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Portrait of Dr David Swann Dr David Swann | 01484 472522


David Swann joined the University and the School of Design Technology as a lecturer in 1993. Co-founded the BA(Hons) Transport Design course in 1997. As course leader, he supervised and macro-managed a final year student design project that lead to the creation of the Toniq R sports car. Recent activities include the commercialization of his award winning and internationally patented 21st century nursing bag, and the design of a new, affordable syringe device to reduce unsafe injection practices in developing countries - a practice that kills over 1.3 million people each year.

David is a Reader in Design and the Subject Area Leader for Product Design and Interior Design at the University of Huddersfield.

Research and Scholarship

Subject specialism: Design
Design Research specialism: Healthcare design, global healthcare innovation and frugal innovation. Member of the RCA’s EPRSC funded ‘Smart Pods’ team, A two-year multi-institutional research project was a precursor to the RCA’s Redesigning the Emergency Ambulance project that recently won the Design Musuem’s Transport Design of the Year 2012.

David has a PhD by practice awarded by the Royal College of Art (2011) and graduated with a MDes Industrial Design (with distinction) from the RCA (1991). David’s research and design outputs have received nationally and internationally recognition: Design Museum's Designs of the Year 2014 nomination; Winner of the 2014 International Council for Societies of Industrial Design's World Design Impact prize; INDEX: Design to Improve Life Finalist 2013 & 2011; Department of Health, commended innovation (2011); Winner of the 2011 Helen Hamlyn Design Award for Creativity; Conran Foundation Design Award finalist 2011; Nominated for a James Dyson Fellowship Award 2011; INDEX’s Design Awards finalist 2011; IDSA International Design Excellence Award Finalist 2010; Medipex NHS Innovation Award Finalist 2010. In addition, his innovations have featured on BBC World News, exhibited worldwide and published by the NHS Institute for Innovation & Improvement as a case study exemplars. A request to conceive conceptual healthcare gadgets for the futuristic sci-fi thriller Babylon AD starring Vin Diesel and Michelle Yeoh sparked David’s interest in the emerging discipline of healthcare design practice.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Unver, E., Swann, D. and Paxman, R.(2015) Exhibition Narrative: Scalp Cooling Cap 2015 MedTech Exhibition,Ireland [Show/Exhibition]

Unver, E., Silkstone, R. and Swann, D. (2015) Design, development, and prototyping of a bike chain & gear mechanism cleaning product Sentini Marine (Unpublished)


Swann, D (2013) ‘Designing Out Curative Syringe Reuse: Maximising Global Acceptance and Impact by Design’. In: 2nd European conference on Design4Health, 3-5 July 2013, Sheffield Hallam University

Swann, D (2013) Mobilising Healthcare (ROTOR) [Show/Exhibition]

Unver, E., Swann, D., Bailey, R., Govindarajan, I. and Dollan, F. (2013) The Art of 3D Sculpted Printing : Royal Coat of Arms Case Study [Artefact]

Unver, E., Howard, C. and Swann, D. (2013) ‘Design & Development of Scalp Cooling Cap’. In: Smart Scalp Cooling Symposium, 16 May 2013, 3M Buckley Innovation Centre , Huddersfield, UK

Swann, D (2013) 21st Century Nursing Bag (Healthcare Innovation Expo) [Show/Exhibition]

Unver, E., Howard, C., Swann, D. and Stockton, G. (2013) Design, development and prototyping of portable Potty as part of Petit en Suite Child’s Pop-up Privacy Room Huddersfield, UK: University of Huddersfield (Submitted)

Swann, D (2013) Safer Disposable Syringe. GB 555666777.1.


Swann, D. and Unver, E. (2012) Buy, Drink, Recycle, Sell, See [Artefact]

Swann, D (2012) 21st Century Nursing Bag [Artefact]

Swann, D (2012) Three dimensional sterile field [Artefact]

Swann, D (2012) 21st Century Nursing Bag participating in the Index Award Exhibition World Tour 2011-2013 [Show/Exhibition]

Swann, D (2012) Doctor's Bag [Artefact]

Swann, D (2012) NHS at home – delivering consistent care in inconsistent environments NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement

Unver, E. and Swann, D. (2012) The Conceptual Design of a Blister Pack opening tool (Submitted)

Swann, D (2012) ‘Demystifying 21st Century Healthcare Design Practice.’. In: Design for Health. : Gower. .

Swann, D (2012) Self-destruction syringe. GB111222333.


Swann, D (2011) ‘Handling HygieneMade (3.11), pp. 52-53. ISSN 1753-2973

Swann, D (2011) ‘Lego Serious Play Presentation & Workshop’. In: Lego Serious Play: Capturing Service Narratives & Envisioning New Products, 9th November 2011, Sheffield Hallam University

Swann, D (2011) Kaiser Permanante’s Innovation Learning Network’s In-Person Meeting: Co-Designing the Future of Connected Healing [Show/Exhibition]

Swann, D (2011) Copenhagen Design Week 2011 [Show/Exhibition]

Swann, D (2011) ‘Student Invents Portable Nursing Kit, For 21st Century House Calls Co-Design .

Swann, D (2011) European Design 4 Health Exhibition: 21st Century Nursing bag [Show/Exhibition]

Swann, D (2011) ‘Future of healthcare in the bag’. In: Insights 2011, 23rd June 2011, Webinar , p. 59

Swann, D (2011) ‘Humans in the design of nursing bagsHumans in Design .

Swann, D (2011) ‘NHS at home : a co-design research project to develop a 21st century nursing bag’. In: Ergonomics and human factors, 12-14 April 2011, Stoke Rochford, Lincolnshire

Swann, D (2011) ‘NHS at Home: Using Lego Serious Play to Capture Service Narratives and Envision Future Healthcare Products.INCLUDE 2011 Proceedings .

Swann, D (2011) ‘Ergonomics helps shape a 21st-century nursing bagBuilding Better Healthcare .

Swann, D (2011) ‘Home Help: How something as small as a bag could make a big difference in the NHSNew Design Magazine (89), pp. 52-53. ISSN 1472-2674


Swann, D (2010) Link analysis comparing the work flow of a traditional nursing bag against a new bag innovation. (Unpublished).

Swann, D (2010) New Knowledge [Show/Exhibition]

Swann, D (2010) ‘Co-designing a 21st century clinician’s bag to enhance patient safety and to deliver a world-class patient experience in an inconsistent healthcare setting.’. In: Yorkshire Centre for Health Informatics, 5th July 2010, University of Leeds

Swann, D (2010) ‘Bridging the gap between strategy and reality through design’. In: NHS Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Health Authority's Service Reform, 12 May 2010, Blenheim House, Leeds

Swann, D (2010) ‘NHS at Home: 21st Century Clinician's Bag’. In: Patient Safety Congress 2010, 25-26 May 2010, The International Conference Centre, Birmingham

Swann, D (2010) ‘Social action/local careRadar , 1 (1), pp. 28-29. ISSN 2049-4327

Swann, D (2010) ‘In the BagNew Design Magazine (77), pp. 20-23. ISSN 1472-2674


Harrow, D., Thompson, R. and Swann, D. (2009) ‘Smart Pods project - healthcare on the move, treating patients in the community’. In: Healthcare Design 09, October 31-November 3 2009, Orlando, Florida

Swann, D (2009) NHS at Home: Co-designing a 21st-century clinician's bag [Show/Exhibition]

Swann, D (2009) NHS at Home [Show/Exhibition]

Swann, D. and Caldwell, N. (2009) ‘Design Engaging with Healthcare Transformation: A Project, A Pod and A PhDINCLUDE 2009 Proceedings .

Harrow, D., Coleman, R., Matthews, E., Thompson, R., Swann, D., Hignett, S., Jones, A., Benger, J., Caldwell, N. and Petersen, A. (2009) Healthcare on the move Treating Patients in the Community: The Smart Pods Project . London, UK: Royal College of Art. ISBN 978-1-905000-79-1


Swann, D. and Woolcock, M. (2008) Sci-fi gadgets for the film Babylon A.D. [Artefact]


UK Government’s Inaugural GREAT Festival of Creativity, 20-22 May 2014, Istanbul

Design Museum Designs of the Year 2014, 26 March-25 August

Design & Education: Creating the Future with Sir John Sorrell. University Alliance and the Intellectual Property Office hosted by the Design Council, March 25th 2014.

Shortlisted for World Health Organisation 2013. Compendium of Innovation Technologies; Medical Devices & eHealth Solutions for Low Resource Settings

Index Award World Tour 2013-2015: Copenhagen, Singapore, Luxembourg, Helsinki, Bauhaus, Risor, Tallin, Hong Kong.

ROTOR Series: Curation of Mobilising Healthcare at Huddersfield Art Gallery 24 July-August 2013.

'NHS Healthcare at Home' in IDSA (2010):

'New nursing bag to combat infection' in BBC News (22 August 2011):

'21st Century Nursing bag' in INDEX Design Awards: (2011):

Walker, Alissa. 'Portable Nursing Kit, For 21st Century House Calls' Fast Co. Design (December 2011): kit-for-the-21st-century-is-made-forsaving-lives-in-the-field

'Humans in the Design of Nursing Bags' in Humans in Design (24 May 2012): humans-in-the-design-of-nursing-bags

Nurse Beth, 'Anti-bug Medical Bag' in Heart Beat (24 July 2012):

'We can't export healthcare without hygiene' in Public Service (23 August 2012): sp?id=20534

'Home Improvements' in govtoday (29 August 2012):

Innovation Awards and Nominations

2014 Society of Dyers and Colourists Innovation Awards Finalist (SME category)

Winner of the 2014 International Council for Societies of Industrial Design's World Design Impact Prize

2014 Design Museum's Designs of the Year Nomination (Product Design)

2013 INDEX Award Finalist- Design to Improve Life: Body category finalist (8 finalists from 1000+ entries)

2013 INDEX: Design to Improve Life Investment Candidate (1 of 10 candidates from 1000+ entries)

Project Presentation Invitations

Invited Speaker, Designing Creativity- A Methodological Process, Tata Motors European technical Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, 9 April 2014.

Invited Speaker, National Endowment for the Arts, USA 2014, Design Webinar Series- International Design Initiatives, 19 March,1.00pm EST.

Invited Speaker at Design & Impact Workshop, World Design Capital International Design Gala, Cape Town International Convention Center 28 February 2014.

Invited Presenter, Second WHO Global Forum on Medical Devices, 22-24 November 2013, Geneva Switzerland.

Invited Participant, Design for Smart Growth, World Economic Forum, Copenhagen 31 August 2013.

Interviewed (16/ 17th July 2013) by CNN International for a special programme series profiling international designers. The series will comprise a series of 90 seconds vignette films showcasing the innovative solutions designed by finalists for INDEX: Award; a theme week at CNN International and and concludes with a half hour program special in September. The campaign will play to CNN’s television and online audiences in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia Pacific. CNN has a global reach of 2 billion in a total of 200 countries and 271 million households around the world.

Interviewed (8th July 2013) by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DE) for a programme profiling five designers and their design to improve life innovations. DR is watched by 78% of Danes each week. DR aired programme w/c 26th August 2013.

Invited Speaker at INDEX: Design to Improve Life Awards Press Conference, June 6th 2013, Copenhagen.

NHS Calderdale & Kirklees Clinical Executive Board (6 June 2013).

Invited speaker at NHS Innovation Expo, EdExcel Centre (13-14 March 2013).

Invited speaker: Innovation in Healthcare Services Workshop to Norrbotten County Council & National Government representatives from Sweden (7 November 2012)

Yorkshire Centre for Health Informatics, University of Leeds, (5 July 2010).

Yorkshire & Humber Strategic Health Authority, Service Reform Panel(12 May 2010).

'Future Healthcare in the Bag': Webinar presentation Innovation Learning Network, (23 June 2011).

NHS East Yorkshire Primary Care Trust’s Clinical Executive Board (16 June 2011).

Presentation & LSP Workshop at Sheffield Hallam University. 'User-Centred Healthcare Design' in Lego Serious Play: A New Method for Product/ Service Development(9 November 2011):


Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum explains, 2014 is the year of “disruption” in design. “Disruptive innovation interrupts established ways of thinking, diverges from traditional practices and proposes new, unexpected ideas. This might mean silkworms and designers working together, an invaluable red-for-danger disposable syringe, or a public safety announcement that flips us at a touch of an iPhone from the analogue, black-and-white world of Mr Cholmondley- Warner to the colourful, digital age of apps and Kate Moss."

The Craft Council (2014): "As usual, the annual shortlist is divided by subject, namely Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Product and Transport. There are plenty of big names from Zaha Hadid and John Pawson to Konstantin Grcic and Miuccia Prada but also some smaller projects. So when the exhibition opens on the 26 March look out for the ABC syringe designed by David Swann, which makes sterility visible by changing colour when exposed to the air."

Denis Maire (2014) World Health Organization's Health Systems and Innovation Taskforce: "The great advantage of this concept [ABC Syringe] is that not only health care workers but also patients can have a visual appreciation on the safety status of the device. In my view this could be a good deterrent for practitioners to reuse."

Ravi Naidoo, Managing Director of Design Indaba: "This innovation speaks to the endless possibilities of design, creativity and innovation in addressing real-world issues," he said. "In addition to being cost-effective, which will ensure the accessibility of the solution, it also allows patients to take charge of a critical issue — great example of empowerment through smart design." Denis Maire, World Health Organization's Health Systems and Innovation Taskforce: "Anything that can contribute to decrease the reuse of syringes is worth considering and cost is certainly a major factor," he said. "The great advantage of this concept is that not only health care workers but also patients can have a visual appreciation on the safety status of the device. In my view this could be a good deterrent for practitioners to reuse."

Peter Evans (2013) FormerHead of WHO Procurement Worldwide and coordinator of WHO/ UNICEF projects: auto-disable syringes and vaccine vial monitors: ‘Teaching about the perils of reuse of syringes is a fundamental part of medical training and yet, throughout the developing world, reuse continues to be a generally accepted practice. Part of this is because the patient, and the medical professional, are used to the reuse of syringes and there is no immediate feedback that something is wrong. The product you have described, an indicator showing prior exposure to air and therefore non-sterile, is to my knowledge unique.’

Lord Darzi (2012): ‘very impressive project…’

Chris Howroyd (2010), Programme Manager for Health, Design Council: ‘A fascinating project and innovative design, which will no doubt offer clinicians, patients and yourself with many long term benefits.’

Chris Gush (2011), Head of Clinical Innovation and Research at the Royal College of General Practitioners: ‘Currently the majority of medical devices we use are primarily designed for their function with little consideration to cleaning or decontamination- with your bag it’s the inverse.’

Julia Scharper (2009), Service Design Lead at the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement: ‘Your design process and in particular the prototyping session with NHS staff was truly an inspirational example of how co-design and anthropological observation techniques can help tackle service as well as product challenges as defined by patients and staff across a local health community.’

Helen Green, Kirklees Community Healthcare Services:‘The clean and cleanable aspects of it – fantastic in an age of MRSA. The uniformity of the idea - great and I do think the persona/visual smartens and counts, re: why we wear uniforms that look smart as well as practical.’

Bridlington NHS Neighbourhood Care Team Nurses: 'You’d feel like a proper nurse wouldn’t you!'; "I do like that idea.'; 'I think it’s great!'; 'I think it looks very organised, when you walk in and open it, it’s more professional.'; 'I think that’s a great idea [integrated treatment space] especially if it’s just there on the carpet instead of their footstool.'

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Last updated Friday 22 January 2016
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