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Global Innovation Design (MA/MSc)

David Harris

Hi, I’m David, a product designer and venture builder. I create platforms, services and experiences that facilitate wellbeing and human connections.


I’m currently the Head of Product Design at Joy, a health-tech startup connecting health care systems and community services. 

Previously I worked as a strategy consultant and designer with FTSE100, Fortune 500 and big tech companies, with a focus on developing, launching and scaling corporate ventures and new technology products. 


MSc/MA Global Innovation Design – 2021 (Royal College of Art & Imperial College)

BSc Business & Marketing - 2016 (City, University of London & Robert H Smith School of Business, University of Maryland College-Park)

Vision: Designing for wellbeing and human connection

Over the last two years, I have been addressing increasing levels of loneliness and isolation experienced by millions of people around the globe and developing solutions that tackle the resulting health consequences, in particular mental wellbeing. My work has been driven by a desire to build towards a future where technology is designed to enhance psychological wellbeing and facilitate more meaningful human connections.

Mission: Building tools that support people and strengthen local communities

I create platforms, services and experiences that promote positive interactions between people and empower individuals to influence their psychological wellbeing. I also equip local authorities and health care providers with new systems to deliver more effective and measurable wellbeing interventions.

Human-centred design x social enterprise 

I strongly believe in the potential of social enterprise to lead long-lasting change in society and local communities. My ambition is to develop viable and scalable support systems, which prioritise the human experience, whilst satisfying the requirements and needs of diverse stakeholder groups. 

How might we rediscover our purpose after retirement?

NEXT (short for “The Next Chapter”) is a digital platform that connects people transitioning into retirement and enables them to find a new purpose in life by starting impactful community projects with others. 

The motivation behind NEXT was to support people’s wellbeing through this major and sometimes disruptive life transition by improving access to meaningful activities that build on the individual’s lifetime of skills and offering an opportunity to expand social connections.

Starters love to initiate projects
Contributors seek meaningful activity
Connecting Starters and Contributors
Community projects run by teams of local citizens
Starters introduce their projects
Starters introduce their projects
Contributors find roles and connect with Starters
Contributors find roles and connect with Starters

NEXT was developed through a human-centered approach, involving 11 participants and over 20 interviews. The platform makes it easy to connect with like-minded people to start or become involved in project-based, team-oriented, and hyperlocal initiatives.

The Joy App creates a digital ecosystem around Social Prescribing that enables individuals to access life-changing services faster. The system generates real-time outcome data (e.g. wellbeing improvement, health needs, service performance) that informs strategies and allows decision-makers to prove the efficacy of their Social Prescribing Programme. As the Head of Product, I designed the Joy platform and oversaw its development. Joy is currently being used by the NHS, local authorities and charities.

A pen pal 15 min from your home
Conversation prompts guide pen pals to share something personal
Surprise invitation to events hosted by local businesses
Reduced paper waste through reusable seed paper
Pal supports the local economy
Pal makes communities feel more like home

Inspired by my exchange semester in New York, ‘Pal’ creates a fresh spin on traditional pen pal schemes, designed specifically to build more meaningful human connections and cohesive communities in local neighbourhoods of large metropolitan areas.

Pal is an intervention that encourages residents to develop intimate relationships with pen pals who live within 15 minutes walking distance from their home. Users can also get together with other participants at event experiences hosted by independent businesses and organisations in the local area. ‘Pal’ revitalises the local economy and can support national causes, such as campaigns to save the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Learn about and design new rituals
Ritually understands abstract needs…
… and recommends actions you can take
For example, designing your own ritual artefact
'Small Moments' gratitude ritual
Ritually encourages ongoing reflection

‘Ritually’ is a digital assistant for personal ritual creation that enables you to establish new patterns of behaviour or thinking playfully, for instance through designing your own ritual objects. Using the principles of ritual design, ‘Ritually’ provides guided reflections and inspirational tools that allow you to develop unique and meaningful personal practices, rather than generic routines you may give up after a few weeks.

This mechanical creature seeks to destigmatise loneliness by telling the story of ‘Stanley’, a lonely anglerfish who evolves into a land creature to escape the darkness of the deep sea and make new friends.

Royal Commission for the Exhibition 1851

Industrial Design Studentship