Iain Aitchison

Programme Director
PhD (in progress) Master of Design; BA (Hons) Design

Iain Aitchison is a design and innovation management specialist working at the intersection of education, consulting and research.

At the GSA’s Innovation School he is helping to lead the development of an integrated research and teaching culture, and foster local and global strategic partnerships. Alongside his GSA role, he continues to advise businesses on the strategic integration of design and help teams develop their capabilities through training and mentoring programmes.

Previously Director at London-based product strategy consultancy Plan, in 2016 he founded Graft, a specialist design and innovation management consultancy that helps global organisations build design capability. Over more than a decade Iain has consulted to global clients including Bacardi, British Gas, Lenovo, Mars, Samsung, Unilever, Wrigley’s and Yamaha; leading innovation projects in over 15 countries around the world, and the creation of long-term development programmes to enhance the design and innovation capabilities of internal teams.

Iain’s academic research work is focussed on innovation in design pedagogy, for which he working part-time towards a PhD, entitled, ‘People, Practice and Products of Curriculum Design in post-graduate design education’ at the Open University and publishes regularly at conferences and in journals.

Iain has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Art since 2006, and is a Board Member of the Design Management Institute, USA and Creative Scotland, the national body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries. He chairs, writes and speaks at conferences and universities internationally on the subjects of design management and education, and is external examiner for the MA Industrial Design programme at Central Saint Martins and the MA/MSc Multidisciplinary Innovation at Northumbria University.

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Iain Aitchison