ION studios is a research, design and strategy firm specializing in helping organizations, enterprises and movements create systemic social impact.

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Designing for Systemic Social Impact

Systemic Social Impact arises from a body of coordinated actions - within one organization or among many - whose purpose is to fundamentally change the circumstances that underpin a significant societal problem. 

We use a design based perspective, combined with decades of experience in the social sector, to create intentional human solutions to human problems. We target system-wide change to entrenched issues.


Who We Work With

Our Clients are:

  • Non-Profits, including NGOs and foundations.
  • Businesses, including social-enterprise startups and multinational corporates.
  • Government Agencies from local to international.

Within these sectors we work with leaders, entrepreneurs, design teams, boards of directors, and strategists.


Where We Work

We have experience in over 30 countries on six continents, including many cross-border initiatives. 


We provide customized engagements anchored around three core services.


We go deeper than standard market and constituent research methods merging methods from academia, design, and business to bring your team insights that will drive innovation and impact. Our team produces issue reports, forecasts and beneficiary insights that help organizations plan for the future and execute with impact.


Our team has a broad range of experience working from a design perspective to create new theories of learning and transformational experiences. We conceptualize unique services, products and interventions that change people’s lives and bring in new stakeholders. We build movements that unite and align diverse voices to forward a shared vision.


Lending decades of experience working with impact-driven organizations, we create strategies that position your organization for maximum impact on mission. We build strategies from a systemic perspective that help you create a sustainable, collaborative, stakeholder-centered business.



 ION draws from a new generation of strategy methodologies to help a new generation of impact oriented organizations address age old problems.

Design Thinking

 Our job is to create real human impact. We use the tools and methods drawn from Design Thinking to put people at the center of the process of designing businesses and services. 

Experience Design

We look at the entire experience of a beneficiary or stakeholder to optimize and find opportunities to provide solutions to your most pressing issues. We create experience maps, stories and strategies that help your team address the whole person and their lived experience.


Systems Thinking

By mapping the major components of a system, from vulnerable communities and power holders to trends and technology and their relationships we bring Systems Thinking to social impact.  Our systems maps, scenarios and analysis give teams real tools for building for today and adapting for the unexpected change that will inevitably come.

Theory Of Impact

Theory of Impact is our own unique combination of Theory of Change, business modeling, and social needs analysis. It allows executives, strategists and boards to look at the intersection of financial realities, your offerings, and community needs. It helps you explain the power of a multidimensional organization, find opportunities for partnerships and services, and create efficiencies to help you focus on helping people.


ION studios


Raison d'être

ION studios was founded to help high potential organizations and companies deliver impact on a scale that far outpaces the resources available. Our team firmly believes that the social sector should have the same level of support and advice as multinational corporates and we aim to match our clients with our own and others' best thinking.

Our founder

Michael Radke has been working in the social sector for nearly 20 years - yes, he got an early start - as an activist, leader, program designer, researcher and consultant. He now splits his time between sharing his hard won experience with others through ION studios and building the Ubuntu Lab to help people understand people. He also speaks and teaches around the world on social change, learning design and the importance of understanding ourselves and others.


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