Our methods support our clients in understanding, driving and capturing positive social change.
While we tailor our methods to meet client and project needs, they always share 3 key principles (that just happen to start with 'I's...):
Use mixed research methods to understand diverse experiences and avoid social data gaps;
Include immersive and participatory methods to engage communities in placemaking;
Foster long-term relationships that help drive a project's impacts.
Focus on the interrelationships between spaces, services, sectors, systems, and wellbeing;
Generate integrated social, economic, and environmental analysis and development;
Seek out co-benefits and growth;
Think across scales and sectors.
Collaborate with clients, teams, and multiple stakeholders;
Identify critical moments and opportunities to amplify impact;
Create monitoring mechanisms to feed back into practice;
Merge short-term interventions with long-term visions.
We customize our service offer as needed, often incorporating one or more of the following:
In environments characterized by ongoing change, diversity, and complexity, traditional research methods risk misrepresenting conditions on the ground. Often these blindspots cause delays and additional costs in already challenging planning processes. We answer essential questions for project briefs, visions, programmes, policies and guidelines through observational fieldwork, interviews and engagement, and supporting desk research. Our team is also experienced in conducting rigorous literature reviews, project benchmarking and international studies on urban development, design, governance and innovation.
The effects of any intervention in the built environment will vary, making social impact assessment a complex but critical part of evaluating the potential of a project to succeed. A systems thinking analysis allows us to identify unique risks and opportunities across different impact dimensions and at different scales in cities and rural areas - from small behaviour changes to wider system change, and from the local neighbourhood to more extensive urban consequences.
Drawing from our findings, we create bespoke frameworks that distil our core insights into a set of actionable targets, measures, and indicators - always anchored in the drivers and constraints of a project. We merge qualitative and quantitative approaches to allow for multiple dimensions of social impact and social value to sit together within holistic frameworks, supporting decision making across the development lifecycle while maintaining shared outcome-based goals. Our frameworks go hand in hand with the E and G of ESG objectives, and we partner with other experts to ensure co-benefits align across all three dimensions.
Having placed people and their diverse experiences at the centre of our research and analysis, we are then in a unique position to design strategies that embed positive impacts and values at the local level. Having often built trust within communities at earlier phases, we use creative approaches to support strategy rollout by working collaboratively with multiple stakeholders and forming bespoke teams with our network of associates, to help create meaningful change.