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David Dunne

Alliance Partner, Design Thinking Educator

Since the start of his career, David has been fascinated by two things: human behaviour and innovation. These twin passions have shaped his professional life.

From his early years as a marketing manager with Unilever in London, he learned the value of questioning assumptions and deeply understanding customers. He took this knowledge into advertising, where he worked on global brands with Young & Rubicam. But the opportunity to develop new products gave him scope to turn deep knowledge into creative solutions, and he flourished as a new product manager with Lipton and Lever in Toronto.

His interest in teaching led him into a mid-career Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. In academia, he won national and university teaching awards and taught students and executives around the world. His teaching is all about engaging to reflect: working in teams on projects, students not only learn problem-solving skills but gain self-understanding.

In his career at the Rotman School of Management he became intrigued by how designers reframe wicked problems through understanding users, and generate creative solutions. He has published widely on design in business and spent sabbaticals at IIT Institute of Design in Chicago and TU Delft. He consults on user-centred design to healthcare institutions, private-sector companies and nonprofits.

He co-founded Radius at Simon Fraser University, an initiative that applies design thinking to social problems and incubates promising ideas. He travels frequently to Nepal, where he works with an NGO dedicated to improving rural health and promoting peace.

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Robert Johnston