Commercial: What we do

We deal in knowledge: How to gather it, organise it, test it, and disseminate it.

We use a large toolkit of methods to handle the full range of types of knowledge, memory and skill. We're specialists in semi-tacit and tacit knowledge, which are difficult or impossible to access using interviews, questionnaires and focus groups.

We've written a range of standard texts on these topics; our work has featured in documentaries and in the Economist, the Guardian and Scientific American.

This example shows how our approaches give powerful new insights into a classic issue of market research.



We specialise in hard problems, often where the client doesn't know where to start. We're experts on error, and on cases where people can't put knowledge into words.

Example: G4S asked Gordon to find out why some store detectives were making more arrests than others; was it training, skill, or something else? The answer turned out to be unexpected.



Workshops and training

Our workshops cover the methods you need to handle the full range of types of memory, knowledge and skill.

They're particularly useful for semi-tacit and tacit knowledge; for instance, things that people don't think to mention in interviews and questionnaires, and situations when people can't put their knowledge into words.


  • Finding out what your clients and customers really think
  • Better ways to generate new ideas
  • Clearer ways to present information




Workshops for universities and colleges

We specialise in the big picture of how the academic world works, and in the craft skills which go with that big picture.

Our book The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research is a classic explanation of what a PhD is really about, and of key skills that most books don't mention.

Our workshops cover the big picture and the key skills.


  • Research design and methods: Beyond surveys and interviews; integrating qualitative and quantitative
  • Academic writing: Why it is the way that it is, and how to use it well
  • Literature reviews: Their purpose, their pitfalls, and how to do them properly
  • PhDs: The big picture, including the things that nobody thought to tell you
  • heir nature, and how to conduct them efficiently and well
  • Lost and confused: A gentle overview of academia and research, for students who feel overwhelmed




We have had a broad range of unusual achievements and experiences. We give inspirational and thought-provoking talks about how to solve apparently unsolvable problems, and how to make dreams come true.


    • Gordon Rugg: Finding a solution to a centuries-old mystery that had defied the world's best codebreakers
    • Jo Hyde: Finding what you really want in life
    • Kate Breeze: From student to Hollywood consultant
    • Jennifer Skillen: New ways of thinking about medical problems
    • Crina Samarghitean: Advice from Nobel prize winners