our work is strongly driven by curiosity and passion for meaningful and positive change / we are viewfinders / pioneers / explorers / catalysts

Design research for meaningful and positive change

Design Research informs, inspires, catalyses and strengthens transformations towards a more human, fair and sustainable way of living, working and doing business. Combining empathic explorations, creative ideation, and strategic analysis, Design Research ensures that critical decisions are ambitious yet sensible, inclusive and considered.

  • by exploring topics with contextual sensitivity and empathy for the perspectives of all stakeholders involved;
  • by creating and sharing actionable insights, ideas and recommendations that are beneficial for all stakeholders;
  • by being purpose driven and taking a stand on the direction of change that is important, urgent and needed;
  • by looking at topic areas from a global perspective and recognising relevant interconnections;
  • by collaborating closely with other partners to make sure the results and overall process are well understood and accepted.

Shaping the field and pushing boundaries

STBY is a pioneering thought leader in the field of design research, and specifically when applied for meaningful and positive transformation. We are not just passengers of the projects we work on, but co-drivers of the change we envision in society and through our work. Our interdisciplinary backgrounds as creatives and social researchers enable us to practice what we preach, and we have been doing so since as early as 2003.

  • by exploring the fringes of our field and being frontrunners in imagining, prototyping and applying new tools and methods;
  • by being quick to pick up on new emerging themes and challenges, and to proactively address them;
  • by taking time and space to not know and to experiment, such as tinkering with various scenarios to the change envisioned and needed;
  • by not only pushing boundaries but also spanning them, through connecting to relevant people and approaches from lateral fields;
  • by embracing a collaborative global scope that has joint exploration and experimentation with locally grounded experts at its heart.

Generating value for clients and partners

STBY generates value and impact on a wide range of levels, from strategy to roadmaps for implementation, and from creating new knowledge to socialising assets as part of transformation processes. This depends on the extent to which we are involved in the long term change processes of our clients and partners. This tends to differ per project, and STBY is specialised in flexible ways to respond to that.

  • by being a go-to partner for foundational co-creative design research that informs strategic explorations for service innovation;
  • by having a transparent and adaptable way of working that enables client teams to benefit from progressive insights during projects, and easily take up ownership of project outputs after completion;
  • by creating engaging and inspiring results that last beyond the scope of individual projects, and can be used as stepping stones for further explorations;
  • by fostering long-term and collaborative relationships with clients and international partners;
  • by supporting teams and organisations in the development of skills and knowledge around design research for meaningful transformation, with a sensible balance between playfulness and rigour.

Generating value for wider networks

Outside of formally commissioned projects we work on with clients and partners, we also create value and impact for wider professional networks. We regularly share our thoughts and observations from reflecting on our ongoing and developing practice with others in the field. We are always keen on opportunities to engage and involve others in jointly making meaningful and positive change happen.

  • by publishing about our work and practice with the aim to share knowledge and experiences with others in the field;
  • by educating and coaching professional peers through bespoke learning programs, for instance through This is Doing;
  • by investing in the ongoing development of Reach, our fantastic network of global design research partners;
  • by actively supporting the establishment and growth of professional networks, such as the Service Design Network;
  • by offering opportunities for internships and graduation projects for students engaged in relevant education.

Strong commitment to learning and R&D

As a team we are all keen to keep developing our knowledge and skills. STBY deliberately invests time and effort in ongoing learning and experimentation. We explore new avenues and jointly reflect on how to apply this in our work. Throughout the year we engage in sharing sessions to catalyse our progress with the R&D we set out to do. We are pioneering explorers, with a curious and creative yet also practical and structured approach.

  • by being dedicated, open minded and flexible professionals with an urge to keep developing our practice and understanding;
  • by engaging in regular reflective practices to review and spark our developing expertise and personal growth as design research professionals.
  • by stimulating team members to grow their knowledge, skills and creativity, and to engage with peers through professional networks, conferences, courses, and publications;
  • by making time available for team members to explore and experiment with new emerging new topics and methods as an integral part of their workflow;
  • by focusing on qualitative growth and development of STBY’s team, rather than quantitative growth of revenue and profit of STBY’s business. We are a primarily purpose driven organisation.