Design and Ingenuity Lab

Navigation Menu

we're a design and ingenuity lab. <br />we're here to activate your environment, brand and people.<br />

<br /><br /><br />This is how we do it:<br /><h3>01 Make people curious_ </h3><br />We’re a team of designers, strategists, thinkers and makers with a passion for solving problems by understanding people. We specialize in designing and building interactions in physical and digital spaces. Our single-minded aim is to delight people and differentiate the brands we work with. As a hybrid consultancy, our expertise allows us to merge the practices of management, brand and consumer insight consulting with the capabilities of design, strategy, architecture, digital and creative marketing communications. Driven by the belief that everything communicates, our multidisciplinary approach empowers us to define, design and dramatize brand experiences across the entire value chain and customer journey. Some people call this experiential messaging.<a href=""> We call it fun.</a> <br /><br /><h3>02 Make curious people_</h3><br />For organizations and individuals that want to exercise their ingenuity, we have a recipe. Our hands-on workshops build organizational culture and well-being through activities that empower communication, collaboration and creativity. Here’s our secret sauce for <a href="">cultivating truly great teams.</a>


More work »


More posts »

Gather. Grub. Repeat.

Posted on Aug 28 by

HOW MIGHT WE design a digital experience that 
a person can use to build relationships with their neighbors?… IS THERE A UNIFYING LANGUAGE that cuts across age, job title and cultural background that brings people together?… THE ANSWER APPEARS TO BE YES and the language would appear to be ‘food’. Insight: Great things happen when people eat together. From inspiring conversations to the generation of 
ideas and the forging of new relationships, good food experiences make good friends. And good friends make great neighbors. Put simply, Gather is a system that leverages the power of food and location-based technologies to build relationships and community. The Beginning: Rapid Research. For this thought exercise, I began by listing my assumptions: 1) People like food. 2) People like meeting new people. 3) Our users will have access to mobile technology. 4) Marketing will be done to spread the word about the digital experience. Next, I: 1) Made an idea map exploring the concepts and connections between individuals, neighbors and communities. 2) Crowd sourced the brief by putting the question out to my...


Designing Culture @ Alite

Posted on Jul 25 by

We’re curious about organizational culture in general, and the culture of culture makers in specific: What are their habits for creating truly great teams? How do they empower individual and organizational ingenuity? What are their practices for cultivating communication and collaboration both internally and with their clients? To this end, Brazenworks is talking to some of the best and brightest in the business as part of our series on Designing Culture. 

For this guest blog post, we’re honored to have Elaine Wu (Brand Manager) explore this topic with us. Elaine spent some time with Tae Kim, Founder of Alite Designs, a San Francisco-based maker of outdoor gear for “casual campers”. Here’s what she discovered: I have followed Alite for years, but will admit – the closest to camping I had been, was sleeping on dirty sheets. Whether you already love camping, or have yet to discover the glory of sleeping out under the stars, Alite is a company you should know. From an organizational culture perspective, Alite is doing some compelling things. Designing Spaces is Designing Culture The Alite “Outpost”...


Designing Culture at Ziba

Posted on Jul 10 by

We’re curious about organizational culture in general, and the culture of culture makers in specific. What are their habits for creating truly great teams? How do they empower individual and organizational ingenuity? What are their practices for cultivating communication and collaboration both internally and with their clients? To this end, Brazenworks is talking to some of the best and brightest in the business as part of our series on Designing Culture. I was recently up in Portland, OR, and visited with my former graduate school compatriot, Matthew Baranauskas, Senior Interaction Designer at Ziba. Matthew was nice enough to tour me around Ziba’s beautiful HQ and talk through some of the practices that make Ziba’s work culture unique. Many thanks to Matthew for his time! Similar to Continuum, Ziba began as an industrial design company over 30 years ago and has since expanded into a variety of design related disciplines, including interaction, service, and environments. Also similar to Continuum, Ziba people don’t typically work at their desks; they tend to orient, congregate and work in various ‘war rooms’. Throughout the...


The Greatest Food Experience You’ve Never Had

Posted on Jul 4 by

Is there a unifying language that cuts across age, job title and cultural background that helps individuals to be more creative, productive and satisfied at work? The answer would appear to be yes, and the language would appear to be Food. As Brazenworks explores the topic of Designing Culture –asking companies about their best practices and techniques for nurturing the employee experience– it’s become clear that food can play a vital role in workplace well-being. Once again, mom was right – a family that eats together tends to stay together. But ‘food experience’ is a nebulous term and can be defined any number of ways. So, how do you define it? And once you’ve defined it, how do you improve it? What’s the best food experience you’ve ever had? What qualities made it the best? Beyond the menu, what does the physical space look like? What materials, sounds, smells, lighting, furniture and textures are there? How tall are the tables? How big are the portions? How many choices are there on the menu? How many people are there with...


Deconstructing the Keyboard

Posted on Jun 28 by

Working with Interaction Design legends, Cooper, gave us a whole new perspective on keyboards. The truth is, we take computer keyboards for granted. They’re too familiar; like the picture of that dolphin that’s hung in your bathroom for years. In fact, we often view them as an impediment to our productivity or creative expression. And as we quickly (read: awkwardly?) move toward hands-free interfaces, a la Google Glass, let’s take a minute to look at the humble keyboard with fresh eyes. These little interfaces are actually a fairly elegant way to tickle the soul of transistors and microprocessors. The keyboard, with all of its limitations, is our way into the matrix; it’s how we float up into the cloud and has helped to produce Harry Potter, Facebook, your final report, Google, the love letter to your significant other, the Human Genome Project, this blog post, and a few other quintillion things. Like the pencil and mouse trap, keyboards have changed little over time – in part because good design is lasting design, in part because of technological constraints. Regardless,...


And the Winner is: Bionic Bunny Ears for Bengal Tigers?

Posted on Jun 11 by

Our guest blog for Cooper is live! Check out the video, photos and reflections on our wildly successful workshop – WTF, Evolution? Designing for Unnatural Selection Let us know if you think Panda Poupon is a better design solution than Prefabitats for Polar bears –...


The Decameron Yarn

Posted on Jun 3 by

I recently had the good fortune of being invited to participate in The Decameron Story Telling Festival. This short video shows what happens when you have 60 balls of yarn, 120 happy hands and a time lapse camera. The Situationists would be proud. Or pissed. Flickr photo set here. The Decameron is a ten day festival of intimate, cafe-style stories. Boccaccio’s original Decameron (1351), a frame story about the plague in medieval Florence, heralded a new era in Western Europe. Its collection of critical and satirical stories, told by the independent voices of seven young women and three young men, paints a lively and transparent picture of humanity in a transitional state. More than six hundred years later, the festival version of the Decameron, engages both artist and audience in a deeper exploration of what it is to be now. Taking an experiential story-performance approach, I explained to the audience: “Friends, this is a story of creation, destruction and radical metamorphosis. Through the infinite extent of our relations we weave the world into existence. Every breath, sunrise and ‘hello’...


The Future of Local

Posted on May 29 by

Brazenworks is following National Geographic Emerging Explorer Daniel Raven-Ellison. We share a common interest exploring the future of local, where the complex relationship that exists between global brands and local communities is hard to ignore. Daniel says that travel broadens the mind, and I concur. Stepping outside of the culturally familiar creates scope to deepen and rediscover the power of relationships along the journey. We are multisensorial/dimensional travelers, meaning we enjoy the world in our own personal ways, simultaneously on multiple levels. We bring our assumptions with us on the road, as well as our wide eyes. We have an inherent desire to experience the local, but also a need for consistency. Think about your favorite cup of coffee, bagel, or burger. How can brands balance both of these needs? What should the relationship between brands, travelers, and communities look like? How can a local brand retain it’s authenticity in a global market? How can a global brand be part of a local experience? Become part of the story of a destination? Of a community? Of a people? This raises...


350,000 clicks of your mouse

Posted on May 22 by

That’s what it’ll take to burn off the calories of one Big Mac, according to the publication Convert Anything to Calories. That’s just one interesting tidbit you’ll get from a recent Scientific American article on food labeling. I found the article great fodder for the power of quantitatively driven design. Translating what we know about health, psychology, and behavior into easy to understand graphical information is long overdue. I say, make the information easy to read, simple to understand, and connected to people’s lives, and I think we’d see great benefits for individuals as well as reduced costs to society. The heart of the article is that recent studies indicate that by connecting calories to exercise -real world, relevant activities like walking- people are likely to make very different -read: healthier- choices. In one study, people who viewed a menu without nutritional information ordered a meal totaling 1,020 calories, versus 826 calories ordered by those who viewed menus that included information about...