Dr Dan Lockton

I'm a designer, technologist and researcher, specialising in the links between design, understanding, and human action, particularly with respect to what's become known as "behaviour change" for social and environmental benefit. My work centres on in-context research with people, including the use of products, services and built environments, with a focus on practical prototyping and co-creation, integrating insights from multiple scientific, technological and social science disciplines.

At present, I'm writing Design with Intent, to be published by O'Reilly in 2016, alongside being visiting research tutor in Innovation Design Engineering Research at the Royal College of Art in London. My students' PhD projects cover topics such as human interaction with the Internet of Things, designing ways to make product repair more emotionally engaging, applications of synaesthesia within participatory design, new kinds of interface for medical practitioners, and animation as a design process.  

I regularly speak and run workshops at industry events (design, user experience, built environment) and academic conferences, and run courses and do visiting teaching for a range of institutions and courses. Commercially I also run workshops and provide consultancy at the interface between people and designed systems—products, services and environments, digital and physical. I take a crossdisciplinary approach, drawing on ideas from a wide range of fields to help understand and frame problems.

While in academic terms I'm best known for work on design for behaviour change, and design for sustainable behaviour—particularly the Design with Intent toolkit and related publications—I'm increasingly interested in what might be termed connected understanding: how we interpret, understand and interact with the networks and infrastructures, technologies and complex systems around us, how they in turn model us, and what the consequences could be for design which seeks to influence change. This is, I've come to realise, essentially cybernetics.


▶ More details on my areas of research, publications and PhD supervision, and a short PDF CV.
▶ Please do say hello if you'd like to work together, or are interested in studying at the RCA.


From 2013-15 I was a senior associate at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art, London, working on the SusLabNWE project (INTERREG), Creative Citizens (AHRC Connected Communities / EPSRC), a number of executive education projects, and Creating Sustainable Innovation through Design for Behaviour Change (AHRC), on which I was a Co-Investigator. In 2015, working with Vehicle Design at the RCA, I was project manager for the setting up the public engagement work package of GATEway, an £8 million Innovate UK project looking at understanding and demonstrating driverless cars in the UK, led by TRL in conjunction with partners including the Royal Borough of Greenwich. I had four outputs submitted to REF2014, contributing to the RCA's 77% 3*/4* rating.

Between 2010 and 2012, I was a research fellow at WMG, University of Warwick, and a research assistant at Brunel University, on Empower, a TSB-funded collaboration with digital sustainability startup CarbonCulture. For my PhD at Brunel (2007-13), I developed the Design with Intent toolkit, an interaction design pattern library bringing together behavioural insights and examples into a form useful for designers.

Before returning to academia, I worked in industry on a range of projects, including working in R&D for Sir Clive Sinclair (on some unusual folding bikes), and I also wrote a book on the Reliant Motor Company. I grew up in south Devon and studied BSc Industrial Design Engineering at Brunel's former Runnymede design school (2000-4), and a Cambridge-MIT Institute Master's in Technology Policy (2004-5) at the Judge Institute of Management Studies and the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, where I was at Downing College.

Academic positions

2015–date Royal College of Art, London
Innovation Design Engineering, Visiting Research Tutor

2015 Royal College of Art, London
Vehicle Design / Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Project Manager

2013–15 Royal College of Art, London
Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Senior Research Associate

2011–12 University of Warwick, Coventry
WMG, Experiential Engineering, Research Fellow

2010–12 Brunel University, Uxbridge
Cleaner Electronics Research Group / Centre for Design Research, Research Assistant


2007–13 Brunel University, Uxbridge
PhD, Design

2004–5 University of Cambridge
MPhil, Technology Policy

2000–4 Brunel University, Runnymede
BSc (Hons) Industrial Design Engineering with professional development

Design Practice

2011–date Requisite Variety, Windsor / Twickenham
Workshops, consultancy and research for clients including Autodesk, Frog Design, Philips Research and West Sussex County Council

2004–7 Dan Lockton Research, Design & Engineering, Datchet
Design, R&D and writing for clients including Sinclair Research, Tangerine and Mayhem

2002–3 Daka Research (UK) Ltd and Sinclair Research Ltd, Coulsdon
Industrial design engineer, lightweight transport


2015–date Rice University, Houston / Copenhagen
Lecturer / course leader, Urban Sustainability & Livability European summer programmes, commissioned

2014–date Kingston University, Kingston
Lecturer, MA Creative Industries and Creative Economy, Kingston Business School. Running Start-Up weekend, 2-day workshops

2014 Hamad bin Khalifa University, Doha
Facilitator, Social Innovation Bootcamp, 2014

2013–date Royal College of Art, London
Visiting tutor for MA Design Products and MA Service Design, running two AcrossRCA cross-college week-long programmes, and college-wide tutorials on design and behaviour research

2013–14 Imperial College London
Guest lecturer for Design-led Innovation & New Venture Creation (MEng)

2011–12 University of Cambridge
Visiting instructor for Seminars in Technology Policy, MPhil Technology Policy, Judge Business School

2010–12 Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London
Visiting practitioner for Graphic Design and Service Design short courses

2007–12 Brunel University, Uxbridge
Lecturer, Environmentally Sensitive Design (BA/BSc), Sustainable Design (MSc); Teaching assistant, Analogue Electronics (BA/BSc)

Other visiting and guest teaching:

2015 Hans Sauer Foundation, Munich, Visiting tutor and speaker for Social Design Elevation Days
2015 University College London, guest speaker, UCL Centre for Behaviour Change and 2012 UCL Behaviour Change month
2014 ETSAV, UPC Barcelona, Visiting lecturer, Sustainability Summer School
2014 Chalmers TH, Gothenburg, facilitator, sustainability hackathon
2014 Open University, Guest lecturer, Faculty of Maths, Computing & Technology
2011 Parsons The New School for Design, New York, guest speaker, MFA Transdisciplinary Design
2011 University of Oxford, guest speaker, Saïd Business School, Designing Better Futures (Saïd MBA + London College of Communication MDes)
2011 NTNU, Norwegian University of Science & Technology, Trondheim, Guest lecturer, Sustainable Product Design
2011 Brunel University, Uxbridge
Guest lecturer / workshop facilitator, 2011, undergraduate HCI module, School of Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics
2010 Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, guest speaker
2010 University of Twente, Enschede, guest speaker and workshop facilitator, 3TU Design for Usability project

Professional activities

—External examiner, PhD, for Monash University, Melbourne, 2015.
—Internal examiner for MPhil-PhD transfer exams, Royal College of Art, 2015.

—Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA), 2008.

—Mentor for Clearleft, Brighton, internships 2015.
—Mentor for IxDA Student Challenge, 2012, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology
—Mentor for Global Service Jam, 2012

—Judge for Sustain RCA Awards 2015, Royal College of Art
—Judge for Core77 / Autodesk / iFixit Design For (Your) Product Lifetime Student Challenge, 2012
—Judge for Chelsea College of Art & Design, MA Designing Interactions Student Design Challenge, 2012
—Judge for Forum for the Future / BUPA Spark! Competition, judge, 2012

Journal, book proposal and conference paper reviews for Ashgate, Earthscan, Applied Ergonomics, Ergonomics, Computers in Human Behavior, International Journal of Design, Journal of Design Research, The Design Journal, International Journal of Sustainable Engineering, Sustainability, Philosophy & Technology, Scan: Journal of Media Arts Culture, Journal of Economic Surveys, Review of Behavioural Economics, CHI 2013, CHI 2014, Ubicomp 2014, DRS 2014, NORDES 2015, IASDR 2015, Include 2013, EPIC 2013 and Hawai’i International Conference on System Sciences.

Conference experience co-chair for DRS 2016, Brighton; Member of committees for Persuasive 2015, IIT Institute of Design, Chicago, EcoDesign 2015, Tokyo and DRS 2016, Brighton. Founding committee member for Design Research Society Sustainability SIG.

Knowledge exchange

Design for Action, Washington, DC, 2015, keynote
Product Tank London, 2015, presentation
Keep Britain Tidy Centre for Social Innovation, launch event, 2015, presentation
Green Sky Thinking, Max Fordham, 2015, presentation
London Behavioural Economics Network, 2014, presentation
IxDA London, 2014, presentation
OgilvyChange ‘Nudgestock 2’ 2014, keynote
V&A Digital Futures, 2014, presentation
UK Art Science Prize, 2014, project inspirer
Stannah (with HHCD), workshop facilitation & presentation
Philips Research, Eindhoven, workshop facilitation & presentation
Jaguar Land Rover (via WMG), workshop facilitation & presentation
Unilever, Lifebuoy behaviour change idea generation workshop invited participant
National Policing Improvement Agency (with IDEO and the RSA), workshop facilitation & presentation
Modern Built Environment Knowledge Transfer Network, workshop facilitation & presentation
UX London 2010, two workshops
dConstruct 2011, workshop
Stanford University Persuasive Technology Lab, at Persuasive 2010, Copenhagen, workshop
Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust at the Design Council, London, workshop
More Associates at the Department of Energy & Climate Change, London, workshop
Ripple PRD for West Sussex County Council and Crawley Borough Council, workshop
UX People 2011, London (Zebra People), workshop
IxDA Interaction 12 conference in Dublin, workshop
R/GA, London, presentation
Ubisoft, Paris, presentation
Dyson, Malmesbury, presentation
Spice Innovations, London, presentation
HMRC, London, presentation
QinetiQ, Sevenoaks, presentation
Microsoft Research, Cambridge, presentation
Marks & Spencer, London, presentation
Engine Service Design, London, presentation
UFI Learndirect, Sheffield, presentation
EMC Consulting, London, presentation
Lost My Name, London, presentation
Foviance, London, presentation
Design Council, London, presentation
Technology Strategy Board at Innovate '11, presentation

Awards and grants

Principal Investigator, ‘Understanding Human Connectivity and the Quantified Self’ (with Dr Kathryn Buchanan, University of Essex), RCUK Sustainable Society Network+ Development Grant, January 2015

Co-Investigator, ‘Creating Sustainable Innovation through Design for Behaviour Change’ (PI: Professor Kristina Niedderer, University of Wolverhampton), AHRC research grant AH/L013525/1, March 2014  

AT Kearney Global Policy Council scholarship, Oxford Futures Forum, 2014

Lead researcher (from sandpit participation), ‘Empower: Empowering Energy Efficiency through Empathic Design’, Technology Strategy Board Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform (PIs: Professor David Harrison, Brunel University; Dr Rebecca Cain, University of Warwick), 2010

International Travel Grant, Royal Academy of Engineering, 2009


Please see the list here.

dan@danlockton.co.uk | October 2015