Dr Dan Lockton

Dan Lockton is Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University School of Design. He is a designer and researcher specialising in the links between design, understanding, and human action, particularly in relation to social and environmental benefit, drawing on influences from a range of fields including behavioral and decision sciences, human-computer interaction, pattern languages and cybernetics.

Dan is interested in questions of how we interpret, imagine and interact with the world—institutions, the environment, cities, infrastructures, technologies and complex systems around us—how they, in turn, model us, and what the consequences could be for design which seeks to enable human agency as part of transition to more sustainable futures. He is currently writing a practitioner-focused book on these topics, Design with Intent. Alongside CMU, Dan is also a visiting tutor at the Royal College of Art, London.

Dan’s students’ research projects have covered topics including: second-order cybernetics, algorithms and the Internet of Things; design for behavior change around product repair; and applications of synaesthesia in design. His own research focuses on exploring people’s understanding of systems from the environment to government, novel interfaces for energy monitoring and other systems in the home, including sonification and the notion of qualitative interfaces, and more nuanced approaches to ‘behavior’. Much practical 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. Dan regularly speaks and runs workshops at industry events (design, user experience, built environment) and academic conferences, and has done visiting teaching and lectures for a range of institutions, including Rice University (Copenhagen summer program in Engaged Urban Research Methods, 2015 to date), London College of Communication’s Speculative and Critical Design summer school, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Kingston University’s MA in Creative Industries, and the University of Cambridge Judge Business School (MPhil Technology Policy).

Academic positions

2016-date Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: School of Design, Assistant Professor

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

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

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

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

2010–12 Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK:
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

2011–16 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

2014–16 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

2013–16 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


▶ More details on Dan’s areas of research, publications and PhD supervision.
▶ Please do say hello if you’d like to work together, or are interested in studying at Carnegie Mellon.


Between 2013–16, Dan worked at the Royal College of Art, London, first as a senior associate at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design’s Work & City and Age & Ability Labs, and then as a research tutor in Innovation Design Engineering and for other doctoral programs, supervising and advising PhD researchers. He was also a guest tutor in the Master’s programs in Information Experience Design, Textiles, Global Innovation Design, Design Products and Service Design, and part of the RCA’s External Education projects in Sweden, Qatar and the UK. Dan remains a visiting tutor at the College supervising the PhDs of Nazlı Terzioğlu, Chang Hee Lee and Dave Pao. Before the RCA, Dan was a research fellow in Experiential Engineering at WMG, University of Warwick (2011–12) and a research assistant and lecturer in Environmentally Sensitive Design at Brunel University (2010–12).

Dan has been a researcher or investigator on projects bringing together design with societal, community and environmental challenges, including: Legible Policy (2015–16), with Laboratorio para la Ciudad Mexico City, Superflux and the Future Cities Catapult; SusLabNWE (2013–15), a European Union ‘living lab’ collaboration led by TU Delft; Media, Community & the Creative Citizen (2013–15), a Research Councils UK Connected Communities project; Creating Sustainable Innovation through Design for Behaviour Change (2014), funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council; and Empower (2010–12), a collaboration between Brunel University, University of Warwick, startup CarbonCulture and the Department of Energy & Climate Change, funded by the UK Technology Strategy Board. In 2015 Dan was interim project manager for the RCA’s role in GATEway, a driverless vehicle research program. Dan led the editorial team for Creative Citizens’ Variety Pack: Inspiring Digital Ideas from Community Projects (RCA, 2014), was a co-editor of Living Labs: Design and Assessment of Sustainable Living (Springer, 2016) and a co-author of Drawing Energy: Exploring Perceptions of the Invisible (RCA, 2015).

Dan has a PhD in Design from Brunel University (2013), during which he developed the Design with Intent toolkit; a Cambridge-MIT Institute Master’s in Technology Policy from the University of Cambridge (2005); and a BSc in Industrial Design Engineering from Brunel’s former Runnymede design school (2004). Before returning to academia, Dan worked in industry on a range of product design projects, including R&D for Sir Clive Sinclair (on mobility products and some unusual folding bikes), and also wrote a book on the Reliant Motor Company, Rebel Without Applause (Bookmarque, 2003).

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. | October 2016