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Bucolo reappointed to global design research body's board

6 May 2016

Professor Sam Bucolo

Professor Sam Bucolo   Photo: Damien Pleming

Professor Sam Bucolo, who has been driving design-led innovation for business, has been reappointed as Australia’s representative on the board of the global design education and research body Cumulus.

Professor Bucolo is Director, Innovation and Engagement, at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and co-founder of its Design Innovation Research Centre.

Cumulus is a forum for partnership and transfer of knowledge and best practices and has 226 members from 49 countries.

Professor Bucolo is leading the push for design-led innovation in Australia, as it makes the transition from a resources-focused economy to advance manufacturing and knowledge industries.

He recently told ABC Radio National’s Best Practice program that he came up with the term design-led innovation to encourage Australian businesses to move their focus from high-tech solutions to a greater focus on the customer as a source of competitive advantage.


'It can be a beautiful product
but also, I believe, a
beautiful business model'


“As a design-ledbusiness you put your customer first. You have a series of processes and steps to understand your customer and make yourself really relevant to them.”

It’s much more than design as the way something looks, he says.

“Design can be either a noun or a verb. The noun is around artefacts … I’m a product designer myself and I can appreciate design as an artefact.

“But what people often don’t understand is there’s a process to design, a quite structured and disciplined way of starting with your customer, prototyping constantly to understand the options, and then resolving to a really wonderful solution.”

Many people see design as ideation or creativity, but it’s also about execution, he says. “It can be a beautiful product but also, I believe, a beautiful business model.”

You can hear the full interview here.

Professor Bucolo, who was last year an inaugural recipient of an Australian Design Honour, discusses the design-led innovation mindset in his new book, Are we there yet?