Every organization’s future depends on New Growth.
Not just more of the same, but real innovation.
Not just bigger, but better.

We help organizations be more innovative so they can
envision their future and create value.

We use Design Thinking to drive innovation and create
New Products, New Services, and New Businesses.

We deliver long term
competitive advantage by: 


Bringing new capabilities into the world through Technology
Innovating revenue models & brands to create strategic value for Business
Creating remarkable products & experiences through human-centered Design

What we believe


We believe in collaborating with smart, nice, and ambitious people who want to change the world.

We believe
in purpose-driven organizations, and “starting with why.” By looking inward, understanding our values, and articulating the purpose of our brand, we give direction and inspiration to our organization.

We believe
that, as design professionals, we only create value when we make another person’s life better in some way. Once we know how to do that that, we can go about creating an innovative business to capture that value.

We believe that the principles of Design Thinking are life values: self-awareness, observation, empathy, creativity, analysis, synthesis, prototyping, experimentation, iteration, and improvement.

With these, we can make anything better.

Behind TBD Innovation 

Craig Sampson

As founder and principal consultant of TBD Innovation, Craig works with a network of collaborators to help leaders understand important changes in technologies and human behaviors, while envisioning and bringing new futures to life.

Craig was a leader and founder at IDEO, and today he inspires leaders see the big picture, and make connections across departments, domains, and industries. Craig helps others think better – about themselves, their organization, and the future.

In addition to leadership skills, Craig’s expertise includes: 
• Translating new technologies into experiences
• Building brands through “Story Driven Design”
• Healthcare and wellness innovation
• Micro-interactions and “the human side of IoT”
• Guiding portfolios of projects and new ventures

TEDX “The Secret Language of Objects”Thoughts from Craig

Craig works with organizations in 3 ways:


A trusted advisor to business leaders
seeking to grow innovation


An accomplished designer and
leader of diverse design teams


An enthusiastic teacher and public speaker
who helps others learn the power of design

What we do

TBD Innovation collaborates with
established organizations, startups, and educational leaders,
sharing lessons between these worlds.

Established Organizations

We help established organizations create new offerings, manage innovation portfolios, and build a culture of innovation. We:
•   Explore and analyze new technologies
•   Identify user needs and emerging opportunities
•   Develop new products, services, and businesses
•   Review and guide innovation portfolios
•   Help senior leaders drive a culture of innovation


We advise early-stage tech-oriented startups as they apply technology to satisfy real human needs, and create new brands and businesses. We:
•   Clarify the purpose and goals of the company
•   Illuminate key needs and ideal user experience
•   Define brand strategy, positioning, and message
•   Help build a team and a network of collaborators
•   Strategize for growth, funding, and partnerships


We inspire and train graduate students, leaders, and teams through design courses, Design Thinking training, and innovation workshops. We:
•   Lead or facilitate innovation workshops of all sizes
•   Create Design Thinking curricula for organizations
•   Show senior leaders how to use Design Thinking
•   Mentor students and staff on innovation projects
•   Speak on a variety of design topics

Our Partners

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay

TBD Innovation, LLC

325 East Center Ave. Lake Bluff, IL 60044

Lily - Self-administered Auto-injector
Lilly had a pipeline of monoclonal antibody therapies intended to be self-injected by patients, and Craig’s team worked to deeply understand user needs and technical feasibility, and create a family of automatic devices which are easy for patients to use and help them live healthier lives.

Brunswick – Advisor and Design Thinking Coach
Working with senior leaders in Technology, Innovation, and Design, Craig provided advice on a range of new product initiatives, helped develop a Design Thinking Training Program, and co-lead a number of Design Thinking training sessions with senior leaders across business units.

Outerwall – Internal Venture Strategy
Before it was renamed Outerwall, with Coinstar and Redbox as the anchor businesses, this company funded and guided seven internal “startups.” Craig counseled the Venture GMs and provided a portfolio management strategy.

Pyrex – Measuring Cup
Craig oversaw the team that redesigned this icon of American kitchens, bringing a bold read-from-above shape and bold easy-to-read graphics, while respecting the values of the brand.

Digital Check – Diversification Strategy
With its core paper check scanner business facing eventual decline, Digital Check engaged TBD Innovation to articulate core values and capabilities, and envision future products and businesses for diversification.

Corningware – Simply Lite
By adapting a proprietary manufacturing process, Craig’s team was able to create a new class of bakeware which was remarkably light, durable, and easy to clean, growing the category.

Life Fitness – Advisor and Design Contributor
Life Fitness launched InMovement as an internally incubated startup focused on movement and health in the workplace. Craig was an innovation advisor to the founders, and contributor to one of the flagship product concepts.

Lilly – Design of New Laboratory Building
Lilly's Drug Development Group was given the opportunity to design and construct a new lab building. TBD Innovation engaged with the technical staff to reveal and articulate their values and innovation goals, and translated these into design directives to guide the architects in the design of the new lab, and led the staff to instill collaborative behaviors and build a more innovative culture.

ST Imaging – Imaging Technology Exploration
ST Imaging had developed a new camera technology, and TBD Innovation reviewed this capability in the context of external technology trends and market trends, developed future concepts and scenarios, and created a development roadmap.

Leo Burnett – Farmhouse Innovation Center
Craig was Co-founder and Senior Fellow for Farmhouse, the innovation center which created new products and services for major consumer brands, interweaving this innovation with the remarkable consumer brand marketing for which Leo Burnett is famous.

Organ Recovery Systems – Lifeport
Organ Recovery Systems developed a new approach to perfuse and sustain organs, and Craig’s team developed the transporter system that enables the technology to become mobile, and save lives around the globe.

World Kitchen – Global Design Competition
Craig conceived and launched an annual open design competition, receiving hundreds of submissions from around the world which were juried by leading designers.

Northwestern - Designing Product Interactions
At Northwestern’s Segal Design Institute, Craig created and now teaches Designing Product Interactions, which is an experimental course, combining multi-sensory perception and mechatronic engineering design to explore this new experiential frontier.

Northwestern – Student Mentor and Project Advisor
At Northwestern’s Segal Design Institute, Craig mentors individual graduate students on their thesis projects, and guides MBA student teams on corporate-sponsored design projects.

Northwestern - Intersect CPG
At Northwestern’s Segal Design Institute, Craig co-created and co-instructs Intersect CPG: Transformative Product and Business Model Innovation, which brings together students from across NU schools to work in multidisciplinary team on real-world challenges from P&G Ventures.

P&G – Crest Neat Squeeze
Early in Craig’s career he designed the clean, easy-to-use snap cap for this remarkable toothpaste package, of which over 1 billion have been produced.