Recent blog posts

Knock Knock Recaptcha

Knock Knock Recaptcha

Posted by on Nov 24, 2014 in random inspiration | No Comments

Short observation – I’ve become aware of the increasingly likelihood of Recaptcha asking you to read what looks like irregularly created door numbers on (presumably) street view data: Several things occur; some to do with privacy, some to do with human vs computer power, and more besides. But the most obvious one is ‘why they […]

Representation & Simulation

Representation & Simulation

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in random inspiration | No Comments

I started reading The Death of Drawing; Architecture in the Age of Simulation by David Ross Scheer today on a plane. I’m only a fifth of the way in, but already I’m hooked. It’s about how as the practice of drawing disappears from architecture, replaced by BIM (Building Information Modeling), a way of pulling together […]

MTPW > MPWT… in a book

MTPW > MPWT… in a book

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in advertising, rivetings | One Comment

This is a short written version of an even shorter talk I gave at the launch of the new Creative Social book, Hacker, Teacher, Maker, Thief, for which I’ve written a chapter on Making Things People Want > Making People Want Things. You can buy it now, and you should; the other contributors are a […]

About Smithery


Smithery is a Product and Marketing Innovation studio, established by John V Willshire in 2011.

We help companies Make Things People Want, rather than Make People Want Things.

We do this by making things quickly with our clients their teams, and customers.

Current clients include Carlsberg, Experian, Google, Gravity Road,
and the Saïd Business School at The University of Oxford.

Working with Smithery

Julie Doleman, Managing Director, Experian

“Working with John has been a brilliant adventure for my entire team.  John is not afraid of a challenge and his creativity and passion have opened our minds up to more innovative ways of working by helping to shape our thinking, actions and behaviours.  His work has helped us to create the culture of change we’ve needed to continue on our path of growth.”

- Julie Doleman, Managing Director, Experian
Thomas Moradpour, Vice President, Carlsberg Brand Global Marketing

“We love working with John, he’s an awesome source of brilliant ideas and endless energy in our creative process. Innovation as it should be.”

- Thomas Moradpour, Vice President, Carlsberg Brand Global Marketing
Tracey Camilleri, Saïd Business School

“I’ve found that if you have half an idea that you are excited about – John probably has the other half.  He has a generous imagination earthed in an intellectual rigour that makes him a rare bird.  I have benefited from his eclectic frame of reference and uncanny ability to make generative connections between people, ideas, genres.  Working with John feels like play – why isn’t all work like that?”

- Tracey Camilleri, Saïd Business School
Nick Kendall, BBH

“Mr King, Mr Bullmore… Mr Willshire. OK, John’s not quite the Third Ronnie, but I do believe he should be here alongside these legends, exploring what brands are now versus then.”


- Nick Kendall, BBH
Mark Earls, HERD

“Thinking without doing is as pointless as doing without thinking. John is one of the best of a new breed of strategists who actually do things. I learn a lot from him every time we collaborate”


- Mark Earls, HERD
Adam Morgan, Eat Big Fish

“John is the single most creatively fertile person I have met in the last five years”


- Adam Morgan, Eat Big Fish