Firm provides hands-on guidance with strategy, design and other stages of projects across a variety of industries.
What: Seattle-based Intentional Futures, a strategy and design firm
Who: Founders Michael Dix and Greg Amrofell
Cohesive ideas: The pair behind Intentional Futures came up with the idea for the company while serving “tours of duty” at Microsoft, said co-founder Michael Dix. A vision for a product can be handed off so many times to different groups that it can become almost like a game of telephone. “Part of what we do is overcome that by integrating strategic and design thinking throughout the entire life cycle,” he said.
Gates bump: The company got started with a project for Bill Gates’ Big History project, which aims to teach history by linking it to all different subject matters. Dix and fellow co-founder Greg Amrofell went through the course and helped design a plan to distribute it to more teachers and to train those teachers. The pair coordinated with university professors who were using the course to further develop the curriculum. They also designed a website that takes students through the history course. “The best part was working with a handful of teachers that spanned independent schools and public schools and then working with them as partners and iterating relentlessly to get the content and the online experience to a place where they find it really useful,” Amrofell said.
Paid to learn: Intentional Futures works with software companies, robotics companies, health-care companies, pretty much any company. The 30-person company will delve into more than 15 projects at a time. “We’re basically paid to learn and analyze and develop insights … and impart that upon a group so that we together with them can advance our understanding and take action,” Dix said. That initial research often leads to further projects for Intentional Futures to build out ideas for the client company.
Local Connections: Intentional Futures partnered with Bellevue-based expense management company Concur to create a visual map about their customers. The team researched customers from the moment it first made contact with Concur to when it left the company to find out what problems the customers were having and how that matched with what was happening at Concur that may been driving the issues.
Strategy-minded employees: Intentional Futures has purposefully kept a small staff, the founders say. The company has a few front-end engineers, and it partners with other firms for many other engineering tasks.
Tech development: Though Intentional Futures establishes connections across all industries, many of its clients are in the tech space. “Even in the tech sector that is good at innovation, there are so many problems in a space that is so fast-moving that people are looking for catalysts to come in and help them,” Amrofell said. The company will assist customers who need help executing an idea, or develop an idea for customers who are proficient at execution.
Living workspace: Intentional Futures makes its home inside the Bullitt Center on Capitol Hill, which bills itself as the “greenest commercial building in the world.” Intentional Futures has 8,000 square feet in the building, with giant chalkboard walls and windows that automatically open or close based on weather.
— Rachel Lerman