We use the design process because it is a powerful, human-centered approach to understanding how things work.
It enables those that participate to have real empathy for who they’re designing for.
And at the same time, it is a very creative process, enabling real collaboration, openness, awareness and space for rapid results.
Organizations approach us typically in one of two stages:
One is knowing and saying, “We need to change. Help us. Show us how.”
This might be an organization that wants to scale, and accelerate their impact in the Sub-Saharan.*
The other is knowing and saying,
“We need to innovate. Please help us identify where and how.”
This might be a 10bn dollar Japanese manufacturer that wants to define its future. And wants to adapt to meet that future.*
* True stories. Real projects.
We consult, design and incubate for our clients. We create businesses to solve problems, and design the products or services and brands that they provide.
We redesign systems to improve the way businesses, organizations (and even supply chains) create meaningful impact in the world.
We've worked across industries, sectors, and countries. From manufacturing, food systems, non-profit & Foundations, to for- profit entities.
We strive to help people think about the world we live in. We think our work is a great example of this. We've had tremendous success for over 20 years of doing so.
We partner with our clients to understand their purpose and goals. To truly have empathy for their community. And then in an appropriate way, design together a new future for them & their people, customers & community.
We help organizations understand who they really are, what they want to be, and how to do it better.
We help them define and articulate their values, goals and their relationship to their clients (funders) & each other.
We give them a language to talk about themselves, evidence of how to see themselves and a visual template to express themselves.
We deliver solutions that range from starting up new businesses, designing tools for transformation, to partnering with our clients to actively participate in the field delivering their solutions.
In some cases, we’ve been asked to design solutions to transform the entire industry our client is invested in.
We were asked to study the seafood industry to look for systemic solutions for transforming it.
Partnering with Ashoka and The David & Lucile Packard Foundation. We used the design process to study the entire fishing industry.
We designed five different ways to redesign the supply chain to make an impact within 10 years.
The result was five new businesses, and an incubator to launch them. Which is being implemented currently.
We partnered with Ashoka Changemakers to help them understand who they were, what they do and how to do it better.
The outcome was language to describe themselves, their values and their relationships with each other and their community.
We expressed this in a new identity for them, and designed a business unit for them, based on the new understanding of their value.
We tested the business concept with them, and together won the largest grant they’d ever received.
We were asked by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation to study their process for grant making and improve it.
Using the design process, working together, we studied how they work and why. Together, we generated ideas for an ideal future of working, grant making and program development. We taught them all the tricks and ways in which we know to be creative in teams and individually.
We redesigned the tools they use to be better program officers and associates. We helped them integrate the tools internally while evaluating their success, and making updates.
We worked with the Silverado Winery to understand their customers in order to design better experiences for them.
Through research and storytelling we worked together to create a framework for understanding the states of mind customers have when visiting. We helped them understand how to respond to their customers better, as well as design more meaningful experiences for them.
We delivered a retail experience blueprint for them to redesign their winery retail space.
We partnered with Urban Re:Vision to help them completely transform themselves in order to achieve their goal.
Over a two year long period, we developed the products and tools they needed to relaunch themselves. We developed the business models for them to be able to appropriately scale and create sustainable impact. We helped to define and hire the team to launch them, while managing their services.
We’re testing the tools we developed for them, in the field. In Haiti, Cambodia and Japan.
We’ve worked across industries, sectors, and countries. From manufacturing, food systems, non-profit & Foundations, to for-profit entities.
We’ve worked on projects throughout Europe, Japan, Korea and the US.
Our teams are multi-disciplinary. We use journalists, architects, business strategists, designers, film-makers, storytellers and anthropologists to make up our teams.
Teams on our projects can vary from three to four core consultants, to thirty at any one time.
Our offices are designed for creative collaboration, workshops as well as focused study and research.
We write about the design process. We teach the design process at Stanford University. We’ve been published on the design process. We continue to study and evolve the process.
We’re based in Sausalito, CA. Just over the Golden Gate Bridge, north of San Francisco in Marin County. Our offices are situated in a marina, next to a lot of boats and a fantastic French bistro.
We work well with others. Our projects tend to be large and lengthy, inviting lots of opportunity to collaborate and partner with other consultants, firms and design studios. As such, we have an enviable list of partners, friends, collaborators and people we work with.