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John V Willshire

Strategic Designer, Smithery

A fairskinned man with short hair indoors illuminated by natural light.

About John V Willshire

John set up Smithery, an independent Strategic Design Practice, in 2011 to help clients make things people want, rather than make people want things. This practice has grown to help organisations take an active role in shaping their futures as they look out over an uncertain landscape.

This involves learning to perceive and understand new realities, sparking appropriate internal innovation, and acting on these instincts to make real change. John’s work is informed by a wide range of different fields, including systemic sensibilities, futures thinking, innovation frameworks, and information design. This combination helps clients think broader, for longer.

Recent projects include developing a Future Trends and Signals System for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), scouting the emerging Climate and Health intersection for Wellcome Trust, and setting a strategic framework for building capabilities for Unilever.

John also leads the Innovation and Future Thinking summer course at IED Barcelona, which this summer celebrates its tenth anniversary.

The product of design

Let us take some time at a pivotal point of UX London, between expanding our research senses and building our design muscles, to think a little about futures rather than features.

It will be less about what you can do as a product designer, and more about what you can change as a product of design.

This talk will be a response to John’s dConstruct talk from 2015 on ‘Designing the Future’. Now that we are here in 2024, what do we wish we had done then for now? And what might we do now to build a future practice we are proud of when the third part of this talk rolls around in 2033…

John is speaking on day two, June 19th

Day two focuses on Product Design.