Humanities Research Council, 01/01/16 - 31/12/17, £468,671.00

Professional Activity

PGR Supervision

Justine Carrion-Weiss Towards an understanding of value-creation in rapid design-led interventions. Start Date: 01/10/2019


  • Design Studies MA June 30 2015
  • Industrial Design BA (Hons) June 30 1988
  • Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2002

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