Humanistic is a strategic innovation consultancy operating at the intersection of business, science, technology, and culture.
As an embedded thinking partner, we help our clients answer the human questions at the root of their toughest challenges, and imagine future technologies, products, and experiences that people love.
Most of today’s design thinking is focused on short term wins and narrow contexts. Our approach uniquely considers the broader systems, externalities, and scales that reveal hidden connections, expand perspectives, and solve more formidable problems.
We see design thinking as a subset of the wider cognitive domain of problem-solving. Consisting of twin iterative loops, problem modelling, and solution modelling, it enables people to think through nearly any class of problem when used correctly. However, successfully applying it to today’s complex challenges requires advanced cultivation.
We collaboratively train and administer this process with a bespoke, interdisciplinary mix of methods and contributors to fit each unique client challenge or context.
Figure 1: Iterative Problem Modelling Loop
Figure 2: Iterative Learning/Redefinition Loop
Figure 3: Iterative Solution Modelling Loop
Human-centered thinking is not a marketing buzzword for us—it’s core to our entire philosophy. We’re so serious about it that we’ve created our own set of Humanistic Principles to guide better outcomes when tackling complex problems.
Humanistic Thinking should
Be informed by human contexts or systems.
Fulfill real human needs and values.
Leverage how people think and feel.
Leverage how people communicate and perceive.
Leverage how people act individually or in groups.
Enhance human ability and address its limitations.
Be good for humans and the environment.
We bring a wealth of expertise in making sense of the noisiest data: humans. Our unique set of mixed methods and practice areas allow us to bring incredible value to Boards, Senior Executives, Innovation Teams, R&D Labs, VCs, and Institutional Investors.
Vision & Strategy
Identify bold new visions of the future, market threats or risks, and opportunities to create value for new groups of customers—with a concrete plan for how to get there.
- Foresight and Vision Development
- Thesis and Thematic Area Discovery
- Scenario and Uncertainty Planning
- Market Trend and Driver Analysis
- Product, Portfolio and Innovation Strategy
- Strategic Roadmapping
Research & Insights
Uncover the deeper human complexities and insights that drive breakthrough innovation—fundamental for understanding more than just the what, but the why.
- Journey Mapping and Experience Capture
- Ethnography, Observation, and Street Intercepts
- User/Usability Testing and Validation
- Experience Audits, Reviews and Safaris
- Documentation and Literature Review
- Market, Environment, and Horizon Scanning
Design & Innovation
Collaboratively explore, experiment, and realize new products, services, and experiences—flawlessly executed, without guesswork or gut decisions.
- Interaction Design and Prototyping
- Digital Product Design, Product Logic
- Experience, Service, and Systems Design
- R&D Research Commercialization
- Venture and New Business Design
- Speculative Futures Design
Training & Enablement
Assess and grow your in-house capacity for empathy, creativity, and curiosity—amplifying the level of innovation that is possible at your organization.
- Generative Co-creation Workshops
- Innovation Capability Assessments
- Training Program: Problem Modelling and Framing
- Training Program: Future Experience Design
- Innovation Bootcamps and Upskill Workshops
- Custom Training and Curriculum Development
Our collaborations result in transformative solutions that create world changing impact and unlock human potential. Out of respect for the incredibly sensitive nature of this work and the competitive advantage it confers, we’re only able to share high-level client challenges and testimonials.
How might connected devices work autonomously as a group to determine their social context, and enable true multimodal interaction?
"Humanistic is like our external brain. They operate like no designers I’ve ever met, producing groundbreaking research for us that has influenced strategy and technical roadmaps. Not only do they understand the business and design aspects of the challenge, but the actual science underneath, reviewing hundreds of peer-reviewed papers to understand the technical nuance in the space."
Chief Scientist, HCI Research Group
When future homes and appliances can think, how do humans experience and interact with them—at different levels of automation?
"Imagining how machine intelligence might change the world is a complex undertaking. Humanistic helped us tremendously with this high stakes project, moving quickly to embed themselves with our team to execute and contribute unique perspectives. Matt, Shawn, and the Humanistic team brought an invaluable level of expertise and confidence to the table."
VP, Head of Industry Solutions & Advisory
How might future users interact with a fully autonomous mobile OS, and its post-app software ecosystem?
"It was lovely working with the team at Humanistic. With such a complex domain area, it wasn’t always clear on how to proceed forward. Matt & Shawn found a way to connect the dots for us and find the signal hidden in the noise. They have quite a unique understanding of technology and user experience, I look forward to working with them again soon."
Sr. Research Scientist, Human Machine Interaction
What are the AI-enabled tools future entrepreneurs need to thrive in the coming autonomous economic paradigm?
"Shawn and Matt at Humanistic brought a number of unique and fresh perspectives to the table, along with an incredible work ethic. They produced high-quality results in a remarkably short period of time and broadened our thinking about what the vision of this organization could be. Working with them was a great spark for creativity and innovation."
Chief Technology Officer
How might we use data to understand and scale altruistic donation and customer engagement?
How can our team learn to think like Humanistic to solve these kinds of problems themselves?
"Humanistic somehow downloaded their minds into 16 of our staff from across the organization. They taught us how to think through problems like they do, and ensured those learnings spread contagiously throughout the company.
The big team project they took on turned out better than expected: an entirely new revenue model and way of operating that leverages data at its core. Humanistic enabled us to see beyond the problem to the underlying issues causing it."
Chief Technology Officer
How do we enable teams to train themselves in problem finding and design thinking—so they can discover solutions to their own unique business challenges?
"We were very pleased to partner with Humanistic on this project, they brought a firm understanding of the design tools and methods we needed in addition to their own expertise. While embedded with our team, we found them to have a naturally easy way of working and raising questions that adapted well to how we work."
Director, Service Design & Innovation