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Dr Stuart English

Programme Leader MA Design Programme Leader, MA Design Management Programme Leader, MA Design Professional Practice

Department: Northumbria School of Design

A specialist in design led innovation, Dr. English leads a portfolio of postgraduate programmes, he is creator of Ideas-lab and has returned outputs in all five of the University’s REF submissions (2013, 2008, 2001, 1996 and 1992). His work on relational problem framing has initiated new methods, new products and new IP through an inclusive approach based on design led entrepreneurship. This addresses multi and cross-disciplinary contexts bounded by clarity of market objectives, and has led to numerous new companies and filed patents. The concept of multiple perspective problem framing developed by English as part of a PhD by publication (2011) provides the foundation for the development of ongoing academic collaboration, new postgraduate curricula, intellectual property and commercial value for business both through contract research and CPD.



Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

How does innovation happen?

I take the view that our creative potential depends on the way we are able to see problems and situations.

Since a design cannot exist until it can be imagined in the mind of its creator, designing can be considered as a way of developing ones own awareness.  The creative designer must develop ways to engage with and make sense of a mass of interrelated information that may occur both in the objective world of the problem and in the subjective awareness of the designer.  I hypothesise therefore that new ideas are a consequence of the way we construct our awareness.

I am currently supervising three PhDs that all explore the designer’s relationship with the creative event.

I develop and deliver taught postgraduate modules for both campus and distance delivery and my teaching interests focus on theory and methods that underpin:
- Creative thinking and innovation
- Intellectual property and design-led entrepreneurship
- Action research and reflective practice in design

Over the last 27 years I have applied and developed this knowledge in practice through commercial design projects with industry partners.

Sponsors and Collaborators

Through Ideas-lab I have assisted over 50 companies to reveal hidden commercial value in their business.  I have worked in association with Netpark and Ward Hadaway Law firm to assist companies including Walker Filtration, Roar Particles, Teescraft Engineering, NaREC and Solartron ISA.

The High Value Low Carbon design unit has developed low carbon vehicle solutions in collaboration with companies such as Avid Vehicles, Elecscoot, Sevcon, Gateshead Collage and Sunderland University AMAP. We have also received support from ONE North East and Nissan UK Ltd.

Through my leadership of taught postgraduate programmes I have carried out commercial projects with companies including Procter and Gamble, Thomas Swan and Thermo Fisher.

I am currently collaborating with Polyphotonix ltd developing medical applications using printed electronics.

I am working on innovative exhibition designs with Eve Products ltd.

I am currently engaged in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Solar Capture Technologies ltd.

I have provided training in creative thinking and innovation to Northumberland Council, North Tyneside Council, Gateshead Council, Northumbrian Water, Sone Products and Parker Domnik Hunter.

Current/Recent Projects

Principal investigator - Collaborative project funded by Procter and Gamble, CPI National Centre for Printable Electronics and HEIF. £18K 2012/13

Principal investigator - ‘Trophec’ Sustainable Design Software HEIF £9.5k 2012

Principal investigator - Collaborative Innovation Partnership. Funded by OneNorthEast and Ward Hadaway (law firm). £20K 2007/08.

Principal investigator – NetPark Value Innovation project, funded by County Durham Development Company. 54K 2008/09

Principal investigator - Collaborative project funded by Procter and Gamble. £15k 2009/10

Investigator - Carried out several business assists as part of the Nurture project funded by ERDF / SingleProgramme / Northumbria University. B. Watson (PI). £1.6M. 2009 – 2012

Investigator - Zero Emissions Transport. 86K Sunderland University AMAP+20K Design Network North. NSD, B. Watson (PI).

Key Publications

English, S.G. (2006) Design thinking - Value Innovation - Deductive Reason and the Designers Choice. ‘Wonderground’, (eds) K. Friedman, T. Love, E. Côrte-Real and C. Rust, Published by CEIADE – Centro Editorial do IADE Proceedings of the Design Research Society International Conference, Lisbon 1-4 November 2006, ISBN: 978-972-98701-7-0

English, S.G. (2007) Creating Universal Form – Using Universals to Describe Design Solution Space. Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp.21-30

English, S.G. (2007) Mapping key factors in value innovation. Shaping the future? : proceedings of the 9th Engineering & Product Design Education International Conference, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 13-14 September 2007, pp,419-424.

English, S. & Steane, J. (2007) (1992-2007): From Learning Portfolios to Research Communities. (eds) Zehner, Robert and Reidsema, Carl. Proceedings of ConnectED International Conference on Design Education, Sydney 9-12 July. ISBN: 978-0-646-48147-0,

English, S.G. (2008) Enhancing the reflective capabilities of professional design practitioners. ‘Undisciplined!’ (eds) D. Durling, C. Rust, L. Chen, P. Ashton and K. Friedman Proceedings of the Design Research Society International Conference 2008, Sheffield, UK 16-19 July. ISBN: 978-1-84387-293-1

English, S.G. (2008) Creative perception: sensory conceptual and relational ways of seeing, in: Seeing…Vision and Perception in a Digital Culture, (eds). A. Bentkowska-Kafel, T. Cashen and H. Gardiner, Proceedings of the CHArt Twenty-Fourth Annual Conference held at Birkbeck, University of London, 6-7 November 2008, ISSN 1473-2157, forthcoming at

English, S.G. (2009) Integrated mind mapping: multiple perspective problem framing. Networks of Design. Proceedings of the 2008 annual international conference of the Design History Society. (eds) Glynne,J. Hackney,F. Minton, V. Falmouth, UK 3-6 September. ISBN -10: 1-59942-906-3 ISBN -13: 978-1-59942-906-9 Universal Publishers, Florida, pp.35-42

English, S.G. Moor, T. Jackson, W. (2010) Value innovation modelling: Design thinking as a tool for business analysis and strategy. Design and Complexity (eds) D. Durling, R. Bousbaci, Lin-Lin Chen, P. Gauthier, T. Poldma, S. Roworth-Stokes, E. Stolterman, Proceedings of the Design Research Society International Conference 2010, Montreal, Canada. 7-9 July.

English, S.G. Conti, M. (2010) Ultra low carbon vehicles: New parameters for automotive design. Design and Complexity (eds) D. Durling, R. Bousbaci, Lin-Lin Chen, P. Gauthier, T. Poldma, S. Roworth-Stokes, E. Stolterman, Proceedings of the Design Research Society International Conference 2010, Montreal, Canada. 7-9 July.

English, S.G. MacLarty, E. (2010) Feeding the three headed master of HE. Challenging the Curriculum: CLTAD’s 5th International conference. Berlin, Germany. 12-13 April.

Collaborative student project with national centre for printable electronics

Collaboration with Polyphotonix

Trophec soft modelling system for sustainable design

Press articles for ideas-lab

High Value Low Carbon for Business - Northumbria University.pdf

DTF-Horizontal -Pods

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