Martin Ryan

Design Innovation

On Career Break

Rye Hall
B - 2nd Floor
(01) 708 6346


Martin is programme director for the Product Design degree, lecturer and researcher in the Department of Design Innovation and editor of Ireland's only design journal, Iterations. Martin lectures on a number of post graduate programmes and to industry groups on topics of entrepreneurship, design thinking, service design and innovation. His research interests centre on Design Thinking and early stage innovation processes.

Outside of academia, Martin is a multi-award winning designer and entrepreneur. In 2012 Martin founded BUA saddles – A revolutionary equestrian saddle which he conceived and developed to improve performance and comfort for horse and rider. Bua saddles launched its first product to market in 2015, quickly establishing a customer base in 18 countries. Martin is also a founding Partner at Actionable Innovation consultants ( and advises on innovation processes, design thinking, [product and service design across a variety of organisational sectors. Over the years Martin has acclaimed a number of awards, notably including, the Irish Dyson Design Award, IDI Graduate Designer Award, and finalist in the International Volvo Sports Design Award. 

Research Interests

Design Thinking, Innovation Strategies, User Centered Design, Early stage innovation processes, Entrepreneurship and startups

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2018 Kiernan, Alen; Robbins, Peter; Devitt, Frank; Vaugh, Trevor; Ryan, Martin; Koffel, Rachael (2018) 'How Irish design consultancies align with Ireland's Innovation 2020 priorities: a preliminary study'. ITERATIONS Design Research and Practice Review, (7):18-25. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Ryan, Martin; Vaugh, Trevor (2018) 'Design-driven Entrepreneurship; An interview with four Irish designer-founders'. ITERATIONS Design Research and Practice Review, (7):36-43. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Ryan, Martin; Vaugh, Trevor (2018) 'Design thinking, the driver of innovation in Irish industry; An interview with Denis Hayes, Managing Director of the IRDG'. ITERATIONS Design Research and Practice Review, (7):46-51. [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2015 Vaugh, Trevor and Ryan, Martin (2015) 'Getting the right design or getting the design right; An observation of 18 projects progressing through a structured design thinking process'. 1 (1):14-21. [Full-Text]

Conference Publication

Year Publication
2017 Devitt.F, Ryan.M, Robbins.P, Vaugh.T (2017) The ISPIM Innovation Summit – Building the Innovation Century . In: The ISPIM eds. Unlocking Design Thinking’s Potential Melbourne, Australia, 10/12/2017- 13/12/2017 [Full-Text]
2014 Martin P. RYAN and Frank DEVITT (2014) Design Management in an Era of Disruption: Proceedings of the 19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference . In: Erik Bohemia, Alison Rieple, Jeanne Liedtka, Rachel Cooper eds. An Investigation into Design Thinking Behaviours in Early Stage Radical Innovation London, 02/09/2014- 04/09/2014 [Full-Text]

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2019 Martin Ryan (2019) Revenue Conference 2019 Design Thinking: Exploring the problem and finding human centred solutions Dublin Castle, 10/12/2019-10/12/2019.
2019 Martin Ryan (2019) Design Thinking Ireland 2019 Innovating one of the world’s most traditional industries through design thinking: The story of the Bua Saddle Croke Park, Dublin, 25/06/2019-.
2015 Martin Ryan, Trevor Vaugh (2015) Faultlines - Bridging Knowledge Spaces Getting The Right Design Carlow Institute of Technology, .
2014 Martin Ryan (2014) 19th Academic Design Management Conference Design Management in an Era of Disruption London, .
2013 Martin Ryan (2013) Design Thinking Innovation Strategies - How Good Innovations Emerge Engineers Ireland, .
2009 (2009) The Value of Design in Industry User First Design Seminar National College of Art & Design, .
2008 (2008) Are there advantages to a cantilevered saddle over traditional English and western type saddles? International Society of Equitation Science Conference 2008 RDS, Dublin, .

Technical Publication

Year Publication
2016 LACEY, W.V. and CONBOY, A. and Ryan, M.P. (2016) A saddle tree and a method for limiting upward travel of a seat forming element relative to a back engaging element of the saddle tree. TP
2008 Ryan, M.P. (2008) Saddle for an Animal. TP
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2023) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
Institute of Designers, Ireland Member -

Honors and Awards

Date Title Awarding Body
01/01/2005 Winner of IDI Graduate Designer Award Institute of Designers of Ireland
01/01/2007 Bombay Sapphire Design Award, runner up Bombay Sapphire
01/01/2005 Winner of the Irish Dyson Design Award Dyson
01/01/2006 Finalist, ISPO Volvo sport Design Award, Munich ISPO
01/01/2007 DuPont 40/40 DuPont
01/01/2006 Enterprise Ireland Student Award Enterprise Ireland
01/03/2016 JEC World Innovation Award 2016, winner JEC Composites
01/01/2016 Seedcorn Competition, highly commended Intertrade Ireland
01/01/2016 Postgrad Ireland 'Best New Course 2016' for the MSc in Design innovation Postgrad Ireland
01/01/2016 IDI Collaborative Award for Iterations Design & Practice review Institute of Designers of Ireland


Committee Function From / To
Teaching & Learning committee Member 01/01/2014 -
Maynooth Green Campus Comittee Member 01/02/2012 - 01/09/2015

Teaching Interests

PD102/PD152 Design modelling: material and virtual
PD402C Final year individual project proposal
PD402B Final year individual design project
PD608 Applied innovation lab
PD620 MSc Level 9 Masters Dissertation

PD206 Computer aided design & visualisation 
PD212 Innovating radical products and brands
PD304 Design for environment and sustainability
PD106 Design conceptualisation and model making