Rowan is deputy director of the Just Transition Finance Lab at LSE’s Grantham Research Institute. She is also a Policy Fellow and Visiting Professor of Strategic Design, leading the Transformation by Design module of the MPA in Innovation, Public Policy and Public Value at UCL’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP). Between 2019-2022 she worked with Professor Mariana Mazzucato to lead the Mission Oriented Innovation Network (MOIN) at IIPP, convening global policy-making institutions such as the Scottish Government, the Swedish innovation agency Vinnova, the New Zealand Department for the Environment, the OECD, UNDP and the BBC in a range of exploratory design projects focused on mission-oriented innovation and public value creation.


The strategic design methodology Rowan teaches is based on co-creation between policy actors (network partners) and academic researchers, and this practice-based experimentation begins with defining and testing new ideas about economics and the broader political economy, then bringing them into real world contexts through live projects, experiments, and activities. Rowan is a practicing strategic designer, founder of the transdisciplinary non-profit Transformation by Design Ltd where she supports transformative innovation projects with industry, government and third sector collaboratives. She is also a Non-Executive Director at Live Work, a global service design agency with studios in London, Rotterdam and Sao Paulo, her focus in this role is particularly on Sustainable Futures.

Prior to joining UCL, Rowan was Director of Innovation at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) where she set up the RSA Lab, an experimental space using design methods to explore, prototype and test research insights and policy ideas with government agencies, NGOs, academic partners, NHS Trusts, businesses and social enterprises. She designed and led a range of action research programmes on the future of work, deliberative democracy, tech and society, circular economy and systems innovation. Prior to that she has 15 years’ experience leading a wide range of design and engagement processes, notably the as part of the Design Team for London 2012 Olympic Park. Alongside this, she holds an MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice from the University of Bath and is a PhD Candidate at IIPP. In a voluntary capacity, Rowan is Chair of the Earlsfield Community Land Trust, a community benefit society focused on addressing structural inequalities and housing affordability in London.

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