Lucy Kimbell

Lucy Kimbell

Associate Fellow


Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street


Lucy Kimbell is a designer, educator and researcher with expertise in design thinking and service design. Now an Associate Fellow at Saïd Business School, Lucy was previously on the faculty for five years as Clark Fellow for Design Leadership.

Lucy divides her time between academic research and consultancy. Lucy is currently embedded as an academic in the UK Cabinet Office Policy Lab, via a research fellowship at the University of Brighton funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Her Service Innovation Handbook (2015) is aimed at managers and entrepreneurs designing new services.

Since 2006, she has taught an MBA elective at the School using approaches from strategic design and service design, one of few such courses in management schools. This elective offers students unique opportunities to explore design-led innovation through hands-on workshops and collaborations with designers, particularly in relation to services. As an educator Lucy’s expertise includes researching and developing new learning platforms including a new MBA at Central Saint Martins, a leading design school, and learning resources for the UK Cabinet Office Policy Lab.

Lucy has a PhD Design from Lancaster University, in which she combined design theory and sociology to develop a better understanding of strategic design for service innovation. 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.

She has lived and worked in Sudan (one year), Barcelona, Spain (one year), Warsaw, Poland (two years) and now lives in London.


  • Design for services
  • Design-led innovation
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration


Lucy aims to develop a better understanding of the role of design in organisations and for policy-making, in terms of of major collective challenges.

She has a particular focus on trying to describe what makes designers’ ways of working distinctive, and how design-based approaches can be used in the design of services. Theoretically, Lucy draws on design research, participatory design and science and technology studies.



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

This approach is based on combining deep insights about customers’ worlds and other kinds of analysis, to generate and explore novel concepts for services that co-create value, resulting in outcomes for customers, end users, and organisations that serve them. Lucy has consulted for investment banks designing new software, mobile operators developing new digital platforms, housing providers developing new offerings, as well as many SMEs and social ventures.

Lucy is an Associate at NormannPartners, an international consulting firm that focuses on innovation, strategy and scenarios.

Very, very occasionally Lucy revisits earlier work as an artist. Her participative installation Physical Bar Charts has been shown 10 times including at TEDGlobal 2011. Her work has been shown internationally including in Making Things Public curated by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel at ZKM Karlsruhe (2005), Rat Show at Camden Arts Centre (2005), and Declining Democracy at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence (2011).

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