Mersha Aftab

Accepting PhD Students


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research and Innovation interests

My research expertise is in applying empathy to understand users, stakeholders and people, and my teaching encourages learners to be equal partners in creating inclusive, engaging and transformative experiences. I am also an impact coordinator for the College and the Faculty of Arts Design and Media. 

I have experience using human-centred design as a connector integrator, supporting different disciplines to co-create an understanding of problems and developing solutions. An important strand of my research is the impact of empathy in leading, managing and supporting transformations. I have published in leading national and international design research conferences and journals. I have used design to create meaningful and impactful change within organisations such as Philips, Soil Machine Dynamics, and Unilever. I currently lead the Design-led Transformation Network, which brings together the public, private and higher education sectors to discuss and articulate the role of design in transformation.

Business Engagement interests

My research is embedded in practice. Therefore, I regularly work with industry partners through contract research, knowledge transfer partnerships and collaborative student projects. I have contributed to the design innovation practices in the following companies: Philips, Daimler, Nokia, Airbus, Unilever, BT, Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Fire Service, Lego and Sony Ericsson.

Teaching Interests

I currently teaching on the following subjects:

  • Global Perspectives
  • Design Research
  • Design innovation strategy
  • Professional development
  • Final Project/Dissertation
  • Design Entrepreneurship and Innovation


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