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Mark Bailey

Principal Lecturer/Teaching Fellow

Department: Northumbria School of Design

Mark Bailey is Director of International Development & Recruitment: Design and a Teaching Fellow of Northumbria University

Mark’s work in industrial design and design-led innovation is focused on making the world a better place by launching graduates into it equipped with the knowledge, skills, attitude and creative confidence required to bring about positive change by design. 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. He teaches BA(Hons) Design for Industry, MA/MSc Multidisciplinary Innovation and guest lectures in Design Thinking for Newcastle Business School.

Alongside his teaching and research activities Mark is responsible for establishing educational and research partnerships between Northumbria University's leading School of Design and other leading universities and colleges around the world. He is also responsible for the recruitment of international students to our design programmes.

Creativity and innovation thrive where disciplines intersect and, employing this understanding, in 2008 Mark led a team of colleagues to establish a unique, experimental and innovative Master’s programme in Multidisciplinary Innovation (MDI). 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.

In recent research he has acted as Northumbria University's Principle Investigator in a £4m collaboration with the four other North East universities: Creative Fuse North East. This work has focused on developing multidisciplinary innovation capability and capacity amongst the region's Creative Digital and IT sectors. He is now leading a Northumbria team who are continuing some of this work, under the name Get Ready to Innovate Armenia through a British Council grant, in partnership with the American University of Armenia, in Yerevan.

Mark has worked in Higher Education for the past 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 designing 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.

The big questions or design issues that I am focusing on at the moment:

Aside from his research interests, Mark is intrigued by what he calls the ‘dichotomy of stuff’. He believes that industrial design education must be rooted in the traditional craft skills of drawing, making and the form-making of exquisite artefact however, he is very conscious that designers need to turn their creative endeavour to the service of society, a society in which the role of beautiful things has potentially less significance. He is, therefore interested in the notion of Responsible Innovation Practice; that is innovation which brings about positive change in both social and commercial terms.

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 Bailey


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

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • 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
  • Novice facilitators as creative catalysts in innovation support, Lampitt Adey, K., Bailey, M., Carrion-Weiss, J., Gibbons, F. 2 Sep 2019
  • 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, 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
  • A Rapid Design‐Led Approach to Innovation Readiness: Advantages and Challenges, Gribbin, J., Spencer, N., Bailey, M. 1 Oct 2018, In: Design Management Journal
  • Beyond disciplines: Can design approaches be used to develop education for jobs that don't yet exist?, Bailey, M., Pearce, A., Spencer, N., Mihelic, K., Harney, B., Dziewanowska, K. 6 Sep 2018, DS 93: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2018), The Design Society

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

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 the AHRC/ERDF/ACE funded £4m 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.

PGR Supervision

Justine Carrion-Weiss Start: 01/10/2019

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Designing the Future

Northumbria University’s School of Design and Tyne and Wear Archives & Museums present Designing the Future. This unique series of events will explore different perspectives on the way design influences our daily lives and how it will impact our future ways of living.


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