Irene McAra McWilliam
Irene McAra McWilliam is Head of the School of Design at the Glasgow School of Art. With over 17 years experience of leadership in Philips Electronics, she leads ‘Design Innovation Scotland’, a network of excellence in the area of innovation with membership which includes the Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland, BT, the University of Glasgow, the University of Strathclyde, Gray’s School of Art, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and Scottish Enterprise. She has developed a project called Distributed City aimed at creating distributed enterprises across key sectors in the Highlands and Islands region together with SME’s, HIE, MIT and key university contacts in Scotland. She is also working on the project ‘Creating Cultures of Innovation’ with the Institute of Directors in Scotland focusing on innovation in industry with business leaders.
As Director of Design Research at Philips Electronics in the Netherlands, Irene McAra McWilliam envisioned and directed Philips global design research programme and initiated key research projects with collaborative teams of research scientists, business developers and designers in Philips technology laboratories in Eindhoven, London and New York. She created and coordinated the European Commission’s research theme ‘Connected Community’ to create sustainable communities supported by networked technologies.
Before starting in Glasgow in September 2005, she was Professor and Business Fellow in Innovation at The Royal College of Art in London and Head of the RCA’s Interaction Design Department. She was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 2002 and Honorary Professor of Design Research at the Industrial Design Department of the University of Technology in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
Professor McAra McWilliam is a frequent speaker at government, industry and academic events and international conferences. She has been voted one of fifty top design leaders by the UK’s ‘Design Week’ magazine. She is a specialist in Design Innovation and is an advisor to industry and government on creativity, networked technology and innovation.