We take an interdisciplinary approach to innovation with a depth in human-centred design and systems thinking.

What is human-centred design?

Human-centred design is a generative innovation process focused on solving the right problems in new ways by keeping people in the centre.

Generative: This sits in contrast to a more traditional, purely analytical approach that might break down a known problem into components and select among known options for solutions to drive efficiency. Generative approaches like HCD are better when we have a poor understanding of the problem and we need fundamentally new options.

Right problems: Understanding and re-framing the brief is a core practice in HCD. In innovation, we often don’t properly understand the problem we need to solve. Often this is because the details of the challenge sit outside of our organisation or experience.

People: This is in contrast to our default perspective, which tends to keep the business, service, or system at the centre. When done well, human-centred design complements quantitative data with ethnographic and qualitative data to build a rich picture of people and context.

Human-centred design works best in contexts of high uncertainty and complexity where the best solutions aren’t immediately obvious.

As a practice, human-centred design a collection of mindsets, tools, and approaches that are constantly evolving in an ongoing, interdisciplinary conversation.


Human-centred design process

Our favourite way to depict the HCD process is an adapted version of the UK Design Council’s “Double Diamond, that shows the generative and analytical aspects of diverging and converging.


Our second favourite way is Damien Newman’s “design squiggle” which shows that the process is never properly linear, but that clarity and focus emerge overt time.


Beyond human-centred

We are keenly aware that an anthropocentric, individualistic, consumer view of the world is precisely the heart of the many of the challenges that our society faces. While we use ‘human-centred design’ as a convenient disciplinary label for the core of our design process, we try to be careful not to over-privilege the human or the individual perspective.

We try to maintain an awareness of the interconnected systems of which we are all a part, with the inherent value of nature apart from humanity and the value of community and society apart from a delightful, individual experience.

We draw from anthropology, systems thinking, qualitative social research, and modern methodologies like action-based research, the lean startup movement, and appreciative inquiry.


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