Patterns are shifting.

Slowly in places, quickly in others. Unevenly, messily. People are increasingly dissatisfied with the way things are, with “the way we do things around here,” but feel powerless or ill-equipped to move their group, organization, or system to new and better patterns.

We have learned a lot about that.

We are two people who find great joy in sharing what we’ve learned with people who are trying to move their situation to a better state.

We are thoroughly fascinated with the

theory | practice | heart of moving your system | group | self

toward something new and better.

It’s time for new methods.

Our foundation is in design, strategy, and the arts. For the last six years we have been studying social systems, human experience, and the dynamics of change at all levels.

The result is a body of understanding and practice that can help you:

See the your situation from many points of view; get under the surface of what’s going on, into the roots of pattern and possibility.

Gather the people who need to be there, move past meetings and debates to open and heartfelt creative dialogue.

Learn the methods and tools of co-creation, social prototyping, and working with emergence.

Develop new practices and habits necessary for long-term shifts.

Here’s how to start.

Let’s talk
We can start with a conversation about your situation. Use our contact form to set up a time to chat. 

Get on the list
You can get on the list to be notified about workshops, courses, retreats and events. The sign-up form for our (infrequent) announcements is at the bottom of our “contact us” page.

Here’s what we’ve planned so far for 2016

Advance Retreat#1: The Culture Question — Feb. 10-11

Organizational cultures of design and creativity turned out to be a big theme for a lot of people in 2015. So much so that we made it the focus of one of our new events: a two-day “studio retreat,” launched in partnership with Rosenfeld Media, focused on the challenge of creating cultures of design in existing organizations. We’re excited. Palm Springs! Fifty great collaborators! Learn by conversing and making together! Here’s our blog post that gives more detail about the question, format and activities. Or you can go straight to to see details and fill out a simple application to attend. 

Subwoofer program for pattern-shifters

In early 2016 we will launch a custom education / equipping service for people and teams who are already engaged in the work of shifting undesirable patterns of behavior, communication, process and outcome in their organization or larger system. The program will combine material and activities developed for past clients, and for our graduate courses at Carnegie Mellon and the School of Visual Arts. The name “Subwoofer” comes from our intention to provide “amplification and deep bass” for your efforts. Interested? Contact us to start the conversation.

Public workshop: Pattern-shifting intensive for change leaders

As of this month, we have taught our Design in Social Complexity course five times. It is jam-packed with theory and practice on ways to create better social outcomes within yourself, your group and a system. We’re looking for partners to help us adapt the content and make this course available to change leaders. To get a little peek into the topics this includes, here are all the title sheets from our course at CMU last year:

Recent Posts

Culture in Small Servings

Improving organizational culture doesn't have to be big, messy, and abstract. It can and does happen in small doses, though it certainly helps to have good tactics. Here are two small-scale tactics that can have lasting effects.

A few seats left for Advance Retreat

Join us in Palm Springs for a "Studio Retreat" -- a gathering of leaders who will [...]

How to foster design culture: expand your conversational toolkit

If your palette of culture-shifting tools is limited to meetings, presentations, mandate, persuasion, and technology, it’s no wonder that culture-shifting seems impossible. What tools for conversational leadership are in your kit? Marc Rettig scans the "communication continuum" and offers a chance to expand your toolkit.