Designing Culture at Work + Social Innovation + Necessary Disquiet with Lauren Currie — DT101 E29

Welcome to the Design Thinking 101 podcast! I’m Dawan Stanford, your host. Today I’m interviewing Lauren Currie. Lauren is a European designer who believes and creates in and for a better world. She is the Managing Director of NOBL in the UK and Europe, and Founder of UpFront. She has also been awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to design and diversity. She speaks at events around the world coaching the next generation of designers and doers.

Portrait of Lauren CurrieThroughout her 10 years in the world of design, Lauren’s main goal has been to design services that promote a safer world. One of her first programs to do this was MyPolice. This program came out before social media permeated every facet of our social interactions, and allowed citizens to reach their police force more easily. She created this program with her team at Snook, the company she co-founded with Sarah Drummond. They went on to create several programs meant to help and improve their community in Scotland.

She later chose to leave her company to design a new MA in Digital Experience Design. This propelled her into a leadership and speaking role that she has used to attract and coach the new generation of designers. Her work in design has changed the thought processes around leadership and community for many businesses and organizations.

Lauren shares her philosophies on leadership, service design, the psychology of team growth and safety in organizations, and where she sees design moving in the future. We dive deep into the space of inclusion and diversity in design, and what needs to happen for the field to be more open. Lauren shares so many wonderful tidbits and thoughts during this episode. Don’t miss out on her 10 years of experience mapped out for you in this episode.

Learn More About Today’s Guest

Lauren Currie on Twitter

The RedJotter
Pregnant then Screwed – an organization created to address discrimination and sexism in the design industry.

In This Episode

[01:24] Welcome back to the show! Lauren Currie shares how she started in service design along with projects and companies that she has worked with over the last 10 years.
[10:33] Lauren chats about her OBE.
[11:49] What is the state of the practice of design from Lauren’s perspective?
[16:22] How does design apply when creating teams and organizations?
[23:17] Why confidence is needed and how it’s connected to psychological safety.
[27:46] Learn how Lauren coaches leaders looking to change the culture of their organization.
[30:57] Altering culture takes years, how do you approach that conversation?
33:17] How to say “I don’t know” appropriately, and how the phrase applies to leadership and culture.
[39:53] Feedback is a gift in leadership, in design, and in life. How do you set up a service to provide feedback during implementation?
[43:10] Designers have to be responsible with how they manipulate and direct attention.
[47:19] What conversations should be happening more in the field and with new designers?
[50:55] Lauren shares the books, websites, and tips new designers should use when starting out.
[54:21] Connect with Lauren!

Links and Resources

Design Thinking at Work

The Reflective Practitioner by Donald Schon

Innovation with Information Technologies in Healthcare
University of Dundee

Design Thinkers


Snook – co-founded with Sarah Drummond


MA in Digital Experience Design

Good Lab



Aristotle Project

Lauren Currie OBE and Trustee for the Design Council

Thank you for listening to the show and looking at the show notes. Send your questions, suggestions, and guest ideas to Dawan and the Fluid Hive team. Cheers ~ Dawan

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