Neal sees design and design thinking not as a creative afterthought but as a core business tool which is able to convene teams, align perspectives and generate positive change in organisations.
This is especially true when design is used strategically alongside data, involving the C-suite, co-creating with employees, and thinking from a customer perspective about their end-to-end experience. In 2009 Neal founded leapSTONE. It is a specialist business which uses design and creativity to cut through complexity and help its clients better understand their customers’ needs; develop creative solutions to those needs; and align teams whilst embedding new approaches in the process.
Neal has used design and design thinking in different ways across many sectors from hospitality to healthcare including: InterContinental Hotels Group (guest experience and innovation); LOCOG (London 2012 Olympic Torch); European Broadcast Union (applied design thinking and innovation); NHS England (reducing violence in A&E and innovating primary care experience); Innovate UK (Design for Growth); CERN (Ideasquare); conservation charity WWF-UK; Great North Eastern Railway (GNER); World Animal Protection; UK Department for Transport (high speed trains); BBC; Samaritans (research, innovation and design-led proposition development); European Broadcast Union; Warwickshire County and Harrow Councils; Southwestern Railway; and publisher Thames and Hudson.
Neal is the former Head of Design for British Airways where he led the design of the world’s first flat beds in business class. He is an associate of the UK Design Council; a member of the Design Management Institute; a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce; and a visiting tutor at the Royal College of Art. He has taught about design and innovation at London, Cambridge Judge and Imperial College Business Schools.