We Are Curio is an innovation studio that solves problems and designs better futures.
We make innovation accessible through strategy consulting, multi-layered experiences, and training assets. Both our process and mindsets for innovation are rooted in the discipline of design thinking — a framework that pulls from the designer’s toolkit to discover human-centered, creative solutions.
We approach problem solving and idea generation through our four-phase IEDA™ process:
Discover areas of opportunity and challenge through deep understanding and empathy. During the IMMERSE phase we focus on empathy, listening, and feedback.
Expand what is possible by taking opportunities and challenges through ideation tools. The EXPAND phase is a time to throw off constraints, think big, and dream. No idea is too crazy — in fact, sometimes the crazy ideas lead to the best solutions!
Begin the prototyping process to develop the best ideas into a more tangible form to be tested and refined. Through the DESIGN phase, ideas evolve so that we can incorporate feedback for making the idea better.
In the ACT phase, we take what has been designed and begin forming the strategy for implementing it. It’s time to launch and execute the idea!
Embrace the unknown.
We think certainty is overrated. Once you have become certain, the next step is typically to become stagnant. If you want to be innovative, you must let go of the comfort of the known. This is risky, but nothing of significance is ever accomplished without risk. The unknown is way more fun, especially for the people around you who now get to participate in the discovery process. Stay curious — it’s at the heart of innovation!
Discovering innovative solutions to your design challenges requires the diligence to dig deep. You must uncover your identity, the challenge you are facing, and the stakeholders you are seeking to serve. Meaningful innovation is both anthropological and archeological — it requires the study of people through listening and empathy work and the study of artifacts through contextual clues and culture. Use all of your senses, ask better questions, listen intently, and dig below the surface to bring a solution that actually solves the right problem.
Kids are pros at having fun. They can play together for hours creating entire worlds out of rocks, sticks, and their imagination. They are willing to make a mess, look silly, and enjoy each moment along the way. Kids are naturally playful, but where are all of the playful adults? Playfulness may seem frivolous, but it is actually essential to helping us be more innovative. It opens up our minds and emotions and places the boundaries of the daily grind on hold for a moment. Playfulness increases our creative capacities.
Creativity thrives in contrast and collaboration. Healthy disagreement and diverse perspectives are key ingredients to innovation. Collaboration is the future — design with people, not for them. The more cross-disciplined and diverse your influences are, the more creative and impactful your solutions will be. Cultivate dissimilar backgrounds, personalities, skill sets, and disciplines on your teams and projects.
Design thinking has a common saying that is helpful to remember: “Show, don’t tell.” Stop telling us about your idea and show us! Build a prototype of the product, experience, or service you have in your head — make it tangible. Make a “crap-up” (a really rough prototype) or produce an MVP (minimum viable product) to bring to your stakeholders for feedback. It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it’s better if it isn’t. Innovation and iteration go hand-in-hand.
Hack the system.
Don’t be like most people and go through life happily walking along the predetermined path set before them. Think of a better way and be willing to experiment, fail, learn, grow, and hack your way to success. There’s hardly ever a manual or unlimited resources for bringing your new idea to life, and it probably won’t look like the typical way of doing things. That’s okay — be a hacker and make it happen! Stop giving reasons for why you cannot do something and start figuring out how you can.
Innovation is for everyone.
You may not think of yourself as a designer, but you are. Design is intention and is all around us. Good design is the blending of logic and emotion; science and art; rationality and intuition; function and form. Any time you step out of the unintentional and into the intentional, you are choosing to design. It is a discipline that can be accessed and developed in everyone and for all areas of life.
Leave it better.
The world needs you. We face an abundance of wicked problems, both individually and collectively. Sometimes we get paralyzed because of the vast need, but we can at least start with a piece of it. All you need is a little dissatisfaction and a little optimism and you will have what you need to start changing your world. Do your part to leave it better — we’re counting on you!