Smithery is a Strategic Design Unit, founded in London in 2011.

We help you to innovate, by showing you how to make things people want, rather than make people want things.

We work on strategy, design, culture change, futures and prototyping initiatives. We’ve worked with CEOs, product, design, marketing, HR, and customer service teams. Our generalist philosophy helps us unlock problems in ways specialists cannot.

We make our own tools, from conceptual models and frameworks, to successful product spinouts like Artefact Cards, all of which help people focus on creating new and innovative ideas from the information they have at their fingertips.

Our work bridges disciplines and departments, roles and responsibilities. It is concerned with all the factors around a thing, not just the thing itself. Often, we find ourselves stitching organisations together differently in order to make a real difference.

If you want to know how we could help you, then contact us here

“Working with Smithery has been a brilliant adventure for my entire team. They are not afraid of a challenge and their creativity and passion have opened our minds up to more innovative ways of working by helping to shape our thinking, actions and behaviours. Their work has helped us to create the culture of change we’ve needed to continue on our path of growth.”

Julie Doleman, Experian

“I’ve found that if you have half an idea that you are excited about – John probably has the other half. He has a generous imagination earthed in an intellectual rigour that makes him a rare bird. I have benefited from his eclectic frame of reference and uncanny ability to make generative connections between people, ideas, genres. Working with John feels like play – why isn’t all work like that?”

Tracey Camilleri, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

“We love working with Smithery; an awesome source of brilliant ideas and endless energy in our creative process.”

Thomas Moradpour, LVMH

“John is the single most creatively fertile person I have met in the last five years”

Adam Morgan, Eat Big Fish


Playing the hand you’re dealt

I’ve been thinking a lot about Assemblage. It’s been prompted by Anab’s inclusion of it in her More-Than-Human-Politics manifesto, pointedly positioned against Systems (“Assemblages are diverse, indeterminate and precarious… Acknowledging the entanglements without the desire to have the ‘full overview’”). It also took me back to some of the thinking I originally did around Artefact…

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Firing Korben Dallas

There’s been a lot of attention paid to a comment that Jes Staley, CEO of Barclays, said on Wednesday 29th April 2020 in comments to reporters. “…the notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past.” The emphasis of that statement is about the infrastructure itself, and the notion…

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Pond life

There’s a giant tadpole in our pond, the amphibian Jaws of suburban Sussex. I started wondering if it had just had a head start out the frogspawn, and so did some research. In a way, it probably has had a leap ahead, but from last year, not this. It turns out that if the conditions…

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