Lucy Kimbell

Associate Fellow

Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street


Lucy Kimbell is a design researcher and educator with expertise in design thinking and service design.

Now an associate fellow at Saïd Business School, Lucy was previously on the teaching staff for five years as Clark Fellow for Design Leadership. She is Professor of Contemporary Design Practices and Director of the Social Design Institute at University of the Arts London.

Her research explores what makes designers’ ways of working distinctive, the context in which it has become more visible as an organisational resource, and how design-based approaches can be used to address organisational, social and policy issues.

Lucy has a background in practice, for example creating the Air Pollution Toile, a new wallpaper that changes in response to air pollution, shown in the group exhibition 'Future Knowledge' at Modern Art Oxford in 2018, and her Physical Bar Charts, a collaboration with sociologist Andrew Barry, shown several times internationally, including in Making Things Public at ZKM Karlsruhe in 2005 and at TED Global in 2011.

Lucy is an associate at NormannPartners, an international consulting firm which focuses on innovation, strategy and scenarios and she is on the international advisory board of the Danish Design Centre.

Lucy has a PhD in Design from Lancaster University. Originally educated in Engineering Design and Appropriate Technology at the University of Warwick, she later took an MA in Computing in Art and Design in the Centre for Electronic Arts at Middlesex University.


Lucy aims to develop a better understanding of the role of design in organisations and for policymaking, in terms of major societal challenges.

Current funded projects include:

  • exploring the implications of AI for professional services firms
  • multidisciplinary research to address the challenge of anti-microbial resistance in India
  • a European collaboration project exploring business models in arts and cultural organisations.

Previously Lucy held an Arts and Humanities Research Council fellowship based in Policy Lab, a team in the Cabinet Office in the UK Government. Theoretically, Lucy draws on design research, participatory design and science and technology studies.

See Lucy’s publications.


Lucy has worked with many organisations and entrepreneurial teams designing new services.

Lucy teaches an MBA elective at the School called ‘Designing Better Futures’. This elective offers students unique opportunities to explore design-led innovation through workshops and collaborations with designers to address a challenge.

She also developed a joint MBA offered by Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London and Birkbeck College, University of London. She currently leads a series of PhD studentships jointly funded by University of the Arts London and King's College London.

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