Design innovation leader gives insights at school’s virtual business network event

Pocklington School welcomed former pupil, Professor Steven Kyffin (70-77), Pro Vice-Chancellor (Business and Enterprise) of Northumbria University to its latest Careers and Business Network event.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 6:00 pm
Guest speaker Professor Steven Kyffin.
Guest speaker Professor Steven Kyffin.

During the live Zoom Q&A session hosted by headmaster Toby Seth, Prof Kyffin spoke openly about his philosophy and motivations as a designer, innovator and leader gained through his wide-ranging career, which has also included senior leadership roles at Philips Electronics in the Netherlands and London’s Royal College of Art.

Prof Kyffin attributed his passion for design to his family who were all makers and crafts people. Pocklington School’s Design Centre was also a huge influence.

In particular, he credited his art and design teachers, the late Nigel Billington and John Jeffery, with embedding a spirit of creativity and resilience in him during those formative years.

Prof Kyffin also shared with guests his insights into successful leadership, how to overcome barriers to innovation and the differences and similarities when managing and leading corporate and academic institutions.

On innovation, he explained that, in his view, the biggest challenge is the paradox of human nature; on the one hand looking at things in a new way with a view to changing the world for the better and on the other our resistance to that change, and how both can be supported to achieve overall success.

Prof Kyffin said: “I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the Network event; Pocklington helped set me on my life path so it was an honour to be invited back to share my experiences with the Pocklington School community as well as reconnect with some of my contemporaries.”

Mr Seth said: “It was a fascinating evening and thank you so much to Steven for providing us with a huge range of thoughts and ideas and some big thinking about leadership and innovation.

“He gave some really valuable and honest insights into his own personal development, something which will be particularly inspiring both now and in the future for the sixth form students who attended the event.”