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Ideate: Critically Aware Design Innovation

Vrv _thumb1‘Ideate’ is about innovation in practices for generating and evaluating design ideas, backed up by capacities for proof of concept and proof of prototype. Our research projects draw on wide-ranging disciplines including design, psychology, ethnography, literary studies and philosophy. 

What are the most effective ways to have an impact on today’s health and what tools and techniques do we have to enable and co-create the best of all possible futures?

We can all think of products, services and systems, which have changed history: the iPhone, the NHS, the steam engine, the wheel and so on. What if we could generate vast numbers of ideas for such ‘things’, and test them out quickly and cheaply? Imagine the benefits of accelerating progress and making it work better for society, creating both economic and social prosperity simultaneously. New ideas would be designed and brought to life with the future in mind, not just churned out as short-term fixes that might cause long-term harm.

Northumbria’s ideation research explores the ‘how’ of better, future-oriented ideas. We’re creating new ways to generate innovative ideas, which create positive social, cultural, commercial and technological impact. Our approaches include design ethnography, design probes, design fiction, creative writing, critical theory and research through design.

Having attracted millions of pounds of funding, Northumbria University has built a strong reputation for engagement with both commercial and government partners. Our research is relevant to all the themes set out by Research Councils UK and our work addresses some of the grand challenges facing modern society. These include, among others, the need for innovative design which helps people throughout their ‘lifecourse’, digital living in the ‘smart city’, new ways of fostering human creativity and new forms of citizen lead entrepreneurship. 

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