Image Credit : Ricardo Vernaglia 2016

What is co-design?

Co-design is working collaboratively to imagine new possibilities or create solutions to worthwhile problems. It works because it marries method with improvisation.

The impulse to co-design springs from:

  • the need to involve many, not few
  • the wickedness or intractability of the problem
  • the wish to be inclusive

When people adopt a co-design approach, they

  • Find problems worth solving
  • Gain permission – for real – to conceive solutions outside the bounds of business-as-usual
  • Use their imaginations more fully in the workplace
  • Make many small bets, fail fast and often, test and learn what works and what’s worth scaling

We’re here to help make such change happen. People and teams become more innovative, more entrepreneurial, more curious about unmet and emerging needs of customers, partners and stakeholders…and better able to connect with those needs through novel solutions. Startup founders and change agents are swifter to move from vision to action, and build aligned teams and effective early-stage partnerships.

We train, we mentor, we coach, we advise and we deliver meaningful training and catalytic team experiences.

A co-design framework

Our co-design practices have evolved at the intersection of engineering, management, entrepreneurship, design and the arts.

KILN’s IdeaKeg for problem-framing and ideas

IdeaKeg is a 3-dimensional trends magazine that companies use to frame braver problems and generate bolder ideas more quickly. IdeaKeg activates the Creative Problem Solving framework taught by Min Basadur (as Simplexity) and at CPSI. People can be effective using IdeaKeg even without formal CPS training.

The world’s largest consumer goods companies have used IdeaKeg, classrooms of the leading USA university for undergraduate engineering use IdeaKeg, just like innovation teams in a range of sectors, notably Whirlpool.

Innovation tool IdeaKeg with items, TrendTrail Notes and Round Cards

An Single Edition of IdeaKeg, available to order from KILN, or as a facilitated service from Throughline

Kate Hammer and Throughline associate Indy Neogy co-invented KILN’s IdeaKeg with Gregg Fraley (and together, founded KILN in 2010).

In 2015, IdeaKeg was a poster at the American Psychological Association annual conference. In 2016 a full session of American Association of Engineering Education addressed using IdeaKeg in university classrooms. IdeaKeg features alongside Adobe Kickbox as a case study of Trend-Driven Innovation (Wiley, 2015).

storyFORMing to flesh out concepts and win buy-in

IdeaKeg takes teams through idea generation. To elaborate concepts and win-buy in, we use storyFORMing. This is a framework Kate Hammer created in 2012. storyFORMing is a visual thinking toolkit specifically designed to help people organise conversations and thoughts into cogent stories. The method galvanises you to create and tell new stories. It will help you and your team see the big picture, by exploring, re-imagining and documenting:

  • the user/consumer insights and new product concepts that are fundamental to your innovation or new product development (NPD) work
  • the principles and practices that define your culture change programme

Once you’ve learned to use the storyFORMing process, you’ll be a better storyteller with a clearer lens on change.

2016 co-design projects include:

  •  Remote consultancy for a retired Chief Human Resources Officer acting as Chief of Staff to the CEO of a national public company in the utilities sector. The need was for a clearer way of communicating about anticipatory mindset. Because utilities is a sector whose age-old customers are, by virtue of their residential solar panels, also becoming suppliers.
  • Team purpose and brand definition for a transdisciplinary learning experiment jointly funded by UK Department for International Development and UK Climate Fund to foster experimentation in small hold farming and the agricultural ecosystem in sub-Saharan Africa. Because climate suitable crops and farming practices are essential as climate variability becomes more extreme.
  • Support for best-in-breed engineering faculty at a top-rated private American university who are innovating how creative problem solving is embedded in undergraduate teaching. This work matters because the world needs engineers who are more curious, more skilled at making unexpected connections and more intentional in the way they contribute to value creation for customers and communities.

This work has spanned London, the United Kingdom, Australia, sub-Saharan Africa and North America.

In H1 2017, Throughline’s focus shifted to Concept Translation.

Design acumen

The sessions Kate Hammer designs and leads are effective immediately, oftentimes memorable over the long haul. Kate galvanises people to do their best work, and step up as leaders and changemakers. As a commercial story designer, Kate helps define the purpose of an innovative offer and communicate it skilfully across audiences.

Kate Hammer also ranks in the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers globally for four years running, one of the few women on the list.

Kate features at international conferences including Intrapreneurship, ISPIM (International Society for Professionals in Innovation Management) Annual Conference, ICOT (International Conference on Thinking), CPSI hosted by the Creative Education Foundation, Planning-ness 2015 and UCD16.

Throughline collaborators and associates share common qualities: imagination, commercial acumen, intelligence and integrity.