Director of Design and Innovation
Rowan Conway is the Director of Innovation and Development at the RSA. With the intention of focusing the RSA’s research on real world impact, Rowan is driving the focus of the RSA’s work on the emerging model of change “Think Like a System, Act Like an Entrepreneur”.
Rowan ensures that the RSA is undertaking rigorous, profile raising and influential research and innovation projects and she has been instrumental in the set up of the RSA Lab, an experimental space that uses design methods to explore, prototype and test research insights and policy ideas. She has 20 years’ experience in research, innovation and engagement with communities, businesses and government bodies. She has led a wide range of research and engagement programmes that include: enquiry by design processes for urban design, asset based community development, social enterprise development and impact planning, cross sector partnership working, mental health service design, and environmental sustainability research.
Collaborative and cross-disciplinary by nature, she specialises in participatory action research and has worked with local authorities, NGOs, academic partners, NHS Trusts, corporate businesses and social enterprises, as well as a wide range of central government departments. Originally a business journalist and editor, Rowan became an engagement specialist in 2005, with a specific focus on community involvement and participation. Between 2006 and 2011, Rowan designed and oversaw community engagement for London 2012, working with the host boroughs and the Mayor of London in the planning process for the Olympic Park in London. She holds an MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice from the University of Bath.