Blair to head Nowhere after the Design Council

Design Council design and communications director Sean Blair is leaving the council at the end of the year, having already set up a “virtual” company to help organisations innovate their operations.

His role at the Design Council will continue, but, says Design Council chief executive Andrew Summers, it may be spread over a number of posts.

“We will definitely be recruiting new people to replace him,” says Summers. “But we don’t expect it to be a direct replacement… We will be keeping a strong design director role,” which he describes as “absolutely critical” to the council’s work.

Blair has joined forces with five design and organisational specialists to form the Nowhere Foundation, a non-profit making, research-based group which will apply for charitable status. Blair, who becomes director of communication, says the name combines the words “now” and “here”.

The foundation’s aim is “to expand the creative consciousness of society and culture”, says director of creativity, product designer and researcher Nick Udall. The research will be applied via a limited company Limited Nowhere, which will take “a systematic approach to innovation and people”, Udall adds.

The other founders are organisational development specialist Sue Abbotson (director of learning), Cristiaan de Groot (director of design), Ty Francis (director of inspiration), and business visionary Michael Frye (director of change). All future participants will become directors, says Blair. There are also four partnering associates outside the UK.

Blair says Nowhere will have no office. “We will work wherever we need to,” says Blair. Communication will be maintained through e-mail, mobile phones and the website,

Blair, who trained as a product designer before founding Newcastle consultancy Octo, joined the Design Council as design director four years ago. His primary remit was to boost design awareness within small to medium-sized businesses in the UK.

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