Intentional Innovation

In a world of volatility and complexity innovation is required to not only meet today's challenges, but be one step ahead of tomorrow's. But in the Social Sector it is intrinsically fraught; small changes, experimental interventions, or temporary stoppages can cause real harm. They can also lead to radical solutions to entrenched problems. 

At ION studios we approach innovation with great care and great enthusiasm. Our processes and practices are designed to help organizations achieve the impossible, while ensuring that the people you care for aren't harmed by the process.

Innovation Services:

Service Design

Product Concepting

Experience Mapping

Learning Design

Innovation Capacity Building


Impact Strategy

Strategy in the social sector is a tricky target. You are working with people, who are inherently complex, nuanced, and changing, at the same time you are working with funders who justifiably want to ensure that their money is being used in planful and impactful ways.

At ION studios we approach strategy from the perspective of a scaffold. We blend traditional strategy tools like Theory of Change, Business Model Canvas, Systems Mapping, and many others, with our own Theory of Impact model to give you a custom solution to your planning needs. But beyond the plan, we care about implementation even more, so we package our models with implementation plans and capacity building for your team.

Strategy Services:

Organizational Strategic Plans

Strategy Workshop Facilitation

Theory of Impact Mapping

Organizational Modeling

Project Management for Strategic Plans


Insight Driven Research

The simplest solutions come are born from the deepest insights, and inquiry lies at the beginning of every great journey of discovery. When you know the people you serve and their world inside and out you create solutions that are relevant, sticky, and just crazy enough to change the world.

We see research as a journey, and we are keen to bring you with us. Our approach to research lives at the intersection of constituent inquiry, empathetic design research, and academic investigation. By getting out in the field, knowing where to look, and being able to put together the big picture we bring you relevant, actionable, and rigorous insights to inform your work today, tomorrow and for years to come.

Research Services:

Issue Briefs


Custom News Feeds

Stakeholder Profiles

Constituent Data Analysis


Systemic Change

Our lives are interconnected and our greatest challenges are wicked. They exist across complex and adaptive systems, and there is no magic bullet. Our only choice if we want to make headway is to understand them as such and act systemically. 

Our founder, Michael Radke, has been exploring the systemic nature of social movements for over a decade. In that time he has come to know not only the logic and psychology of the way change happens, but also the intangible and unseen "soul" of change that lives within these systems. In that time he has also led several systemic efforts with notable results. 

At ION we weave our experience deploying social systems theory into everything we do. Whether it is knowing the tangential relationships to follow in our research, the big picture to plug into with your strategies, or where to find the greatest need for innovation, the system that created the problem is critical for finding the solution. 


Experiential Change

As the saying goes: "The Journey is the Reward." 

A few years ago, as we were working on a project for an innovative new academy in Saudi Arabia, we found ourselves converging the theory of learning design with the methods of experience design. It was a classic "A Ha!" moment, where it became stunningly obvious these were two sides of the same coin. Designing transformational experiences is all about learning, and learning is all about experience. 

Our design practice is solidly based on this idea. We believe learning is the root of change and experiences are the root of learning. By intentionally crafting flexible frameworks to build services and products we are able to seed the roots of change. So, whether we are trying to change an individual's behavior or an entire system, we create a journey for users to grow and change.