Cultural Probes is a design centred, arts-inspired, approach to developing new insights and ways of thinking about people and settings. more
We work with organisations to research and develop their products, services and strategy. We do this through Cultural Design.
Cultural Design takes culture as its source material and uses the behaviours, methods and skills of design to generate insights and develop concepts.
Each Actant project is designed around the particular challenge that our client has asked us to work on. Although there is no one process that we follow, there are elements that our projects share:
Reflexive creativity – we do not hold with the dogma of fast and furious over-stimulated creative workshops. Instead we put together a team of people comfortable with, and proficient in, having ideas and structure our time to maximise reflexive, thoughtful, creativity.
Seeing culture – we question the possibility and value of being ‘human-centred’, preferring to think and design in reference to cultures which are inhabited by people and things. In fact it is the complex knots of people and things which make cultures where we look for opportunities to innovate.
Iterative development of insights and ideas – we do not separate insight development and idea generation, but work simultaneously across insight and ideas throughout a project, ensuring a strong connection between the two.
Making – making is core to design. We make ‘probes’ to generate insights and ‘prototypes’ (things) and ‘proto-practices’ (behaviours) to explore and develop ideas. Blending strategic development and design ensures a strong narrative throughout the final concepts and allows us to think with our hands.
We love the idea of ‘inventive methods’. Inventiveness points towards the new but also to an openness and the experimental. It points towards the value of methods which cross disciplinary boundaries – most notably in our case design and social science. But inventive methods also reminds us of the productivity of social enquiry. Our methods are not orientated towards only investigating and reporting but also engaging with organisations, communities, humans and non-humans. Our inventive methods re-invent problems as well as invent solutions.
Hayley is a Senior Design Researcher and Photographer. more
I am a French conceptual designer, currently based in The Netherlands. more
I am a German-Scottish sociologist (PhD) and designer based in Amsterdam. more
London WC2R 1LA
The Coach House
Llanwrda SA19 8BJ