Creative Leaders 50: Creative thinking in social change

CR has just released its Creative Leaders 50 list, celebrating those we believe are driving change through creativity. Here we highlight those who are using creative thinking to help achieve social change


One of the most important uses of creativity is to help drive change for the better in society. This can be on the level of major change, where design is being used to address issues ranging from healthcare to the environment, for example. Or it can come in the form of support for small creative businesses and individuals by providing affordable workspaces as well as advice and training.

In our Creative Leaders 50 list this year, which is created by CR is partnership with Workfront, we recognise individuals who are working in both these areas, to help bring positive changes and developments across society. You can read more on their work below.

Rama Gheerawo, Director at Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at London’s Royal College of Art focuses on how design can address society’s toughest issues, ranging from ageing and healthcare to seeing how new forms of technology such as AI can benefit humanity. In his work, Gheerawo looks at how design can instigate positive change in individuals and organisations, and he has trained thousands of people, including 600 civil servants, to date.

Rama Gheerawo

James Leay, Managing Lead at Make Shift Make Shift started life as the management team at Pop Brixton, turning an empty car park in the heart of Brixton into a new destination that now houses around 50 small businesses working in food, retail, social enterprise and the creative industries. The organisation has since built a reputation for transforming underused and derelict spaces into projects that support local start-ups, creatives and community groups. Some of its biggest projects to date have included Pop Brixton and Peckham Levels, which provides affordable workspaces for creative and entrepreneurs.

James Leay

Carolyn Dailey, Founder of Creative Entrepreneurs Creative Entrepreneurs was set up to help creatives turn their ideas into successful businesses. Launched in 2016, it started out as a website gathering business advice and now offers training courses, events and a membership scheme.

Carolyn Dailey

Naresh Ramchandani, Partner at Pentagram / co-founder Dothegreenthing Ramchandani set up environmental charity Dothegreenthing with Andy Hobsbawm in 2007, which he continues to run alongside his work at Pentagram, where he’s been a partner since 2012.

Naresh Ramchandani

James Gilchrist & Beth Wilson, Directors at Warriors Studio James Gilchrist and Beth Wilson are the founders of Graphic Design Festival Scotland, an annual design event in Glasgow, attracting 150,000 participants, attendees and visitors over the past four years. GDFS has a focus on participation and collaboration: students and graduates are invited to work on creative briefs under guidance from established Scottish studios and participants can take part in one and two-day workshops with designers, illustrators, printers and zine-makers from around the world.

James Gilchrist & Beth Wilson

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