September 9, 2016

Show-and-Tell at Hirsch & Mann during the Maker Mile Open Evening

Hirsch & Mann are thrilled to be hosting a ‘show-and-tell’ event in their Vyner St studio, on the 19th of September from 6pm onwards. The makers of Hirsch and Mann will be revealing some exciting prototypes, and providing visitors the opportunity to discuss the benefits of physical technology over drinks.

Hirsch & Mann is a design and technology consultancy with a dynamic approach to experimentation, testing, and the development of immersive experiences and impactful products. Their passion for craft, design and production of creative technology synthesises digital information systems, electro-mechanical systems, sculptural forms, and print-based media. Formed by a group of designers and engineers, and working alongside ambitious businesses that dare to do things differently, Hirsch & Mann aims to contribute to the vision of Tomorrow, elevating the design field, provoking change, and challenging themselves through innovative work.

Join us for a fun evening of networking, discovering and learning.

For more info and details about Hirsch and Mann:
And find more info about the Maker Mile here:

March 3, 2016

Kids creating objects of the future!


What would happen if Shipley art Gallery transformed into a time machine and we were suddenly in year 2050? How would objects behave? If it had a personality would it then be angry or sweet? Would the objects have super powers?

These are some of the questions we asked 50 kids at the Shipley Art Gallery, at the Adventures in Design workshop with innovation lab Future Everything. With the biggest imagination and creative minds the kids came up with the most amazing inventions and objects!

Using Littlebits and colourful and glittery craft materials the kids created alive, moving and astonishing objects.Some of the future objects that the kids build themselves ranged from a teapot that would pour tea when you wake up in the morning to two brothers who created hats that gave them the opportunity to send thoughts to each other through time and space.

We were surprised and impressed by the kids imagination and eagerness to learn and build their own future objects.

July 15, 2015

The Brave Appliance – Workshop


Do you think an object in your everyday life could be more brave? What if it could react outrageously bold to your usage? Or, what if the appliance had a super strong opinion about an event or the state of another object?

These were the questions we asked 50 D&AD New Blood students last week in a 2 hour workshop. Thinking by making at the heart, the students had to build prototypes with the help of LittleBits and perform a pitch for their product. What they came up with in that short time frame was truly amazing. The results ranged from the fun object and pitch of the lie detector headphones; the little crazy evil elevator which makes you face your fears;  to the thought provoking high striker device. Here the user has to put the same power in to turn on the device as that device consumes in electricity. He controls it by a hammer strike, like you see at carnivals.

Overall a really fun workshop to teach and impressive how easily and eager the students are adopting new tools and methods.

July 15, 2015

Our Lead Producer wins at Madrid Film Festival!


Congratulations to our lead producer Alan Reitsch on winning best unsigned screenplay for the script “Gigantic” at the Madrid film festival. Hope he remembers Hirsch & Mann when he makes it in Hollywood.

June 5, 2015

Innovation: just because you can, does not mean you should !


At Hirsch & Mann we get a lot of organisations approach us asking ‘can you do this?’. We are known for our ability to craft technology experiences that combined with a hugely optimistic team driven by an attitude of damn right we can (as well as amazing amount of talent) the answer is always yes.  But the reality is we are designers at heart and the response is always ‘we can, but should we?’.

Technology is amazing, I live and breath by it everyday as I am sure all readers here do. What interests me is the affect it has on people’s behaviour and attitudes. I met Bill Buxton the head of research at Microsoft about 8 years ago (he looks like Doc from Back to the Future and acts like him as well.)  He told me something that has stuck with me ever since. Michael if you want to know what is going to be big in 10 years time, look back to what was invented 10 years ago. He called it the Long Nose of innovation as his premise was that if things have already been invented, as technology moves at a greater pace than peoples attitudes and behaviour.  Then the role of commercial innovation as a skill is that of prospecting what is available and validating its relevance to your organisation’s challenges. If you have prospected the technology you have already answered the ‘can we’ question and the focus of organisation and their partners time should be spent time on ‘should we’ by validating its value the the organisation.

In my last post I wrote about innovation being a responsible procedure and that is about what you do with all possibilities that technology offers for your organisation that creates value. John Maeda is an amazing design leader that talks a lot on the fusion of art, design, technology and business. One of he’s key theories he made a few years ago which I love and have added to my own practice, building on it as the formula for innovation.

ART: asks questions

+ TECHNOLOGY: offers possibilities

DESIGN: gives solutions

+ CUSTOMERS: build businesses (my addition)


If you only ask the question ‘can we do this’ you are addressing only the technology possibility, which is as irresponsible as only coming up with the idea. This is not linear, you can jump on the train anywhere and move back and forth amongst the carriages but in order to successfully innovate you have to address all elements to be responsible and justified in your answer the question ’should we’ do this. John Maeda’s framework (with my little addition) can bring diligence to your innovation effort by merely asking

1. Are we asking the right question ?

2. Should we reframe the question ?

3. Who is our past, current or future customer ?

4. What do we know about their attitudes, behaviour, hates and loves as opportunities ?

5.What is the design solution to address all that ?

All of a sudden the question of ‘can we’ create this technology becomes slightly insignificant in the greater importance of maximising your innovation effort as a growth tool for your organisation.

Next time someone asks a question about technology saying ‘can you do this’ reply with the question ..’what questions and insights led you to believe we should do it?’

first posted at Michael Johnston’s Linkedin

May 26, 2015

What is the difference between creativity and innovation ?



What is the difference between creativity and innovation? A responsible procedure.

The words are used interchangeably and I don’t understand the difference when people use them in a range of contexts. In 2010 IBM’s CEO’s survey results proclaimed that creativity was the ‘Most Crucial Factor’ for future success. By 2012 the same survey results did not use the word creativity as they had replaced it with innovation, offering no real context or comparison on the difference between the two actually was.

Creativity is a cognitive process of coming up with ideas and could be seen as the 1% inspiration, Thomas Edison was famous for quoting. Given the right conditions anyone can do this. But ideas can sit on a post it note or in a presentation and go no where. What is their true value to a business if they create no value beyond presentations, conversations and stationary.

‘Creativity is not the miraculous road to business growth and affluence that is so abundantly claimed these days’

This is quote is from Theodore Levitt at professor of marketing at Harvard in his HBR article entitled ‘Creativity isn’t enough’. The interesting thing he looks to explore is the concept of pure creativity being an irresponsible business practice. I do believe there are creative genius’s out there but the focus should not be on their ideas, it should be on the entire process of coming up with ideas and making them happen. The premise of the book Making Ideas Happen by Behance’s Scott Belsky gives a great stories of well known creative people but the focus is not on their ideas as much as their disciplined individual procedure they use i delivering ideas to maximise their value.

Innovation is the successful exploitation of ideas to maximise their value and is Eddison’s missing 99% perspiration. This was Levitt’s point, in that creativity is an ‘irresponsible’ approach to business because if a business wants to grow, you need an entire process of taking that idea and maximising its value. In short, innovation is making ideas happen and this needs a disciplined approach to maximise the opportunity to create value. A speculation you could make from the difference in IBM surveys is that the CEO’s started to realise that you can have all the ideas in the world, but if you don’t successfully execute them, then there is no value to the business.  What is the process you might ask ?. I have been researching this question across business, design and art for years including the role of individual discipline in connection and opposition to the process of a group. (Probably because I went to a military school). I hope to share some of my findings in further posts.

Lets bring this back to earth a little bit. When you learnt to ride a bike when you were young. Do you remember your parents explaining it to you or do you remember when you took off for the first time without help ? You only really learnt when you got on and started peddling. You may have fallen over a few times but persistence was the key thing to keep you going until you got it right. At Hirsch&Mann we are a design and technology consultancy that knows how to make innovation happen. We don’t believe in perfect ideas, we believe in a process that explores the unknown. We know in order to that, you need to evolve embryonic concepts into ideas that make an impact. Our process that combines design thinking and lean startup methodologies evolves embryonic ideas into great executions. This approach explores unknown areas and maximises the probability to add value to an organisation now and in the future.

We are a small studio but in the last two weeks alone we have launched two window installations to celebrate London Tech City Startups at the MOMA stores in New York. We helped our sister company Technology Will Save Us launch a popup shop in Selfridges around the concept of placemaking, or creating places where people want to spend their time (not just their money). We created a connected store environment for Unilever’s French mustard brand Maille in London to blend their online and real store environments. As well as making a range of prototypes for a huge robotic music installation in Africa that we are delivering this week. All four are more than just a simple creative idea. Our team in the studio and our huge line up of collaborators from companies to freelancers have come together to evolve the original concepts and through out the process given the idea a greater chance of success. Through bringing in experts to evolve elements as well as continually testing them as we went, we have given ourselves and our clients more up to date data to make decisions and also maximised the value created.

If Mr Levitt was still alive, I would love to have him over for dinner and ask him if he thought our approach was responsible enough. (I mentally compare him to my old school Sergeant who drove discipline with his HUGE presence). I am sure he wouldn’t be impressed by all the post it notes on my walls. I expect he would love to discuss how our disciplined approach helps make decisions and deliver a greater impact by getting them out into the world.

Originally posted on Michael Johnston’s Linkedin

May 10, 2015

Walking in comfort at Salone del Mobile Milan  


How to bring ECCO, the global shoemaker’s story to life. Hirsch & Mann’s Ditte Blohm in collaboration with the Kolding School of Design, was invited to create an experience at the Salone del Mobile Milan that stood for ECCO’s unique ability to tailor for the individual and their belief that – no individual should walk on sore feet.

From the words of the lovely Ditte…….

Walk with me


We devised an installation that encouraged participants to explore their own harmonic measurement for themselves but also with a complete stranger. With the intention of setting up the parameters to discover the notion of individuality and our relationship to family, friends and strangers. Reflecting on this idea by physically showing how the viewer’s response and reactions can relate to each other. Mirroring ECCO’s diverse and individual focused customer base.


Looking a stranger in the eye.


The ephemeral quality of the space, coupled with pulsing lights attracted visitors towards the container structure. Cocooning the space with sound absorbing materials to suggest a feeling of ease and intimacy – the visitors were encouraged to immerse themselves in the experience by placing a headset on.  Working with Hirsch & Mann’s creative technologist George Profenza created a number of extensive experiments to hack EEG headsets to help overcome some complex coding challenges that enabled us to create an experience that through sensors attached to both the forehead and earlobe – connected each visitor together but what was going on inside their minds.

This helped to support prosocial interactions that benefited strangers to connect with each other in an alternative was. The piece reacted through a light system we devised that if the participants made contact would ignite a series of 14 lights. Looking directly at another participants eyes would trigger all lights – instigating a more focused and concentrated moment between strangers.

A brief encounter can be profound


The response to the exhibit was overwhelming. As designed, it attracted a breadth of visitors who embraced the experience with an uninhabited curiosity. It challenged people who didn’t know each other to light up the installation and silently look into each others eyes. For the audience, both the expectation and visual stimuli, built up the confrontation of looking a stranger in the eye – in a present meditation.
Throughout the exhibition visitors were intrigued and eager to come back with friends and family to share the positive experience and growing ease of interacting with complete strangers. Lighting up different states of mind through: laughing, jumping, listening and focusing on each others faces. Quantifying the visitors response through activating lights that could be measured with a smile.

April 20, 2015

Sexuality for the Science Museum

One of our past interns Jacob Jelen and his partner Alessia Arcuri  are showing their amazing piece at the Science Museum.

ANAMNESIS is an interactive installation inviting the audience to explore sexual fantasies, perversions and fetishes. Moving through a human landscape, you will discover unusual places and encounter people who found their satisfaction in them. Listen and they will share their stories. exploring sexuality through a topographical map of two bodies.

We were lucky enough to see some of the behind the scenes work in the studio. Its awesome to see the outcome congrats to you both.

March 23, 2015

Michael @ the Innovation Leadership Forum

Michael our Strategy Director was asked to speak at the Innovation Leadership Forum’s regular networking event at law firm Osborne Clark near the Barbican in Central East London last week. The topic was on Innovation and the digital landscape. There was an interesting line up of speakers taking perspectives from local councils with Turnbridge Wells talking about their move into digital services for citizens, a startup called Opun using data to make sure your plumber turns up and delivers what they say.  As well as Lizzy from ThinkNation who is bringing together the talent of tomorrow to use their creativity to help todays problems.

Michael took a different approach and talked about the power of technology away from screens. How the growth of the internet of things in the hands of artists will push boundaries that can help with even some of the most mundane of things in everyday life, like traffic in cities.

The examples he gave included someone just having fun with their dad on the weekend. With this father and daughter team sending a ballon into space. To create technology around simple behaviours like creating a piggy bank out hitting your snooze button and saving money or a dress that senses your heart rate and how close someone is to you and reacts like a spider would. Sensity, an artist using sensors in cities across the world to monitor the emotional sense of a city and what they could look like.

March 23, 2015

glug @ Fabric


Daniel spoke at the biggest London glug yet with around 1000 designers and design enthusiasts heading down to Fabric nightclub. We were lucky to be in the company of a range of different designers, artists and creative people including the guys at Holition showing some great stuff they have been working on for luxury brands. Shed Simove showed by pulling together some great ideas, unique personality and enthusiasm you can get a long way and have a lot of fun as well. Caroline Till from FranklinTill gave a great overview of some key trends. A personal favourite of the studios Moritz Waldemeyer showed us some of his great work.

Daniel talked in more depth about the way we went about thinking + making + delivering Cadbury Joy Jacket as well as the awesome work going on over at our sister company Technology Will Save Us.

Unfortunately we didnt make it into the other room where there was an even bigger line up including Kin Design, Found, Field and Projection Works.

Thanks for having us ..

February 26, 2015

glug @ Future15


photo sourced : Tom Jackson 

Daniel our Founder & Creative Director had the pleasure of speaking at a slightly smaller glug event at Future15 where he spoke about our approach to thinking by making. He then told some fun stories about some of the projects we have worked on over the years including examples that were on display at the event. Things like a prototype we built for Beats by Dre in a week or the Discovery Wall a commissioned art piece that we built for Weill Cornell Medical College in New York city, that took almost two years.


February 24, 2015

Nominated for MAB14 Media Architecture Biennale Awards 2014

Architects, designers and artists meet with academia and industry, when the world’s premier media architecture event takes place on 19-22 November in Aarhus, Denmark, with a pre-event in Copenhagen. Across professions and nationalities, participants will create and discuss the media architecture of the future. And they will investigate how media architecture shapes people’s lives in the cities of the world.

Nominated for Future Prototypes and Trends 2014

February 21, 2015

The launch of Future15


“What I think is interesting, is that ours is a future of learning and making tangible technology experiences. It’s the beginning of a wave. We see that wave coming, we want to be a part of that.”

Huffington Post Tech Future15

February 11, 2015

Side Project Shenanigans at General Assembly

Daniel had the pleasure to sharing the love of side projects (namely Technology Will Save Us if you could call it a side project) at the General Assembly last night with an amazing line up of speakers. 

November 20, 2014

‘Purpose Drives Everything’

Daniel at WGSN’s Creative Futures event talking about purpose being more important than technology. Its not the technology, its what you do with it that counts.

September 16, 2014

Maker Carousel at 100% Design


Hirsch&Mann was down at the Maker Carousel by Mette Creates at 100% Design as a part of the Design Festival. We had the chance to display some of the awesome stuff we had made recently. As well as take a small group of would be makers through a workshop on how to create your own disco … would doesnt want to do that.

April 10, 2014

Tech Futures at the Future Laboratory

Daniel and Michael both spoke at the Future Laboratory’s Tech Future event around the more human side to technology and the need to focus on the people not the technology. We were also had the chance to show off a prototype of the Discovery Wall to the attendees.

November 18, 2013

MOMA has added Our sister company Technology Will Save Us’s DIYGamer to the permanent collection

MOMA has added Our sister company Technology Will Save Us’s DIYGamer to the permanent collection

“While all five might be small in scale, their significance for contemporary design – and the world at large – knows little bounds,” Paola Antonelli, MoMA’s senior curator of architecture and design, said in a blog on the MoMA website.

Technology Will Save Us are excited and proud to let you know that the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has added their DIY Gamer Kit to its permanent collection alongside Arduino, Makey Makey, Ototo and the Colour Chaser!