How we help our clients create the future:

We help ESTABLISHED organizations and brands create new offerings, manage innovation portfolios, and build a culture of innovation.

  • Explore and analyze new technologies
  • help articulate organizational values and vision
  • Identify user needs and emerging opportunities
  • Develop new products, services, and businesses
  • Review and guide innovation portfolios
  • Help senior leaders drive a culture of innovation

We advise early-stage tech-oriented STARTUPS as they apply technology to satisfy real human needs, and create new brands and businesses.

  • Clarify the purpose and goals of the company
  • Illuminate key needs and ideal user experience
  • Define brand strategy, positioning, and message
  • Help build a team and a network of collaborators
  • Provide and guide design & development activities
  • Strategize for growth, funding, and partnerships

We deliver long term competitive advantage by…

  • bringing new capabilities into the world through Technology

    bringing new capabilities into the world by pushing the boundaries of TECHNOLOGY 

  • innovating revenue models & brands to create strategic value for Business

    innovating revenue models & brands to create strategic value for BUSINESS

  • creating remarkable products & experiences through human-centered Design

    creating remarkable products & experiences through human-centered DESIGN

TBD Innovation Diagram
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What we believe

We believe in collaborating with smart, ambitious and creative people who want to change the world. Oh, and nice.

We believe in purpose-driven organizations, and “starting with why.” By looking inward, understanding our values, and articulating the purpose of our brand, we give direction and inspiration to our projects and companies.

We believe that technological capabilities are transforming our world and changing human behaviors, but fundamental human needs and desires are enduring.

We believe that the principles of Design Thinking are life values, and the methods are life behaviors: self-awareness, observation, empathy, creativity, analysis, synthesis, prototyping, experimentation, iteration, and improvement.

Past Projects

Rise Gardens

Smart Home Garden

Rise Gardens

Smart Home Garden

Rise Gardens is bringing the beauty and healthiness of fresh produce into people’s homes. TBDI designed their modular, smart, connected hydroponic garden to be easy to set up and a delight to use. The team provided research, ID, Engineering, UX, instruction design, and created the company’s new brand name.

Rise Gardens

Rise Personal Garden

Rise Gardens

Rise Personal Garden

Rise returned to TBD Innovation to create a countertop version of their flagship smart home garden. With attention to the brand’s clean visual design language, simplicity of interaction, and design for manufacturability, the team delivered a new member of the Rise Gardens family.

Lilly

Self-administered Auto-injector

Lilly

Self-administered Auto-injector

Lilly had a pipeline of therapies intended to be self-injected by patients, and Craig’s team worked to deeply understand user needs and clear technical hurdles to create an intuitive and highly manufacturable device. Winner of the prestigious Good Design Gold Award and now used for many of Lilly’s top products.

Noodles & Company

Reimagined ToGo Experience

Noodles & Company

Reimagined ToGo Experience

By studying real customers and employees, the TBDI team created a journey map full of opportunities – products, environments, app features, and service - to improve the experience of ordering, picking up, and dining off-premise, creating a remarkable “Noodles ToGo Experience.”

Noodles & Company

Retail ToGo Fixture

Noodles & Company

Retail ToGo Fixture

As part of the new Noodles ToGo Experience, the TBDI team evaluated all of the physical constraints (including ADA regulations and human factors), and designed an attractive terraced fixture to hold and display ToGo orders. The result was enhanced store capacity, efficiency and customer delight.

Lilly

Innovation Development Center

Lilly

Innovation Development Center

Working with scientists and engineers, the TBDI team helped create a vision for future pharma development which is more collaborative and effective. The team established design principles and concepts which guided the creation of this award-winning laboratory and innovation hub.

Outerwall

Internal Venture Strategy

Outerwall

Internal Venture Strategy

Before it was renamed Outerwall, with Coinstar and Redbox as the anchor businesses, this company funded and guided seven internal “startups.” Craig advised the individual Venture GMs to innovate and grow their businesses, and provided a portfolio management strategy to the company.

Brunswick

Advanced Concepts & Strategic Advising

Brunswick

Advanced Concepts & Strategic Advising

Brunswick is a world leader in recreational boating, with well-known brands such as Boston Whaler, Sea Ray, Bayliner and Mercury. TBD Innovation has contributed to a number of advanced concept boating explorations, as well as advising on the innovation portfolio and new business ventures.

Pensam Residential

Values, Vision & Community

Pensam Residential

Values, Vision & Community

Pensam is a real estate developer seeking to create a remarkable new active adult living experience. The TBDI team articulated Pensam’s values, gleaned real-world insights, and created design principles and concepts to guide the architects and managers of a new residential community in Denver.

Pensam Residential

Brand Identity

Pensam Residential

Brand Identity

Building on the values and design principles established when designing the resident experience, the TBDI team identified the new brand name and created the visual identity to represent the aspirations for this new active adult community: Airie Denver will open in 2021.

Pyrex

Brand Icon: Measuring Cup

Pyrex

Brand Icon: Measuring Cup

Innovating within an existing brand requires deep understanding of the brand values, respecting history while forging the future. Craig oversaw the team that redesigned this icon of American kitchens, bringing a remarkable read-from-above shape and bold easy-to-read graphics.

Digital Check

Diversification Strategy

Digital Check

Diversification Strategy

With its core paper check scanner business facing eventual decline, Digital Check engaged TBD Innovation to engage the company’s leaders, articulate core values and capabilities, and collaboratively envision future products and businesses for diversification.

Corningware

Simply Lite

Corningware

Simply Lite

Sometimes technical innovation requires a fresh look at established capabilities. By adapting the proprietary multilayer glass manufacturing process of Corelle dinnerware, Craig’s team was able to create a new class of bakeware which was remarkably light, durable, and easy to clean, growing the category.

Life Fitness

Design Advisor and Contributor

Life Fitness

Design Advisor and Contributor

Life Fitness launched InMovement as an internally incubated startup focused on movement and health in the workplace. Craig was an innovation advisor to the founders, and contributor to one of the flagship product concepts.

ST Imaging

Imaging Technology Exploration

ST Imaging

Imaging Technology Exploration

The engineers at ST Imaging developed a new camera module with advanced imaging capabilities, and were seeking new growth areas. The TBDI team studied trends in technology, markets, and users, and identified a range of products and markets representing growth opportunities.

Leo Burnett

Farmhouse Innovation Center

Leo Burnett

Farmhouse Innovation Center

Craig was Co-founder and Senior Fellow for Farmhouse, the innovation center at legendary agency Leo Burnett. Farmhouse developed a process of “Story Driven Design” to create authentic and innovative new products and services for major consumer brands.

Mercury Marine

Design Thinking training

Mercury Marine

Design Thinking training

Mercury Marine designs and manufactures the world’s leading marine propulsion systems. As a company built on technical excellence, they seek to be more innovative and user-centered, and TBD Innovation created and led Design Thinking training for hundreds of Mercury team members.

P&G

Crest Neat Squeeze

P&G

Crest Neat Squeeze

Details matter. Early in Craig’s career he designed and engineered the clean, easy-to-use snap cap for this remarkable toothpaste package for Procter and Gamble, of which over 1 billion have been produced.

Chicago Cutlery

ProHold knife line

Chicago Cutlery

ProHold knife line

Metal knives have been around for 4000 years. By observing how professional chefs pinched the blade of a knife for better precision, Craig’s design team identified an opportunity to create a new type of knife handle which gives everyday cooks more comfort and control.

World Kitchen

Global Design Competition

World Kitchen

Global Design Competition

Craig conceived and launched an annual open design competition, receiving hundreds of submissions from around the world which were juried by leading designers.

NASA

Hubble Space Telescope

NASA

Hubble Space Telescope

No, Craig didn’t design the Hubble, but he was “in the room where it happened.” As a young technical intern at Kodak, he conducted optical polishing research in the same lab as the Hubble backup mirror - which did not have the fateful error of the one which launched. Now at the National Air and Space Museum.

Northwestern University

Designing Product Interactions

Northwestern University

Designing Product Interactions

At Northwestern’s Segal Design Institute, Craig created and now teaches Designing Product Interactions, which is an experimental course combining multi-sensory perception and mechatronic engineering design to explore this new experiential frontier. DPI asks, “How do you feel?”

Northwestern University

CPG Innovation Studio

Northwestern University

CPG Innovation Studio

In partnership with innovation leaders at P&G, Craig co-created and co-teaches CPG Product and Business Innovation Studio, a multidisciplinary, multi-school experiential design course with real-world innovation projects from P&G.

Northwestern University

Student Mentor & Project Advisor

Northwestern University

Student Mentor & Project Advisor

At Northwestern’s Segal Design Institute, Craig mentors individual graduate students on their thesis projects, and advises MBA+Design student teams on business innovation challenges with corporate partners.

Tanvas

Technology Startup Advisor

Tanvas

Technology Startup Advisor

Tanvas has world-changing haptic technology, born out of the labs at Northwestern University, providing the ability to dynamically “render” features which can be felt on a smooth surface. Craig is an advisor to Tanvas as they create remarkable user experiences. Coming to a screen near you.

Everyplace Labs

Technology Startup Advisor

Everyplace Labs

Technology Startup Advisor

Everyplace is a health tech startup creating a point-of-care diagnostic platform which delivers greater speed, efficiency and access for patients, healthcare providers, and organizations. Craig is an advisor to Everyplace Labs across technology, design, and business strategy.

ClearWater

Technology Startup Advisor

ClearWater

Technology Startup Advisor

ClearWater is revolutionizing boating and fishing with Augmented Reality. This “SuperSight” gives users the ability to “see” underwater terrain and obstacles and fish, and to see the world above the water in new ways, making boating safer, easier, and more enjoyable. Craig is an advisor to Clearwater.

Craig using 3d tech

About Us

As founder and principal consultant of TBD Innovation, Craig Sampson leads a network of designers and strategists to collaboratively help leaders understand emerging technologies and human behaviors, and then envision futures and bring them to life.

Craig was a leader and founder at IDEO, and today he inspires leaders see the big picture, and make connections across departments, domains, and industries. Craig and his team have skills and expertise which includes:

  • Translating new technologies into compelling experiences
  • Helping leaders articulate their purpose and build their brand
  • Designing remarkable products through “Story Driven Design”
  • Healthcare and wellness innovation
  • Design for manufacturing and assembly
  • Product interactions and “the human side of IoT”
  • Guiding portfolios of projects and new ventures

The secret language of objects | Craig Sampson | TEDxNaperville

Have you ever pushed a door you were meant to pull? It’s not your fault. It’s the door’s. Human-centered designer Craig Sampson shares how objects “speak” to us and teaches us what we can do to listen.

Contact Us

We’d love to hear from you about your innovation goals.

initiate@tbdinnovation.com.