Hello and welcome

Right, so from now on, you have a friend in the 'innovation' business. As D&AD said at Adweek 2015, "Ads are great, inventions are better".

So when you're needing to invent new stuff that customers love, the tech wizardry that sells it to them smartly, and the intuitive nudges that designs it into their daily rituals, call us. 

Better still, call in and we'll put the kettle on...

Who we've worked with

barnados
riseto
rentokil
macmillan
visionfund
virgin
prs
nspcc
m3
iplayer
isba
ey
experian
elc
edf
coral
dma
Research
Strategy
NPD
Sales
Community

We create innovation programmes for businesses across a range of sectors from health and fitness to finance.

FMCG

Health and Fitness

Energy

Trade Bodies

Finance

Retail

Media and Entertainment

Food and Beverage

Travel and Hospitality

Luxury

Business Product Services

Professional

Charity

Not-for-proffit

Public Sector

Patients

Parents

Students

Writers

High Net-worth Individuals

Entrepeneurs

Salespeople

Graduates

Songwriters

Donors

Citizens

Entertainers

Marketers

Cleaners

Money Managers

Research Amnesty

Customer Co-creation

Ethnographic Research

Trend Analysis

Future Scaping

Brand Architecture

Value Proposition Development

Go-to Market Strategies

Business Modelling

Intuitive Product Design

Disruptive Service Design

Immersive Experience Design

Sales Programmers and Tools

Sales Training

Customer Communities

Influencer Programmes

Open and Cloud Innovation Platforms

Social Movements

Sectors

FMCG

Health and Fitness

Energy

Trade Bodies

Finance

Retail

Media and Entertainment

Food and Beverage

Travel and Hospitality

Luxury

Business Product Services

Professional

Charity

Not-for-proffit

Public Sector

Customers

Patients

Parents

Students

Writers

High Net-worth Individuals

Entrepeneurs

Salespeople

Graduates

Songwriters

Donors

Citizens

Entertainers

Marketers

Cleaners

Money Managers

Services

  • Research
  • Strategy
  • NPD
  • Sales
  • Community

Research Amnesty

Customer Co-creation

Ethnographic Research

Trend Analysis

Future Scaping

Brand Architecture

Value Proposition Development

Go-to Market Strategies

Business Modelling

Intuitive Product Design

Disruptive Service Design

Immersive Experience Design

Sales Programmers and Tools

Sales Training

Customer Communities

Influencer Programmes

Open and Cloud Innovation Platforms

Social Movements

Our challenges

virgin

How can we productise our service in a market where our product is being commoditised?

ey

How can we differentiate ourselves amongst the big 4 auditing firms as Britain undergoes political, economic and cultural change?

prs

How can we sell a music licence to small business owners who see it as a tax rather than something worth paying for?

shh

How can we optimise the value of our company for sale?

King1

How can we develop strategies to optimise the value of the free gaming model?

 

macmillan

How do we invent a new fundraising product that wins the support of those donors who have least interest in our charity?

experian

How can we develop financial services products around our customers, not our credentials, capabilities and commercial model (and then do it again)?

rentokil

How can we protect our place as global leader in feminine hygiene services and future-proof our brand?

edf

How can we lead the initiative to rebuild trust in Britain’s energy sector?

nspcc

How can we reduce abuse among a new generation of British parents?

experian

How can we increase our success rate in bringing new products to market to expand our portfolio beyond credit?

edf

How can we launch a new service in a new market area in the UK to achieve a significant share of our global revenue ambition by 2020?

riseto

How can we create another graduate recruitment site in what’s fast becoming a crowded market?

 

dma

How can one of the largest – and oldest – communications trade bodies in Europe reinvent itself for a digital world and arrest the erosion of its membership base?

shh

How can we optimise the value of our company for sale?

visionfund

How can we create a fundraising programme for a new charity aimed at high net worth individuals?

elc

How can we redesign the in-store experience for new parents?

isba

How can we promote ‘innovation’ as part of the essential agency mix for future-looking advertisers?

iplayer

How can we develop the next product version to win new audiences?

Fujitsu

How can we lead the evolution of our clients ’business’ model in a tech-enabled world?

prs

How can we reinvent the music licensing model with value amongst business owners who consider it a tax?

Our solutions

A ground-breaking campaign that launched a new product with a new way for businesses to think about their energy – and achieved double its sales target.

A customer co-creation project that brought passionate players into the heart of the game design process to help make their in-game experience more exciting, more rewarding and more profitable for King.

An innovation programme that combined in-market community and sales feedback to identify the most marketable proposition – and made the front page news in the national press.

A future lab inside a trade body that reclaims the brand’s reputation for creativity by reinventing a craft they – and Britain – were once renown for.

A disruptive sales programme that educated small business owners in the use of music to change their customers’ behaviour and, by doing so, reached over 7 million people in local media coverage.

A unique in-home experience that enables customers to get the most out of their connected media – and differentiates the brand in a too-easily commodotised marketplace.

An interactive energy decision-making tool that makes a complex pricing system not only more transparent, but also easier for every customer to buy into (and every sales consultant to sell).

A new category-challenging product designed to reach the segment least likely to give to Macmillan – and build giving into their ordinary daily rituals with an inventive ‘irregular-regular’ giving mechanic.

A thought leadership programme that repositions a ‘big 4′ auditing firm as a real-time authority on the changing business of megaprojects.

A cultural movement which harnesses the power of graduates and entrepreneurs to launch a new matchmaking platform that disrupts the traditional recruitment model.

An organisational change programme that helped to transform a ‘trade body’ into a digitally connected, enabled and inspired ‘professional community’, increasing membership for three consecutive years.

We are a bunch of...

coffee-guzzling, problem-wrestling, behaviour-obsessing,
habit-making, tech-transforming, hothousing, product-designing,
market-disrupting, growth-hacking, dragon-slaying innovators.

Who are we

Who are we

Abundance is a customer-centred innovation company.

Hold on, rewind …?!

Back in our heady start up days, why did we open an innovation company? Well, with long careers behind us in advertising, marketing innovation, business strategy and new product development, we asked our clients what kind of ad agency they needed most.

They were unequivocal. They didn’t need another ad agency.

They just needed a bunch of smart disruptors who could help them invent new stuff their customers love (and buy and talk about and sell and …!)

Enough said.

What we do

What we do

Put simply, we make the most of what our clients have to make stuff their customers love to make money for their businesses.

Breakthrough products. Disruptive services. Immersive experiences. Brand-activating communities. Game-changing brands. And future-proofed businesses.

To get started, we tap into what you know about your customers. We call it your company’s Customer Quotient and, of course, our theory is: the higher your CQ, the higher you can expect your ROI. So if yours isn’t high enough, we improve it. Fast.

Then we use our Extreme NPD model to not only invent what your customers want, but also design it into their life’s rituals.

So they don’t just try it. They buy it. They use it. They love it. They talk about it. They share it. They make it their own. They sell it for you. And they want to help you make it new, better or different as they change and want it to change with them.

Bottom line? We make what you sell more valuable to your customers, and your customers more valuable to your business.

How we work

How we work

We start with where our clients are. Right here. Right now.

We integrate innovation into their business-as-usual activity, build on assets they already have, train their people on live projects and tap into budgets readily available. We call it our Inside Out, Outside In framework.

And what’s more, our thinkers and doers work directly with our clients. No account services teams in between. No selling. No lagtime. We’re lean, fast and cost-effective.

Within 24 hours of our client pressing ‘go’, we can have an innovation team set up to get on with the challenge. Then we run live work using an agile approach to programme management, breaking them into achievable sprints to clear and measured targets.

And depending on our clients’ culture and workload, we can take them with us on the journey, upskilling their teams as we go and bringing them closer to their customers … or we can take the challenge away, work independently and free them to get on with their own business.

The
Abundance Labs

Our clients think of our Labs, as theirs.

The Innovation Lab is where we invent customer-loved solutions that grow our clients’ businesses.But we couldn’t do it without experts in business, customers, design and technology. So each of our other Labs has a rich network of talent on tap.

Some clients use us as their full-service innovation company and get us collaborating with their ad, design, PR and other agencies.

Other clients ask us to implant a Lab into their companies and lead it so their teams can roll up their sleeves and get stuck in.

The challenge might engage just one or all of our five labs. But no matter where in the journey a business is, our focus is on one destination – growth.

Tech Lab

Building simulated customer environments

  • Rapid prototyping
  • Live/wild online testing
  • Customer experience simulation
  • Real-world customer trials

Business Lab

Mining insight from the inside out, outside in

  • Market intelligence
  • Social listening
  • Business discovery
  • Purpose-based needs analysis
  • Territory identification
  • Dashboard real-time monitoring and reporting
  • Business casing

Design Lab

  • Product and service design
  • Experience modelling
  • Community seeding
  • Platform and asset design
  • User experience design

Customer Lab

Bringing customers to the heart of the process

  • Rational, emotional & social insights
  • Trend discovery
  • Qual and quant research
  • Customer co-creation
  • Behaviour by design

Innovation Lab

Inventing game-changing solutions

  • Proposition development
  • Hairy audacious goal setting
  • Responsive narrative arc tracking
  • Strategy and solution blueprinting

Meet some of the key people in our team

debi

Debi Bester

Co-founder and Managing director

chris

Chris Ward

Co-founder and Managing Director

hudson

Chris Hudson

Deputy Managing Director

owain

Owain Cleary

Head of Innovation

rupert

Rupert Tebb

Product Designer

jenn

Jenn Torry

Innovation Associate

thomas

Thomas Dowdell

Brand Designer and Innovator

tom

Tom Baker

Film Maker

What object from your life journey made it to our innovation shelf?

A handmade guitar crafted from an old brandy tin by an aspiring street musician in Africa. Why? It exemplifies the spirit of Abundance: taking the ordinary everyday and working with people to cocreate the extraordinary.
PS. This ended up in the hands of Eric Clapton.

Debi Bester

Co-founder and Managing director

What characterises your job?

I turn the development of new products and services, even business models, into the extreme sport every client wants to play: sexy, famous, profitable – and yet safe.

Why do clients value what you do?

I start where they are and with what they’ve got. I break down the walls between departments. I bring customers to the heart of their businesses. I turn their teams into change makers. I ignite ingenuity but keep the focus on delivery. I always take responsibility. I manage risk so they don’t have to. I help them get buy-in, bottom to top. I drive fast results. And I make our clients, the stars.

Most challenging brief?

Launch ‘innovation’ as an emerging discipline, service and business model at a time when UK marketers were in the throes of the worst cuts in 30 years.

Your firsts?

First Innovation Director appointed to the board of a marketing communications agency in the UK.

Opened the first innovation lab in a marcomms agency in the UK.

First in UK to win over 30 awards for a marketing campaign that reached a million people without buying media, data or production services.

First Innovation Director to win Best Paper Award from the Marketing Research Society.

Any inventions?

A social mail product for Royal Mail. A To Do List app for P&G. Off-the-shelf holidays in a box for Holiday Inn. A sportswear range for Shell/Continental featuring recycled winning F1 tyres … and so many more. Always happy to share them over a cuppa!

Any awards on the shelf?

110 awards for innovation, creativity, strategy and research across Europe, the US and Africa, with two thirds of them being Grand Prix or Gold.

Training that made you an innovator?

10 years as an Innovation Director on the boards of several companies, including my own.

And 15 years before that working in journalism, live TV, advertising and marketing.

Heroes of innovation?

All the quiet revolutionaries and radicals I’ve worked with on my journey here (you know who you are!).

You’re a game-changer in work, how about in life?

I’ve always tried to change my world. First through poetry (winning an Index on Censorship Prize from former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes). Then through politics (as the youngest Secretary of the Democratic Party in South Africa’s biggest constituency). Now through training aspirant writers (as Writer-in-Residence at the DMA) and coaching rising leaders (as Co-founder The Reinvention Works with my partner).

What object from your life journey made it to our innovation shelf?

A cup of coffee – it’s where all our projects begin. Clients don’t give us briefs, they share problems with us over a cuppa. We get through a fair few cups here at Abundance as it’s also the very fuel that gets our team from the early morning ideas to the small hour inspirations. In fact, it’s time for a top-up about now!

Chris Ward

Co-founder and Managing Director

3 things you do that characterise your job?

Coffee conversations with game-changer clients who want to drive customer centric innovation through their company. The management of a new model consultancy that delivers commercial value. Meeting new, inspirational, exceptionally talented, often frustrated people who are looking for a route through the ‘no sayers’ that surround them.

Why do clients value what you do?

Game-changers wear many hats and have multiple challenges within their organisation. I offer the opportunity in a coffee conversation to frame and articulate their big hairy audacious goals as distinct from the business as usual. In short I help to reframe, refocus how they can drive change.

Most challenging brief?

How can you bring together Surgeons, Doctors and medical professionals with corporate pharmaceutical companies when both parties have completely different values, opinions and cultural objectives. Is there a common ground where both minds can meet amicably?

Your firsts?

First to launch a global weight loss product, pioneered in the US across Europe.
First to launch the first car sharing scheme in the UK.
First to launch a credit card with a focus on value base and profitable book rather than volume base to secure market share.
First to the bar.

Any inventions?

Abundance!, (with Debi Bester).

What object from your life journey made it to our innovation shelf?

Everyone loves Play-Doh. Place a small tub in front of anyone, young or old, and you’ll see the magic unfold. We think less about how to make things, when it’s easy to squish it up and start again. Play-Doh represents a fundamental principle of Innovation which we use here at Abundance. Fail fast to succeed faster.

Chris Hudson

Deputy Managing Director

3 things you do that characterise your job?

I look for new opportunities to help clients grow their businesses.

Having shaped a strategy, I then help the team deliver breakthrough products or service ideas.

I also lead the commercial and operational function here at Abundance.

Why do clients value what you do?

In a company bursting with ideas, I make the seemingly impossible, possible.

I find lean and ingenious ways to make strategies deliver in the real world.

I develop the systems by which projects are rolled out, reported on and refined.

And I create robust ways to measure the value we generate for our clients’ businesses.

Most challenging brief?

Helping our home media client discover new revenue streams from what was a best-in-class but ‘free’ customer experience.

Oh, then there was that brief which involved launching a car into space.

Your firsts?

Managed the UK’s first direct communication strategy to every household and business address in the UK.

Launched a brand new luxury car brand and the world’s first electric car.

Created an agency’s first Planning and Social Media division.

Training that made you an innovator?

I’ve always chosen to work with the best of the best, with people from highly diverse backgrounds. I’m lucky to have learnt from game-changing and award-winning strategists, creative directors, commercial directors, technologists, engineers, sportsmen, writers and artists, to mention a few. The list is still growing, of course…

Heroes of innovation?

Some obvious ones like Edward de Bono, Ray Kurzweil and David Kelly, of course. Then Dieter Seitzer and Karl-Heinz Brandenburg who made digital music possible, something I can’t now live without.

You’re a game-changer in work, how about in life?

My wife and I constantly think about this. With the help of our two kids we take great joy in rediscovering life at each stage. And with every week that goes by, there’s something to challenge our attitudes or behaviorus. If you look hard enough there’s every opportunity to reflect, re-think and re-invent

What object from your life journey made it to our innovation shelf?

Innovation is about change. Every Easter, I take disabled children to Lourdes for a week’s life-changing holiday. I wear this hat – full of badges, swapped with people who experienced positive change over the years. I might not wear the hat at work, but I do bring the same attitude: make positive change in people’s lives.

Owain Cleary

Head of Innovation

3 things you do that characterise your job?

Working hand-in-hand with customers to unlock unexpected and rich insights

Developing new product and service propositions and testing them in-market

Thought-leadership in complex and changing sectors undergoing some of the most seismic shifts in decades

Why do clients value what you do?

Inspiring their teams to be more innovative

Bringing customers to the heart of their business

Unlocking emotional and social insights, not just rational ones

Solving complex challenges and wicked problems

Most challenging brief?

Designing an identity service that people don’t know they need and don’t want to talk about.

Your firsts?

I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the teams who:

Created the first online portal for commercial radio in the UK

Branded, designed and launched the first online postage app in the UK for Royal Mail

Branded, designed and launched the first click and collect app in the UK for Royal Mail

Created first transmedia experience for Channel 4

Any inventions?

The Energy Canvas, a proprietary tool that helps companies plan their energy strategy.

Any accolades?

A BAFTA nomination for a transmedia experience created for Channel 4.

Training that made you an innovator?

Working with Debi for 10 years

Heroes of innovation?

David Kelly, godfather of design thinking

Ricardo Semler, pioneer of workplace democracy and corporate re-engineering.

Rahul Sen, the person I worked with who inspired me to get into innovation

You’re a game-changer in work, how about in life?

Organising an annual trip to Lourdes for disabled children with national charity HCPT, something I wouldn’t give up for the world.

The innovation brief you’re waiting for …

Re-designing this country’s education system

What object from your life journey made it to our innovation shelf?

Innovation starts and ends with people. Observe them, understand them and build things to work with their existing behaviour, not the behaviour you want them to have.

Rupert Tebb

Product Designer

3 things you do that characterise your job?

I believe that Service Design requires three key traits:

– The ability to feel how other people experience. Not just in a shallow intellectual high level way but in a richer deeper emotional and social capacity.

– To be evangelical about prototyping. Services are slippery things to develop and it’s arrogant to think you can get them 100% right first time round. They need patience, tenacity and stewardship to be willed into being.

– Trust. The development of new services is often about exploring new territory. There is no route map when you set off, there will be false turns and dead ends. It is vital that you are trusted to lead the expedition.

Why do clients value what you do?

Services are the intersection of products, customer and brand interactions, brand, business models, physical spaces, communities … I have a knack for creating coherence across a very broad range of tangible and intangible elements.

Most challenging brief?

Catalysing a grassroots campaign to make cities safer for women.

Your firsts?

I set up and ran the first technology and behaviour change meet-up in the UK with good friend and co-conspirator Paul Batterham.

Was part of the team that successfully campaigned for LGBT marriage rights.
Set up a Facebook group for my street – probably the most unexpected source of happiness in my life in the last 6 months :)

Any inventions?

Ha. I live in Peckham and I’m always amused by the random yoking together of different things – Rye Wax, for example, is a craft beer bar, banh-mi cafe and vinyl shop combined. Inspired by that I’m working with a friend on a beard trimming, bike and coffee shop. It will be big.

Heroes of innovation?

Drew Houston – who made DropBox, thank you!

The design team that made Nurofen meltlets.

The drag queens of the West Village in New York who had the balls to reimagine life for gay men in the Stonewall riots.

You’re a game-changer in work, how about in life?

I’m an activist at heart. Always have a social cause or two that I’m interested in.

The innovation brief you’re waiting for …

Something to do with making craft beers…. Hmm, maybe I should be a brewer?

What object from your life journey made it to our innovation shelf?

At Abundance, we innovate by doing – we lace up our trainers and experience the world as our customers do. Whether we're shopping with them, cocreating with them or even running around with their families, one thing is for sure - Im leaving the stilettos at home.

Jenn Torry

Innovation Associate

3 things you do that characterise your job?

1. Design methodologies to unearth insights that will identify opportunities for organisational growth

2. Lead teams (film-makers, designers, coders) to create products and services that customers love

3. Constantly keep my ear to the ground for trends that will impact our clients’ businesses and create opportunity to do better, faster and more valuable than ever.

Why do clients value what you do?

Because I bring fresh perspective to their business, looking from the inside out and the outside in.

Most challenging brief?

Reinventing a solution for an invisible category that’s the last taboo.

Your firsts?

I founded my high school’s first ever poetry (does that count?)
Then, fast fowarding:

– Launched the first 100 calorie crisp pack for Pringles in 2003.

– Launched the first self-tanning moisturizer in 2005, creating an onslaught of copy-cat products and spin offs.

– Introduced the Vodafone brand into Tanzania, Mozambique and the Faroe Islands.

Training that made you an innovator?

Apart from the ‘Abundance Boot Camp’, no formal training, but have always had an insatiable curiosity for the world around me and am constantly exploring ways which we can leave it better than we found it.

Heroes of innovation?

Thomas Edison (a fellow New Jersian) who believed that failure was a necessary step towards success

You’re a game-changer in work, how about in life?

I sit on the board of trustees for a local addictions and support charity (ASCA) which counsels those suffering with addiction from drugs, alcohol and gambling. It’s a genuinely rewarding experience to witness people create positive change in their lives and reinforces your faith in what we can do.

The innovation brief you’re waiting for …

To reinvent the takeaway lunch experience for UK’s M-F workforce – it lacks total inspiration and is so critical to giving people the boost they need to be productive, happy and successful during their day.

What object from your life journey made it to our innovation shelf?

Innovation is all about reframing the ordinary. Take an everyday brick of Charcoal through manipulating its carbon particles you can create a material that has the potential to build an elevator to space.

Thomas Dowdell

Brand Designer and Innovator

3 things you do that characterise your job?

– Setting the design benchmark for the company and our clients’ projects.

– Using design to visualise and prototype the products and services we develop.

– Designing the customer interface and experience during the innovation process.

Why do clients value what you do?

I believe god is in the detail, I’m proactive and I work at lightning speed.

I work in a collaborative way that enriches the output.

I create balanced, considered and beautiful solutions that have impact.

Most challenging brief?

Engage, educate and empower people to do something they’d sooner ignore: stay safe online.

Your firsts?

Creating a successful sub-brand for a major high-street retailer.

Designing the identity of a video games conference that evolved to partner with the biggest event in Europe.

Designed the branding and UI for a native spotify app.

Launching Xbox One with a co-branding project with Microsoft culminating in designing Shoreditch based Box Park store.

Any inventions?

The Energy Canvas; a proprietary tool that helps businesses plan their energy strategy.

Training that made you an innovator?

At university I got involved with Pecha Kucha, presenting on ‘Carbon nano tubes’.

I studied for a year in China where I learnt to speak Mandarin.

I’m an Interaction Design Foundation student, studying ’Design Thinking,’ ‘gamification’ and ‘the psychology of interaction design’.

Heroes of innovation?

Philipe Stark – I once visited LAN, a restaurant and club he designed and it blew me away.

You’re a game-changer in work, how about in life?

I grew up in a family that fostered and my grandfather’s life’s work is the charity he built from the ground up. So I take any opportunity to be philanthropic, helping in homeless shelters, playing in sporting events to raise funds, arranging bake-offs … oh and I’m also a registered donor and supporter of Anthony Nolan, leukaemia charity.

The innovation brief you’re waiting for …

I want to fix the user experience of the London Underground.

What object from your life journey made it to our innovation shelf?

Spray paint echoes the way we approach innovation here at Abundance. We leave a mark. We're brave, bold and we push ourselves to take risks and be seen.

Tom Baker

Film Maker

3 things you do that characterise your job?

I love to tell bold and brave stories, be it an immersive documentary tracking megaprojects across Britain or a series of research films for female sanitary bins, helping to collect insights and build intimate communities.

Why do clients value what you do?

Filmmaking can add value to any project. It can help document a research product, observe and track human behaviour and promote bespoke products. In my opinion, a good story well told still has the power to turn ordinary life into extraordinary value.

Most challenging brief?

How do you inspire small business owners to pay their music license?

Any inventions?

One of my proudest inventions was finding an innovative way to get more people to donate to the United Nations World Food Programme. The idea was to partner an undiscovered giving service, Freerice 2.0, with Googles reCaptcha technology. With over 200 million captchas completed each day I found an original way to turn a daily annoyance into a tool to end world hunger.

Any accolades?

SWARM Hackathon 2013 Joint Winner.

Footage I shot in 2012 was selected to be part of ‘Britain in a Day’ film that was screened on BBC 1 and at the BFI.

Training that mad you an innovator?

A year spent at a disruptive advertising school called ‘The School of Communication Arts’.

Heroes of innovation?

James Dyson

You’re a game-changer in work, how about in life?

In my spare time I am working on a short documentary about Blood Bikers. These are a network of volunteer bikers across Britain who donate their time to delivering emergency blood packages from hospitals across the country. I want to meet the people involved in the chain who make this such a professional operation. I want the film to raise the profile of these unsung heroes in our society.

inspiration-1 inspiration-3 inspiration-4
16 Connaught Place, Marble Arch, London, W2 2ES