David Swann

Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)


Board Member Nominee

We live in a complex world experiencing profound change. Consequently, we, and our disciplinary practice are in a very different place to the world of 1957 or even five years ago. Since 2015, 2.5 million people have made the perilous journey to Europe to seek asylum. One million babies die on the day they are born. And globally, 30 million children are denied schooling due to conflict. What I hope to sketch out here is my not vision but a shared one. As a former World Design Impact Prize Winner, I have co-developed products that have responded the challenges described above; interventions acknowledged by WHO, Unicef and Warchild. I have since recalibrated my view. Disruption arising from social, economic, technological and political uncertainty does not discriminate. The challenges faced by current and future generations, old and new businesses and all governments alike can only be resolved through the adoption of designing thinking and the development of creativity, critical thinking and complex problem solving skills within every child. Plato articulated, to be virtuous, one needs to intelligently use their divine tools to achieve happiness. We own the prerequisite skills but to realise true impact on humanity requires greater advocacy and dissemination.

Member Organization
Sheffield Hallam University



  • PhD in Design- Royal College of Art, 2013
  • MDes Industrial Design, Royal College of Art, 1991
  • BA(Hons) Product Design, Staffordshire University, 1989

Professional Experience
I AM: a professor, maker, researcher, innovator, mentor, manager, leader, emailer, entrepreneur, strategic planner, ambassador, listener, writer, committee member, director, communicator, instagrammer and an industrial designer

Present Occupation
I AM: a Professor in Design, a PhD graduate from the RCA, a World Design Impact Prize Winner. My design research and practice centres upon the co-production of frugal innovations that addresses global challenges