Spike Blake blue painting Central Saint Martins UAL. Photo by Alys Tomlinson

With Artificial Intelligence (AI) predicted to be a key driver of growth in the UK economy over the next decade, UAL Professor Lucy Kimbell is helping to investigate how AI can be integrated into law and accounting business models, to develop next generation professional services that have greater productivity and customer benefits.

Business Secretary Greg Clarke announced this week that the research project ‘Innovating Next Generation Services through Collaborative Design’ is one of three successful bids under the Industrial Strategy Challenges Fund (ISCF) Next Generation Services Programme. The research, commissioned by the UK government and funded by the Economic & Social Research Council, will focus on helping the UK adopt new technologies.

The team doing the multi-disciplinary research is led by Professor Tim Vorley from University of Sheffield’s Management School and its co-investigator is Lucy Kimbell, Professor of Contemporary Design Practices at UAL, working in collaboration with management and AI researchers at Sheffield University, Lancaster University Management School, Manchester Business School and industry representatives the Managing Partners’ Forum and futures experts Normann Partners.  Lucy is director of UAL’s Innovation Insights Hub, a project which connects insights and ideas from creative research and practice to contemporary challenges to deliver innovative outcomes for society and business.

Lucy Kimbell said:

“I’m excited about UAL’s role in this ambitious collaborative research project. We will use service design and design thinking to help the research team work with staff in law and accountancy firms and regulators to explore the potential benefits – and implications – of AI for their sectors. We’ll be using the capacity of design to focus on iterative exploration of futures and what new ideas mean for end users.”

Working with mid-size firms across law and accountancy and through insight, existing studies, developments in AI and service design, and analysis of the potential barriers to AI-based business model innovation, the project will explore how law and accounting businesses can think about changing and modernising the way they work through a collaborative design model, with exploratory prototyping of solutions designed in collaboration with firms.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

“The UK is the home of AI – from Alan Turing’s pioneering work to today’s growing use of AI throughout the economy. Artificial Intelligence is changing how we work, live and play. Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we want to build on our history of innovation to develop and deploy AI to create new opportunities and improve services across the whole economy.”

UAL recently launched the Creative Computing Institute (CCI), leading on courses and research to develop advanced creative computing skills and knowledge in areas including creativity and machine learning, human computer interaction, big data, social platforms and digital citizenship; working with partners including Google and the Institute of Coding.


Image shows work by Spike Blake, Central Saint Martins UAL Photo by Alys Tomlinson


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