Smithery is a Strategic Design Unit, founded in London in 2011. We help companies Make Things People Want, rather than Make People Want Things. We form antidisciplinary teams for projects, working across Strategy, Design, Culture and Prototyping.

Our core team are John V Willshire and Helen Willshire. We operate at scale with a number of brilliant partners, each team assembled to solve your problem depending on the task at hand.

We’re driven by making great strategy. Balancing the understanding of people inside and outside of your organisation, the products and services you create and supply, and the many emergent trends and futures which can impact your sector, we develop practical strategic programmes that helps you make a real difference.

Yet as much as thinking well about strategy is important, we believe it only comes to life when you start getting hands on with it.

“No honest craftsman or maker knows in the process of working whether he is making or creating”

Joseph Brodsky

Which means that whatever we’re doing, we move as quickly into prototyping as possible, quickly developing compelling new ideas for products and services, using a variety of materials and techniques.

The first round of exploration, making provocative futures which help you ask “will it be this, or more like that?”. From here, and through further qualitative and quantitative research, we understand more about the appropriate next steps.

So we might look at the design angle first, moving prototypes through to something more functional for testing. Rather than approach this on our own, we encourage clients to form teams with us and the people we bring in to create versions of new ideas to test.

Together, we go about designing better situations and environments for your team to design in, help build up and improve the resolution in your ideas, and take them from prototype stage into becoming something truly valuable.

Or we might identify some areas of your culture which are more appropriate to attend to. By helping you change the wider practices, habits and mental toolkits that people in your organisation can use, helps the whole business thrive.

We do this through mentoring, team development, organisational design and work flow analysis and more, all captured in a three step process of mapping instances, identifying issues, and designing or deploying interventions.

To start with though, we find that the most useful thing we can do is to understand the context in which your problems exist. Strategic design bridges disciplines and departments, roles and responsibilities. It is concerned with all the factors around a thing, not just the thing itself.

Which means the first thing we need to do is listen to you…

Want to know more?

Just get in touch, we’re always happy to talk