Cultural Insights with Real World Impact 



Filament is an insights-to-impact firm that puts culture at the center of everything we do. 

Innovation is about more than processes, post-its, and brainstorms. Fundamentally, it’s about understanding cultures. From customers to stakeholders, internal practices, analogous models, and emerging cultural phenomena — getting from the field to insights to prototype to marketplace requires the ability to craft a strategy from deep understandings of many different cultures and how they interact.

Filament provides clients with the tools to turn cultural understanding into action


Our approach REVEALs deep insights that collectively form

Impact-focused Strategies Framed in Cultural Terms

By applying principles of ethnographic thinking to key cultural domains, we identify not only customer needs, but also the many ways customers are influenced, how informal pathways and platforms within a company’s culture help or hinder innovation, and how analogous practices can inspire and ignite new ideas. Insights from each of these domains — including how they interact with one another, and how they intersect with emerging cultural phenomena — are a core part of the way we build strategies rooted in cultural terms. This approach reduces risk and increases successful innovation by ensuring that strategies include truly compelling, culturally-attuned, and future-facing ideas



Deep understandings of customer needs don’t come from surveys and focus groups. And they don’t come from simply asking customers what they want. Customer needs are embedded within interactions, behaviors, motivations, and the cultural contexts that surrounds them. They're rooted in the daily lived experiences of customers, and understanding them requires well-planned observations and interactions within customers' native environments. Lasting and actionable insights reflect the values that drive the behaviors discovered there.



Influencers have played a critical role throughout human history. They've driven revolutions, started religions, and shaped our imaginations. Of course, not all influencers wield power in these ways. A part-time blogger could easily shape perceptions of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of customers. Stakeholders of all sorts shape how others see the world around them. Understanding how they do so, and the power dynamics that play out between them and customers are critical to understanding the full range of conditions for any offering.



Knowing your customers isn’t enough. A company or organization needs to develop pathways and platforms that help employees clearly envision ways to drive innovative ideas into the world. A comprehensive analysis of the norms, values, customs, and dynamics at play within an organization identifies the most effective catalysts for developing new offerings that flow and thrive. It also helps identify whether the form those offerings take is best positioned as incremental or disruptive. And, finally, internal insights can help identify potential roadblocks working against innovation, so that they can be averted effectively.



Have you ever had an experience as a customer that made you ask yourself: "Why don't we do it this way?" The answer to this question isn't to copy the processes or brand, but to transfer some critical component of the impression that experience created in a new and compelling way unique to your own offering. Learning through metaphors like this is a deeply human trait, and it all begins with curiosity. Analogous insights help innovators think outside the world of constraints set by typical structures like segmentations or target markets so that they can find inspiration in the unexpected, broaden their purviews, and reframe their assumptions.

Our species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.
— Mary Catherine Bateson

Filament is a collective that prioritizes diverse perspectives and collaboration.

Projects are staffed from our global network of professionals to best meet the needs of clients. While most hold advanced degrees in anthropology, design, economics, marketing, or other disciplines, we pride ourselves in applying both deep and broad perspectives to every project. 


Clients Served


While much of our work is proprietary, we're happy to share the names of some of the companies with whom we've proudly worked.


thoughts we've surfaced as

Ideas & Musings


The Power of Ethnographic Thinking in Design


Jay Hasbrouck's latest work on Ethnographic Thinking

Photo: tom devries of thoughtful design


Listen in on a conversation between Andi Simon and Jay Hasbrouck about the role of ethnographic thinking in applied settings.

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Tutorial: Ethnographic Thinking for Solving Wicked Problems


Thoughts at 30,000 feet: 

Getting Beyond Method


What is Ethnographic Thinking?: An Interview with Jay Hasbrouck 


Why Are You Taking My Picture?: Considering the Impact of Images we Capture


building on strengths

Filament/Practica Initiative

Filament and practica are proud to announce a joint initiative to build on our collective expertise to serve clients on a larger scale.

We are combining perspectives, geography, ambition and breadth of research experience to provide clients with outstanding customer insight and culturally-informed strategic direction. Watch this space for more about the ideas we are exploring!



you'll find us

Around the World


But we have roots too. You can contact us here: