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Who we are

We're a small, dedicated team of experts using design and entrepreneurship to imagine and invent new products.

Born in Brighton, UK but working globally, we’ve been helping organisations create and grow high-profile, breakthrough digital products for over two decades.

James Box - Bio image

James Box

Strategy lead & Founder

James Box is an author, speaker and design industry authority. He’s led teams of all shapes and sizes and helped curate some of Europe’s most successful design events and communities.

These days he focusses on the potent blend of business strategy, human-centred design and creative thinking that gives new ventures a unique edge.

Portrait of James Bates

James Bates

Product lead & Founder

Bates brings over 20 years of experience in UX, product design, creative direction and brand strategy. As a seasoned Creative Director he has built and lead some of the industry’s most respected teams and agencies.

At Berst, James is dedicated to creating original, distinctive product experiences that combine simplicity, beauty and build lasting relationships with their audience.

Collaborators

For selected projects we partner with a trusted team of independent content strategists, designers, technologists and community managers. You should work with them too.

Things we believe in

Over the years we’ve built up a few controversial beliefs on how to use design for good. Don't agree with them? That’s OK – think of them as conversation starters.

Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists

Number 67 of Kevin Kelley’s 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice and one of the many we firmly believe in. We see optimism as the fuel that powers progress and cynicism as its enemy.

Ethical wealth creation isn’t easy but it’s entirely possible

Wealth too often comes at the expense of others, but we believe business doesn't need to be a zero sum game. As designers, we have the ability, even responsibility, to imagine and invent positive-sum business models.

Invention is a human enterprise

If you want to improve a product that already exists, you’re probably best using artificial intelligence. But if you want to create something truly original, you still need the imagination and creativity of a human brain.

Design stacks the odds of success in everyone’s favour, but most people ignore it

Design-driven businesses outperform everyone else in the S&P. This is good news for founders, startups, investors and leaders who are willing to break convention and step away from the spreadsheets. But it takes courage and a willingness to embrace the unknown.

Venture studio will outperform venture capital and other investment models

Unlike traditionally funded startups, those partnering with venture studios gain industry-leading expertise as well as capital. This leads to more highly aligned incentives and a greater chance of long term success for all involved.

The barriers to innovation have never been lower. In many cases, they’re close to zero.

Modern technology means entrepreneurs can spend less time on infrastructure and instead remain focused on developing their business. There’s never been a better time to invest in innovation-led growth.

Let's talk

If you want to talk about a challenge you’re facing, or just want to know more about venture design, we’re here to listen.