Recent blog posts

3.31 – Smithery at Scale

3.31 – Smithery at Scale

Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 in Smithery 3.0 | No Comments

“I always said I’d decide what to do with Smithery after three years. It seemed like a simultaneously short and long period of time in which to make decisions. Long enough to not worry about it on a day-to-day basis. Short enough to realise I had to do something about it at some point…” That’s […]

3.30 – Map Making

3.30 – Map Making

Posted by on Aug 30, 2014 in Smithery 3.0 | 2 Comments

Over the last month, I’ve been exploring the roots of a new idea, a thesis about organisations as a complex (yet playfully navigable) interaction between people who do the work, and the spaces they do it in. Now, in the first of two summary posts, I’m going to recap the most useful elements that this […]

3.29 – How it ends?

3.29 – How it ends?

Posted by on Aug 29, 2014 in Smithery 3.0 | 2 Comments

We’re in the final straight now. It occurred to me as I sat down tonight that I just didn’t have time this month (not nearly enough) to chase down all the things I was going to cover, the people to speak to, the things to read and reflect upon. With every little thing I discovered, […]

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