Innovation Meets Real-World Solutions at NewCo San Francisco

NewCo. conference

This past week Schaffer&Combs joined more than 100 Bay Area mission-driven companies in presenting our work at NewCo San Francisco. In a room packed with recent college graduates and a wide spectrum of consultants, entrepreneurs, and academics, we had the pleasure of talking about how S&C leverages human-centered design (HCD) to maximize the outcomes of our client work.

In our session, we talked about creating real, measurable impact through human-centered design (HCD) in our client engagements. By far the best part of this session came when we had our attendees create a work plan using HCD approaches based on a real client scenario. We gave them six minutes, and in that brief time they performed spectacularly, emphasizing nearly all of the key elements of stakeholder empowerment, empathy, continuous feedback, and continued involvement through the design process. The white boards in our room were a map of lines and scribbles and question marks – and also true, viable solutions.


This may come as a surprise, but getting a bunch of consultants into a room isn’t always riveting; but this was a lively, spirited morning. Our team felt  as if we’d not talked at the conference participants, but had actually talked with them. Participating in NewCo  was refreshing. The bold new conference format flips the old conference style on its head, meaning participants aren’t sitting in a stuffy hotel ballroom, but instead they get to visit the companies they’re most intrigued, inspired and confounded by – at their actual offices. While there, the founders and leaders of these most talked-about companies tell participants about their journey through the ups and downs of entrepreneurialism.


We are grateful to NewCo for their careful method of layering innovation on innovation. Out of that can come innumerable solutions to the daunting challenges facing our world today. Sign us up for next year.



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