Tag: Transformation


Beyond Users & Experience

Humantific CoFounder and Editor of NextD Journal GK VanPatter takes five questions from Julien McHardy a Graduate Student studying transformation design. GK VanPatter shares his perspective on the activity terrain beyond the framework of users and experience where leading transformation oriented practices are already operating.

“Julien McHardy: I am currently a student at the Master of Research in Creative Practices course and of the transformation design course with Irene McAra-McWilliam at the Glasgow School of Art. My recent interest as a designer and researcher are the implications of design approaches that no longer focus on objects or users but on the very processes of design and use.

I follow the transforming-transformation group and the NextD journal for a while now and feel that a lot of the discussions closely relate to my research questions and provide a refreshing vantage point to the perspectives on transformational design within the UK. Your work is an inspiration to my research. I am currently conducting a range of expert interviews as part of my master’s thesis on the role of design in the creation of creative communities and I am most excited to interview you in this context.”

You can download the interview document for free on the NextD site:

Beyond Users & Experience
Making Sense of Human-Centered Design Now!


Humantific Book

Humantific CoFounders, Elizabeth Pastor and GK VanPatter are at work writing
SenseMaking for ChangeMaking, Making Innovation and Change Happen, a new book focused on the SenseMaking revolution underway in the innovation enabling arena. Pioneers of the modern, Visual SenseMaking movement VanPatter and Pastor made their first conference presentation on the role of Visual SenseMaking in innovation acceleration in 1999 at Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York. The new book opens a window into ten years of lessons learned in practice working with organizations in the context of change and innovation initiatives, as well as sharing the emerging state of Visual SenseMaking for ChangeMaking today. If you would like to get on the Humantific book list send an email to projects (at) humantific (dot) com.

Update: 2012. Yes this book is still being worked on in between client projects. Yes we are a little behind schedule!


Accelerating Social Transformation


Humantific | UnderstandingLab has the privilege of working with the United Nations Fund for Women on a new SenseMaking based communication campaign that explains 47 different ways in which gender equality is a driver for achieving the eight dimensional UN Millennium Development Goals. In the marketplace we are seeing rising awareness that Visual SenseMaking plays a key role in social transformation.

The Millennium Development Goals


WorkshopONE Summer Session Wraps

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Continuing the NextD summer cocreation sharing program that has been offered every summer since 2005 the OPEN session of NextD WorkshopONE wrapped up on Saturday July 26, 2008. A diverse, energetic group of participants from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Spain, and the US attended a full day of cross-disciplinary skill building led by the NextD / Humantific team. Thanks again to Martha Stewart OmniMedia for hosting us!

This session was specially crafted for the design community in that we talked about and modeled Design 3.0, 4.0 cross-disciplinary transformation methods. If you would like to attend the next WorkshopONE session in the US or in Europe send an email to programs (at) humantific (dot) com.


Beyond Sustainability / Meta CoCreation

Humantific CoFounders Elizabeth Pastor and GK VanPatter were invited to lead two hours of cross-disciplinary cocreation skill-building exercises with all participants attending the OverLap 2008 Conference in West Cornwall, Connecticut. Overlap is ambitiously advertised by its creators as “an annual, peer-to-peer gathering for those working at the center of emerging theory, methods and practices of innovation.” We found Overlap to be not exactly that (wink, wink), but we had a great day none-the-less.

It was wonderful to see such strong interest in learning more about cross-disciplinary meta cocreation methods even though some Overlappers were obviously determined to remain stuck in individual intutition based approaches. Change is difficult even for some “working at the center of emerging…methods”..:-)

In addition to teaching cross-disciplinary meta cocreation, Humantific brought a central message to OverLap that is often found to be missing from most sustainablity themed books & events: Sustainability is content not process. Sustainability is not a methodology. It is a problem type. Without scalable meta cocreation process skills in the room most sustainablity events turn into very entertaining but not very useful circular conversations. Sustainability is but one of many important problem types that exist in a continously changing world.

Humantific believes that the present sustainability movement suffers from a content / process disconnect. Those driving sustainability conversations often have significant content knowledge but lack practical, robust meta cocreation process skills.

Presently meta cocreation process knowledge represents the flip-side of the sustainability movement but this is finally starting to change. As the sustainability movement begins to move beyond problem finding (pointing out problems) and into the more complex terrain of  action, cross-disciplinary cocreation process mastery becomes much more important. Unless you are ready to settle for cat fight dynamics, anytime you have multiple stakeholders involved in highly complex problems significant cocreation skills are going to be needed. For more than ten years Humantific team has been working that realization. We have already learned alot!

What was particularily hilarious was to see the same few loud cantankerous voices so strenuously objecting to externalized visible cocreation process at OverLap 08 rushing 180 degrees afterwards to create innovation methods and tools oriented projects! Funny stuff goes on!

Unless you are just starting out and have no codified innovation knowledge, we could not recommend to any of our friends the unfortunately competitive harvesting phenomenon known as Overlap.


ReReThinking Design Thinking

Towards Adaptable Inquiry / Transforming That Sustainability Thing

CoCreation is Rising

NextD Reality Check

NextDesign Geographies / Understanding Design 1,2,3,4

To learn more about Humantific Academy and CoCreation Skill-Building send an email to workshops (at) humantific (dot) com


Humantific in TIME Magazine

Since we fly under the media radar most of the time Humantific was delighted to be featured in the Global Business section of TIME magazine’s May 2008 issue. Time’s Tiffany Starples came to visit us and after wrote entitled Different by Design stating “A new breed of consultant is using the tools of design to solve business problems creatively.”

The article focused on long standing Humantific client, Surgeon Daniel Palestrant, CEO of Sermo and the visual strategic story that he utilized to raise $40 million for his venture.

“Instead of bringing in a conventional consultant to help him, Palestrant visited a loft in the Flatiron district of Manhattan. Humantific made sense of Palestrant’s fuzzy ideas and turned them into huge, glossy posters with icons representing how the parts of his business fit together. Diagrams in hand, Palestrant went to venture-capital funds and returned with $40 million in start-up money. That kind of response is generating more and more heat in the emerging field of transformation design–a hybrid of business consulting and industrial design. Firms like Humantific, whose founders are designers, apply the same process used in designing sleek MP3 players and ergonomic teakettles to unwieldy intangibles like cell-phone promotions and hospital organization, transforming their effectiveness. Along the way, the field is creating some unusual teamwork between designers and business people.”

Sermo became one of the first wildly successful professional social networking platforms. Sermo is now a practicing community of 65,000 physicians who exchange clinical insights, observations, and review cases in real time — all the time.

Physicians can join the Sermo network here.


CoCreating Strategy

Humantific | StrategyLab has begun working with a telecommunications company in Madrid.

In StrategyLab we work upstream from a typical design brief in the fuzzy opportunity space. We combine upstream research with Visual SenseMaking to create an insights field that accelerates understanding among cross-disciplinary participants. The insights field is then connected to an externalized visual cocreation process that all team members learn and participate in. Humantific provides the research, visual sense-making and co-creation acceleration tools. Our clients provide the content knowledge. Using this unique combination repeatable transformations are co-created. This is inclusive innovation realized! In addition our clients begin using this hybrid skill-set to navigate the future and in the context of their everyday work.

For more information about Humantific services in Europe email: ask (at) humantific.com


Teaching Complexity Navigation

VHA, a leading health care alliance network is working with Humantific to bring next generation design thinking to its internal consulting group tasked with helping thousands of member hospitals tackle a diversity of wicked problems.

VHA has multiple waves of consulting teams in the Complexity Navigation Program inclusive of skill-building in Strategic Co-Creation, Design Research, and Visual Sense-Making. Deeply committed to being customer-centered VHA serves 1,400 not-for-profit hospitals and more than 21,000 non-acute care health care organizations as members of its nationwide network.  With the health care industry facing never before encountered fuzzy challenges VHA seeks to proactively help its hospital members meet the change, adaptability and innovation challenges of the 21st century.

After the completion of the program we made several small spontaneous videos to capture feedback from graduates who are now Complexity Navigators.

See Case Studies here.

Complexity Navigation Feedback 1

Complexity Navigation Feedback 2

Complexity Navigation Feedback 3

For more information contact: programs (at) humantific (dot) com


WorkshopONE Summer Session

Humantific has announced open registration for the 2008 summer session of WorkshopONE for the design community. Once each year since 2002 Humantific has offered the summer session through NextDesign Leadership Institute. This year it will be July 26 in New York. In the NextD version of WorkshopONE we not only do cross-disciplinary innovation skill-building, we share numerous visual models, talk about Design 3.0 and the changing nature of design practice. The session fills up rapidly. For more information on the summer session of NextD WorkshopONE contact: programs (at) nextd.org.

You can get a glimpse of last summers session here.


Bangalore Leadership Summit

As part of Raising the Bar: New Perspectives on Design, GK VanPatter gave the keynote talk on Design 3.0 / Understanding Design Now! at the Leadership through Design Summit in Bangalore, India. “Design with India is a collaborative initiative inspired by the discussions on the online forum, DesignIndia. Globalization is forcing designers to rethink their role in the context of developing world economies, especially in Asia. As global economic partnerships continue to expand and design becomes the driving force behind innovation, so too does the potential for businesses and designers to successfully partner with India. But at what cost? Designers can take inspiration from the traditions and craftsmanship that are unique to India. They can look to India to understand design innovation from a deeper, more resource driven perspective. However, it is important to interpret India’s identity and traditions from both a local and global perspective in order to simultaneously cultivate and preserve its rich and historic culture.” Humantific has many friends in India!

You can read GK’s reflections on what he saw and experienced at the Bangalore summit on the Design With India site: Reflections on the 2008 Leadership by Design Summit