All Posts in Ideas

August 9, 2022 - Comments Off on Take a minute to VOTE - SXSW 2017

Take a minute to VOTE - SXSW 2017

Last year, Thicket made it out to Austin to talk about tech and disconnected youth. This year, we're very excited to share that Thicket has three proposed talks at the 2017 South by Southwest Interactive Festival in March.

Please help us go to both SXSW and SXSWedu by voting for our proposed sessions!

Future of Film Experience: Seeing Viewer Emotions
Thicket is working with Dance Films Association to use data visualization to engage audiences. Hear about La Medea, a simultaneous dance-theater performance, made-for-camera Latin variety TV show, and live streamed feature film inspired by Euripides’ Greek tragedy. Find out where technology & audience interaction is leading the film festival experience in the future.
VOTE HERE—Future of Film Experience

SXSWedu: Youth-Led Problem Solving In Action
Too many education programs aren't directly designed for young people's specific needs. Hear from the TechTank Fellows who helped design the program, and join a strategic problem-solving workshop led by the Fellows to brainstorm ways to involve youth in the program design process.
VOTE HERE—Youth-Led Problem Solving In Action

Hacking the Traditional Tech Talent Pipeline
How do we diversify the tech talent pipeline? Hear about new efforts to bring diversity and inclusion through neighborhood-based pipeline initiatives, tech-enabled mentorship, and employer/trainer partnerships.
VOTE HERE—Hacking the Traditional Tech Talent Pipeline

We really need your vote — and your help spreading the word! If you haven't yet, please take one minute to register and give us your vote.

May 3, 2022 - Comments Off on A new way to make Hollywood more diverse

A new way to make Hollywood more diverse

At Thicket, we align communities through our collaborative intelligence software products. We specialize in unraveling complex social environments to understand the human elements: relationships, values, emotions, agendas, concerns, fears, hopes.

Diversity in media is certainly one of those complex environments. It only takes five minutes on your social platform of choice to realize that conversations generated by hashtags like #OscarsSoWhite, #DiversityInEntertainment & #WomenInMedia can be as divisive as they are important.

It isn’t just a moral imperative that is pushing us towards a more diverse media landscape. As Wesley Morris & James Poniewozikfeb write in the NY Times, “TV audiences for everything are smaller now, which means networks aren’t programming each show for an imagined audience of tens of millions of white people. On top of that, there are younger viewers for whom diversity — racial, religious, sexual — is their world. That audience wants authenticity; advertisers want that audience.”

But current methods for measuring audience preferences are not up to the task of helping media professionals create more original, diverse content. Netflix had a massive hit with the US remake of British TV show House of Cards, which debuted to rave reviews and ratings in 2013. In commissioning the show, Netflix used data about people’s past viewing choices to cast Kevin Spacey and bring on David Fincher to direct. This was a major win for the industry in using data to validate their creative decisions.

What if it was possible to get past the information gap that limits examples of original programming options to “tried and true” story formats, characters, and casting choices?

But what if it was possible to get past the information gap that limits examples of original programming options to “tried and true” story formats, characters, and casting choices? To that end, Thicket has created an online quiz to help track how people relate to their favorite fictional characters from film and television. Not only will this quiz help you understand why you connect to the characters you love, on a larger level the results of this quiz will help content creators in the future craft characters that fans truly resonate with, rather than relying on generalized stereotypes and other assumptions.

With our quiz, creatives have the option to test out their decisions against a richer dataset that unlocks areas of opportunity hidden behind complex behaviors and trends. On May 4th, we’ll be demoing the quiz at the Made in NY Media Center Demo Day Marketplace. We want your input to be part of the results we share with media industry professionals at Demo Day.

“Give it a try; the worst that can happen is that you might influence someone to create your favorite character of all time.” — Tumblr User

Please take a few minutes to think about your favorite characters, and take the quiz.

Then, pass it on. The more information there is in total, the more the results of this quiz can be used to help storytellers craft the characters you can relate to. This quiz protects your privacy — while the results will be looked at in aggregate, no personal information of any kind is tracked (or even asked).

As one quiz taker put it, “Give it a try; the worst that can happen is that you might influence someone to create your favorite character of all time.”

January 24, 2022 - Comments Off on Apply to be a TechTank Mentor

Apply to be a TechTank Mentor

Technology has the potential to level the playing field, but we need your help.

TechTank is a new program from Thicket Labs that connects aspiring young technologists from all over New York City with industry professionals working in the tech industry for flexible mentorship. You'll be joining mentors from Spotify, Vimeo, and MongoDB who are making change at their companies from the ground up.

Apply to teach aspiring young New Yorkers about building a career in tech.
Why should you sign up to be a TechTank Mentor?

Flexible mentorship means you can sign up for one-session, two-session, or three-month packages - whatever fits your schedule.

Your mentorship experience kicks off at TechTank Demo Day, where you'll meet your mentee, enjoy delicious bites, great giveaways, and plan out your mentorship sessions.

Our talent matching algorithm creates mentor and mentee pairs optimized for a more successful experience.

Mentees learn first-hand what it really takes to get started in the tech industry. Mentors pave the way for a more inclusive tech industry.

As a mentor, you'll get started at TechTank Demo Day February 4th at ThoughtWorks NYC and meet other people committed to building a stronger tech industry in New York City.

Sign up today and be entered to win a $100 gift card from Shapeways for 3D-printed goodness!

We'll see you at Demo Day!

January 12, 2022 - Comments Off on Save the Date for TechTank Demo Day

Save the Date for TechTank Demo Day

6-8:30pm, Thursday February 4th, 2016 at ThoughtWorks NYC.

TechTank Demo Day brings together industry experts, investors, tech education service providers, community members and students to launch talent pipeline solutions for New York City's tech industry.

Many young New Yorkers who aspire to have careers in the technology industry aren’t connecting to industry opportunities. The TechTank team has identified disconnects in the existing tech ecosystem and are designing solutions to connect stakeholders and strengthen the local talent pipeline.

- Hear about how the city is supporting innovation in the local tech industry, startups, innovators, and students.

- Learn how to use smart talent matching to build the local tech talent pipeline.

- Give feedback on the program alongside representatives from the technology and education sectors.

- Meet other people committed to building a stronger tech industry in New York City.

Pre-Register for Demo Day

We'll see you on Thursday February 4th at ThoughtWorks NYC!

TechTank Demo Day is produced by Thicket Labs in partnership with The Knowledge House and ThoughtWorks.

December 1, 2021 - Comments Off on Data-Driven Workshops at Thicket Labs

Data-Driven Workshops at Thicket Labs

Recently, Thicket Labs brought a group of young working professionals based in New York together to think about the topic of meaningful employment. Together, we mapped opportunities and challenges associated with the search for meaningful work. We then took our greatest opportunity, networking, and created a journey map of phases and steps from the process of being disconnected to being a successful networker.


Designing for Engagement

Since we focus on designing workshops that engage all types of learners, we built our agenda using design thinking activities that offer visual thinking, tactile interactions, and storytelling opportunities to engage our participants as they developed their ideas. Our outputs show the richness of the process, as we developed a prioritized map of opportunities and challenges.


Design thinking creates opportunities for deep collaboration -- which is why it's such a workflow essential for so many teams, in the boardroom or out in the field. But when it comes to actionable outputs and measurable insights, the lo-fi format of the data captured from design thinking activities often falls short. The results can be tough to translate into charts and figures for further analysis and action.

Translating Insights into Data

Thicket extracts data from the design thinking experience for stronger workshop outcomes. We use our collaborative intelligence platform, the Possibility Engine, to transform qualitative workshop insights into quantitative datasets for more robust analysis and action. Our datasets are analyzable in a variety of ways using the Possibility Engine, and can be integrated with datasets from other workshops held on another day or in another location. The Possibility Engine includes tools like network analysis and predictive analysis that help shed light on more dynamic or nuanced contexts, like the job search experience.


What We Learned

So what did we learn about meaningful employment from young professionals living and working in New York?

  1. Out of the 9 overall opportunities and challenges identified by our group, networking was the number one opportunity for meaningful employment.
  2. While the number of challenges around meaningful employment outweighed the number of opportunities 5 to 4, the voting process revealed that challenges were deemed less important than opportunities overall.
  3. The practical and the emotional sides of the networking journey are interrelated and messy.
  4. For this group, the journey to becoming a champion networker involves 5 steps: identify barriers, research skills to overcome them, practice skills with trusted friends, apply them in the real world, get results.
  5. Step 2, 3 and 4 are interconnected and show the presence of feedback loops. Some of these feedback loops could be further unraveled in a future workshop.
  6. The middle of the emotional journey is associated with thinking and learning states of mind, like self-reflection and observation, while the beginning and end of the journey are characterized by highly charged emotions, like fear and confidence.
Taking It Further

Conducting this same workshop with more and varied groups of participants will enrich our dataset and reveal new perspectives on what meaningful employment looks like, both in New York but also potentially around the world.  If you're interested in bringing this data-driven workshop to your team, please reach out. And for more on our custom data-driven workshop practice, read our Workshop overview.

June 24, 2022 - Comments Off on Healthcare Innovation Starts with Community

Healthcare Innovation Starts with Community


Thicket advisor Pritpal S Tamber explores the future of health through his work, and this week, he talks to AJ Montpetit of the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation in an audio interview about how we approach innovation within health care. The importance of listening to communities cannot be undervalued, and he encourages an iterative approach to redesigning healthcare systems. Take a listen:

And of course, we’re pleased to have Thicket highlighted as one of the exciting developments in the space!

May 29, 2022 - Comments Off on Emerging Tools for Community-Driven Evaluations

Emerging Tools for Community-Driven Evaluations


Last year, I had the opportunity to take part in “Designing Evaluations For What Communities Value,” a meeting organized by the Institute of Medicine’s Collaborative on Global Chronic Disease along with Thicket Advisor Pritpal S Tamber. The meeting brought together people trying to think differently about community-driven health programs. Our key questions were: How do we improve programs in ways that are aligned with what a unique community strives for? How do we understand how communities view health and wellness in the first place?

As Editorial Director for Medicine for the BMJ and as Physician Editor in the editorial team for TEDMED 2013, Pritpal has closely tracked clinical evidence and healthcare innovation for many years. Based on his experience, Pritpal founded the Creating Health Collaborative to understand why, despite their potential, broader definitions of health remain only a fringe of health innovation. And today, the Creating Health Collaborative is proposing a new way to define health as more than just the absence of disease, and as a way for people to take a growth mindset approach towards their health.

This year, Pritpal, along with Leigh Carroll and Bridget Kelly, have once again brought together a cross-section of community health professionals and evaluation practitioners, this time in a public forum. The Communities Creating Health series is being featured in the Stanford Social innovation Review over the next few weeks, and I'm pleased to share Thicket's contribution: "Emerging Tools for Community-Driven Evaluations." The piece features eight tools that can prove useful in this emerging space and covers a range of approaches derived from design thinking, community organizing, and systems analysis.

New articles in the series are published twice a week, and you can access the full Communities Creating Health series here. Read more of Pritpal's thinking in Community, Movements, and Spread: It’s the Process That Matters.

April 2, 2022 - Comments Off on Thicket Joins the ThoughtWorks Community

Thicket Joins the ThoughtWorks Community


Thicket has been a Brooklyn baby from its inception. But starting this week, that changes: Thicket is moving to Manhattan, thanks to our generous host, ThoughtWorksNYC!

Built by passionate individuals, ThoughtWorks revolutionizes software design, creation and delivery while advocating for positive social change. ThoughtWorkers around the world believe in the power of software and technology as tools for social change.

Starting this week, you'll find Thicket at 99 Madison Avenue in the Manhattan ThoughtWorks office. 

The Thicket team is thrilled to be working out of the Manhattan office and joining an extended community of researchers, designers & technologists passionate about sharing what we learn for the greater good.

How will this change Thicket? Expect more invitations to community programs from us -- lunchtime talks, workshops, and other events around the city that unite design and technology in the service of building knowledge and impact. More on that front soon.

In the meantime, get in touch to visit us in our new digs! 

February 11, 2022 - Comments Off on Thicket turns one!

Thicket turns one!


This month marks Thicket's one year anniversary!

As many of you know, I launched Thicket one year ago believing that design could facilitate social change, and systemic scale was possible. In February of last year, I started inviting like-minded individuals to collaborate to bring these ideas into reality. By summer, we had a team. By fall, we had our technology platform, the Possibility Engine. By winter, we had a full service consulting practice and design lab. In one year, Thicket has developed a whole new approach to creating impact in complex systems. We have a new article in Stanford Social Innovation Review today that represents our latest thinking called "Cracking the Black Box of Human Reasoning."

This week, we are partnering with the Institute for Child Success to host a documentary film screening and conversation in New York. "Small Steps" explores the lives of young mothers and their children, and opportunities for design to connect and align systemic resources  to better serve their needs. We hope you'll be able to join us Thursday evening at Fordham University. Get all the film screening details.

We're looking forward to exciting things in year two!

January 9, 2022 - Comments Off on Small Steps: A documentary on design for early childhood systems

Small Steps: A documentary on design for early childhood systems

In South Carolina, one think tank is taking a fresh approach to redesigning the complex systems that surround children and their families.

Last year, the Institute for Child Success embarked on a special exploration of the potential for design thinking to tackle complex, systems-level challenges in early childhood health and education. The result is Small Steps, a documentary film exploring the lives of young mothers and their children, and opportunities for design

Together with the Institute for Child Success and Ferebee Lane, Thicket is hosting a special screening of "Small Steps" in New York City. Please join us!

Small Steps: A Screening & Panel Discussion

February 12, 2022
Owen T. Gorman Moot Courtroom
Fordham Law School
150 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023


Clare Huntington, Professor of Law, Fordham Law School
Matt Ferebee, Principal, Ferebee Lane
Kippy Joseph, Associate Director, Innovation, The Rockefeller Foundation
Darnell Byrd McPherson, Executive Director, Darlington County First Steps
Deepthi Welaratna, Founder & Principal, Thicket Labs