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News Brand expert becomes Staffordshire University’s first Professor of Innovation

A world-leading brand expert is joining Staffordshire University to mentor engineering and design students.

Andrew pictured with members of the School of Creative Arts and Engineering
Image: Andrew pictured with members of the School of Creative Arts and Engineering

I think the opportunity to get people from different disciplines working together is important. Bringing Art and Design into the world of Maths and Engineering is really exciting, especially given where creative technologies are going.

Andrew Lawrence, Professor of Innovation

Andrew Lawrence is Executive Creative Director at global brand consultancy Elmwood where his team have won hundreds of design accolades including Cannes Lions, New York Festivals and Design Week Awards.

Now, Andrew is bringing his industry experience into the classroom as Visiting Professor of Innovation at Staffordshire University and will work directly with students to enhance their skills and employability.

After securing funding from of the acclaimed Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) Visiting Professors Scheme 2019, Staffordshire University is launching the three-year project under the umbrella of “The Creative Connection” to encourage creative knowledge exchange and collaboration across degree courses.

“The University was looking for a Visiting Professor outside of engineering to bring in experience from another industry. I work in design and branding, and what we want to do is bridge the gap between the engineering courses and the importance of brand building.” Andrew explained.

“One of the things we talk about is STEAM – Science Technology, Engineering and Maths with the A for Art as well. I think the opportunity to get people from different disciplines working together is important. Bringing Art and Design into the world of Maths and Engineering is really exciting, especially given where creative technologies are going.”

The project launched this month with Andrew teaching students how to brand themselves to have the competitive edge and he will return regularly to work with students throughout the project.

Nestor Shingler, a first year BSc (Hons) Engineering Design student, said: “To have someone like Andrew come in and talk to us is great, especially right at the start of our course. Branding is so important when it comes to what you stand for and how you want people to perceive you.

“Although we do a lot about functionality and how things work, there is still that aspect of how the user will view the business that’s produced the product. It has been eye-opening.”

Next month, Andrew will return to campus to host a 48-hour design challenge where students from across the School of Creative Arts and Engineering will work together to complete a live design brief within the two days.

Professor Jess Power, Associate Dean of Students, added: “We are delighted to welcome Andrew as our Visiting Professor of Innovation. Elmwood is a world-class company that has worked with major players across the globe. It is inspiring for our students to have the opportunity to be mentored by a global creative brand leader and particularly important for engineering students in the rapidly changing commercial environment.

“Andrew has a wealth of experience from design which we know will enthuse our engineering students and encourage an entrepreneurial mindset to set them apart from other graduates.”

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