Cultural Insight, Innovation & Design


Actant is a design research, insight and innovation consultancy.

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.


Inventive Methods

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.


Cultural Probes

Cultural Probes is a design centred, arts-inspired, approach to developing new insights and ways of thinking about people and settings. more

Designing Consumer Behaviour

Changing consumer behaviour is a core competency within Actant.  more

Life Logging

Life Logging is a method that we regularly use to document daily everyday life.  more


Hayley Dixon

Design Researcher and Photographer

Hayley is a Senior Design Researcher and Photographer.  more

Simon Blyth


Simon founded Actant in 2011. more

Graeme Findlay


Graeme is a Senior Industrial Designer who has a wide experience in designing products, from packaging, spaces, consumer electronics and furniture.  more

Dominic Oliver Cort


Dominic is a Senior Designer and maker of things.  more

Thomas Vailly

Design Fellow

I am a French conceptual designer, currently based in The Netherlands.   more

Nick Hayes

Storytelling Fellow

I am a writer and illustrator, based in London.  more

Amélia Desnoyers

Design and Research Fellow

I am a French designer and artist based in Paris.  more

Julien McHardy

Design and Research Fellow

I am a German-Scottish sociologist (PhD) and designer based in Amsterdam.  more

Kaddie Rothe

Design Fellow

I am an interdisciplinary designer based in Hamburg, Germany.  more


Actant genuinely put the consumer at the heart of their work, and use design-led thinking to get to solutions. It’s been always refreshing, rewarding and fun to work with the guys!

Marcin Dobrock, Senior Innovation Manager, Mondelez International

I have had the pleasure to work with Actant on a wide variety of projects over the last 5 years, ranging from Consumer Insight identification and Concept development to Semiotics Analysis and Pack structure design. No matter how big or small the task, Actant always managed to come-up with an approach that fits both purpose and budget, not shying away from using unconventional methodologies.

Marcin Dobrock, Senior Innovation Manager, Mondelez International

Actant are a very dedicated, focused and superfast team that goes the extra effort to really understand consumers in their everyday environment and come up with inspiring idea designs that add value for their lives.

Fabian Heimgartner, Innovation Manager, Modelez International

In 2013 Actant helped to develop a portfolio of innovative beer packaging ideas by literally putting current pack/ consumer interaction in a new perspective. Intense consumer & shopper immersion provided new insights on which to ideate and co-create with our market experts and suppliers. It delivered near-in and further out concepts to develop in the next few years across the Europe region.

Bastiaan Saris, Bastiaan Saris, Head of Innovation Grolsch

Actant consistently delivers a powerful mix of design thinking and design doing.

Adam Lloyd, Senior Director Global Packaging Mondelez International

When it comes to getting to the heart and soul of a consumer insight and making prototypes that address consumer need, Actant delivers! Their untraditional approach shed new light on old challenges. The output: truly unique packaging solutions well dovetailed with consumer usage and behavior.

Chris Fesen, Gum Platform Leader, Mondelez International

Actant really do get to places that others find hard to reach.

Malcolm Hett, Global Innovation Manager, Mondelez International

In addition to delivering the project brief, my team and I have seen (& heard and experienced) some fascinating consumer realities AND created a new innovation strategy from working with the Actant team.

Malcolm Hett, Global Innovation Manager, Mondelez International

Working with Actant, I now expect to be drawn into parallel industries, a world of carefully chosen expertise and an intense period of focus, delivering ideas both unexpected and refreshingly straightforward.

Malcolm Hett, Global Innovation Manager, Mondelez International


We’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch:

Somerset House
London WC2R 1LA

The Coach House
Llanwrda SA19 8BJ

Simon Blyth
+44 (0)7932 033566
+44 (0)1558 650958