About

Let’s start a conversation.
steveleedesign@gmail.com

I’m lucky to do what I do. I get to understand how people live their lives and design services to enable and empower them. I get to explore where the world is headed and help organisations rediscover their purpose and thrive.

I work across the public, private and third sectors with a focus on social innovation and enterprise. I’m a senior design strategy and service design consultant based in London, with regular leaps across the pond to the USA.

Clients & Industries
I help organisations and communities use design to solve complex problems and to apply design thinking in an holistic, sustainable and human way. Clients include NESTA, NHS England, BBC, Samsung, UnitedHealth, Fedex and Transport for London. I continue to work internationally to understand and improve the lives of individuals through health, finance, transport, digital technology, education, the environment and social services.

Employers & Partners
Over the past 2 years I have consulted at Innovation Unit, UnitedWay and Uscreates, and spent four great years at Ziba Design, an international innovation consultancy based in Portland, Oregon. I began my career in London, where I worked at Engine Service Design for three years, Prospect for two, and also had two transformational stints at the UK Design Council.

Studying, Writing & Speaking
I studied Design at Goldsmiths, University of London whilst working as an interaction designer at Imagination. I also enjoy speaking at conferences and working with educational institutions such as the Royal College of Art, Stanford University and Portland State. My writing has featured in publications such as Touchpoint – The Service Design Journal and more recently Design Transitions with my thoughts on the shifts in the understanding and application of design within and outside of the design industry.

I also helped fund and run the Union Cycle Works, making beautiful bespoke bikes whilst helping disadvantaged people learn new skills.

 

work

2016- present: Innovation Unit
Senior Associate

My role at Innovation Unit is at the interface of applying design thinking and scaling social innovation. I am helping major foundations, departments of the NHS and Government to see their world through a different lens, and to apply change that may be radical and in difficult circumstances, but has far reaching effects for our collective wellbeing.

 

2015- present: Uscreates
Senior Associate

My role at Uscreates includes mentoring major charities and social enterprises to apply design thinking and strategy to evolve their proposition. I am helping in the adoption of design processes and thinking improve the services, experiences and outcomes they provide, ultimately helping accelerate and amplify the creation of positive societal change.

 

2011 – 2015: Ziba Design
Senior Service Designer

As a senior service design consultant at Ziba, I helped our clients use design principles and processes to better their business. I was fortunate to work in no fewer than 18 US states and also internationally, across industries ranging from healthcare, financial, tech, education and government. I also worked as part of the Consumer Insights and Trends group, leading ethnography-based research to inform design and strategy, understanding the lives and culture of citizens, communities and companies.

 

2009 – 2011: Prospect
Senior Service Designer

As a Senior Service Designer at Prospect, I headed up their service design offer and worked on some exciting strategic design and service design projects. A major project I led and delivered was the Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network’s (CIKTN) investigation into how academia and the creative industries can better work together. Three comprehensive reports were produced, incorporating hundreds of viewpoints from workshop participants, industry experts and the general public. It defined a vision for the future of knowledge transfer in the UK’s creative industries and identified specific opportunities for exploitation and investment. Read about it on the Prospect website too.

 

2007 – 2009: Engine Service Design
Service Designer

At Engine I spent three years working with some really inspiring people within the burgeoning service design community and had the opportunity to work on some fantastic projects,
from designing and prototyping new ways to co-design schools with the people who will use them as part of the Dott 07 Our New School project, to designing passenger journeys and experiences for BAA such as the Connections Experience. Other clients include the BBC, Samsung and Transport for London (TfL).

 

2005, 2007: Design Council

RED
Junior Designer
RED was a ‘Do-Tank’ within the Design Council to ‘design future public services’. I worked beside some leaders in the field of sevice design, including it’s director and Designer of the Year, Hilary Cothamand consequently learned a great deal about the difference design can make to improve peoples’ lives. With them I re-designed their highly popular blog, helped with project research, filming, photography, workshop collateral and also managed and produced their exhibition at the London Design Festival in 2006.

Technology Campaign (now Designing Demand)
Internship
An extended internship on the Technology campaign, as part of a highly successful student consultancy scheme that provided a range of services (product ideas generation / development, branding, web, interactive programs, graphic design, exhibition design) for technology startups selected by the Design Council. On this initial success, the project evolved into the Design Council’s Designing Demand, which is a national program still running today.

 

2005 – 2007: Imagination
Freelance Interaction Designer

A number of freelance placements over the last two years followed an internship within the Multimedia department involving clients such as Samsung, Ford, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Jaguar, all of which were demanding and required creative vision and skill in programs such as After Effects, Flash and Illustrator.

 

2005: Endemol, Big Brother
Assistant Task Designer / Maker

A work experience placement of high trust, given the nature of the TV show. I worked to extremely tight deadlines and often had to produce work and ideas at a moment’s notice. The best bits were thinking up evil tasks by which the housemates earn their food and also being able to walk into my living room each evening to see my day’s work on the TV!

 

2005: British Council / United Nations
Student Project

The British Council selected five students to travel to Amman, Jordan to collaborate with Jordanian students and academics to exchange ideas about the role of design in society and to produce a campaign to promote the UN Year of the Family, requiring cultural understanding and sensitivity.

 

education

2002 – 2006: Goldsmiths, University of London
BA Design
Eco Design Student Representative 2005-6
Design Student Representative 2003-4

2001 – 2002: Cleveland College of Art & Design
Foundation Course: Distinction

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