Rama Gheerawo on becoming a creative leader | Forward Thinkers

10 minute watch
We need to take a radical and immediate relook at leadership today, says Rama Gheerawo, author and director at The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art. And this is because most of leadership today excludes. In this video he talks to The People Space’s editorial director Siân Harrington about how changing leadership changes everything

Creative leadership is for three types of people, says director at The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art, Rama Gheerawo. It's for established leaders and emerging leaders. But, he says, the biggest group of all is those who were never built to be leaders because “they were too female, too non-binary, too quiet, too black, too brown, too different, too introvert.”

This is why we need to take a radical and immediate relook at leadership today, believes Gheeerawo.

“You change leadership, you change everything,” he says. “This started me on an inquiry of, are there different models, different types of leaders that we could invite in, that we can include in the existing dialogue? So it's not just an alpha personality broadcasting from a podium and often saying one thing and doing another.”

In this video interview Gheerawo explains what creative leadership comprises, how it fits with inclusive design and suggests the first three steps leaders can take to become a creative leader.

About Rama Gheerawo

Rama Gheerawo is director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, where he uses design to address issues around age, ability, gender and race. He is author of Creative Leadership: Born from Design. Rama won a ‘Hall of Fame’ award for his work at the Design Week Awards in 2019 and was named a 2018 Creative Leaderby Creative Review alongside Paul Smith and Björk. Rama sits on a number of advisory boards and committees for awards, universities and organisations such as the UK Design Council, The International Association for Universal Design, the Design Management Institute, The Bhavan Institute for Indian Culture and the RSA Decolonising Design Initiative. He has been a visiting professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and the Katowice Academy of Fine Art. 

To download a transcript of this interview – and watch other interviews with leading thinkers on the future of work and leadership as well as accessing other resources – join our Free Future of Work Community here. A longer version of this interview will be available in the Pro Community. You can find out more here.

Published 13 July 2022
Enjoyed this story?
Sign up for our newsletter here.