Our mission

We’re driven to deliver products and experiences that are tuned to women’s needs and are fundamentally inclusive. Our aim is to close the gap between perception and reality when designing for women.

Around half of the world’s population is female, with data showing that women buy 85% of household products*, yet, only 5% of the product and industrial design industry in the UK is female**.  Gender, whether fluid or binary, is one of the most powerful determinants of how we see the world and everything in it. We believe this needs more consideration throughout the design process. It’s time to start designing women in, and our team are ready to do just that.

*She Conomy,
**Design economy report 2018, Design Council

Our Team

At Kinneir Dufort, our experts combine creative and technical expertise to deliver world-class products. Meet some of our innovators, designers, engineers and makers – our core XXEquals team, over 75% female and 100% female design allies.

Design Consultant

Alex Dodl

Alex is a recent graduate of Industrial Design and Technology from Loughborough University and is our Junior Design Consultant at Kinneir Dufort. In her final project Alex designed a menstrual cup disinfector to tackle current issues and stigma surrounding them, ultimately to encourage more sustainable periods to become the norm.

Why is XX= important?

With such a huge under representation of women within the industrial design industry, I think it’s safe to say that products made for them are lacking a level of personal understanding throughout the design process, one which should be balanced more like 50/50.

What does the future look like to you?

Design should consider every individual’s unique needs and humanity’s diversity as a whole. As a white male-dominated industry, it is inevitable that design decisions have an unconscious bias. I hope, by continuing to learn and understand the direct impact this is having on the type of world we’re designing, it will encourage us to rethink our design biases and encourage real change

A smiling white woman with brown hair wearing a floral shirt and glasses
Senior Human Factors Consultant

Claire Roberts

Claire is Senior Human Factors Consultant at Kinneir Dufort with a PhD in paediatric medical device design. Throughout her academic and professional career, Claire has always sought to place the user at the centre of any product’s development.

Why is XX= important?

As a human factors practitioner, it’s my job to apply psychological and physiological principles to the design of products, processes, and systems. To not fully consider any user group in that, is illogical.

What does the future look like to you?

If we are to create meaningful, usable products we must consider every user; appreciate what makes them, them; you, you; and us, us.

Head of Insight & Innovation

Kelly Dawson

Kelly is Head of Insight and Innovation at Kinneir Dufort. A strategic thinker, driving innovation by discovering unmet needs with global consumers, as well as defining longer term horizon opportunities.

Why is XX= important?

Empathetic innovation and design is critical, and having people who can draw upon real life experiences is powerful in creating meaningful products and services.

What does the future look like to you?

Staying relevant is one of the greatest challenges for brands and businesses. A we all move to an increasingly digital world, whether that is home, work or health and wellness, we will see service design really come to the fore to create seamlessly connected experiences and propositions.

Head of Medical

Kerry Briggs

Kerry leads Kinneir Dufort’s medical sector, driving growth by working cross-functionally across all expertise teams. A product design engineer by training, her desire to work on real world problems led to over a decade’s experience working for a leading global medical device manufacturer.

Why is XX= important?

We all know that we should consider our users in the design of any product but right now as an industry we just are not doing it. We are letting down at least 50% of the population by not understanding their needs on everything from simple household products to complex medical devices. This is a great opportunity to change that.

What does the future look like to you?

My hope is that the future of design industry is much more equal and diverse, enabling some really exciting new product developments. Challenging ourselves to consider parts of our lives (mainly women’s lives), which haven’t been up for discussion or exploration, will benefit everyone.

Project Manager

Caitlin Bloom

Caitlin is a project manager working across disciplines and specialising in human factors and user-centred design. With a strong focus on accessibility and equality, Cailin is the person to go when a project is multifaceted and designing a better world.

Why is XX= important?

Because unisex should have never been a 6’2 white male. If we’re creating products for everybody, then let’s include everybody. I think it’s important that we’re having these conversations and trying to make active change within the design industry.

What does the future look like to you?

I think the future is not only inclusive but truly supportive. It’s no longer select women breaking the glass ceiling and leaving others behind but now we’re pulling each other up, creating opportunities, and ensuring all voices are heard.

Senior Human Factors Consultant

Venetia Dickinson

Venetia graduated from Loughborough University in Product Design Engineering before completing a Masters in Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College. She is a Senior Human Factors Consultant at Kinneir Dufort having worked in usability in the medical industry for the past 4 years. In her final project Venetia designed a mastectomy bra to reduce wound tension and promote better healing for those who have undergone reconstruction surgery. For her masters thesis she reviewed the effects ageing has on dexterity and hand strength, with an interest in exploring how menopause may effect your hands.

Why is XX= important?

The more diverse the group of people designing a product, with a range in backgrounds and experiences, the higher the chance of designing something truly inclusive. How can designers justly design something if they have no experience of the situation or would not use it themselves.

What does the future look like to you?

One where products are created by the broadest range of people who each bring a unique perspective to the table and can learn from each other to build inclusive design into everything. Where products become less about gender stereotypes and more about the user experience. Why does everything have to be pink?!

Senior Insight & Innovation Consultant

Lucy Baldwin

Kinneir Dufort's Senior Insight & Innovation Consultant Lucy has been working in the design industry for 11 years now. Originally pursuing the career to satisfy her interest in people and their needs, she has lived and worked in Australia and the UK, and is lucky enough that her job still takes her all over the world – when there isn’t a pandemic on.

Why is XX= important?

In 2021 a woman’s success is still defined by traditional milestones – when she gets married, and when she has a baby. Career milestones are not celebrated or respected in the same way,

What does the future look like to you?

I’d like to see an industry where women don’t have to adopt the traits and characteristics of their male seniors to succeed, where competence is valued over confidence and where sensitivity and empathy is valued more than alpha dominance.

Software Engineer

Alex Heslop

Software Engineer, Alex, joined Kinneir Dufort after starting his career in software development for the automotive sector, after graduating in Physics from the University of Bristol. He’s a keen cyclist and rower, and loves spending as much time he can outside.

Why is XX= important?

Understanding the disparity present in design and engineering 
is vital to making good design decisions, to enable products to 
be equally suitable across the needs of every user. Most of the products that we use on a daily basis are designed, implemented and tested on people just like me over in Silicon Valley. As such it’s easy to become blind to the fact that these products don’t solve problems for the majority of people.

What does the future look like to you?

A world in which a person’s ability to use a product easily 
and safely isn’t restricted by their sex or race.

CEO

Merle Hall

Merle is CEO of Kinneir Dufort, with 20 years’ experience in consultancy, an expert in Design Thinking, Strategy and Innovation. Merle sits on the boards of the Design Business Association (DBA) and Kerning the Gap, championing women in design leadership, as well as partnering with STEM organisations focusing on a diverse next generation of innovators, designers and engineers

Why is XX= important?

In 2016, KD adopted our purpose, “To Design a Better World” and as part of that, equality has consistently been high on our agenda. We need to address this disparity across our industry as a whole. We believe If we can't achieve better equality, we can't design effectively, (that goes for diversity too) and businesses deserve a credible alternative to the status quo.

What does the future look like to you?

A more equitable, respectful and diverse industry, reflecting the society we live in.

Head of Delivery

Sam Reeves

Sam is our Head of Delivery, he is responsible for the way in which we deliver our projects. He is driven by solving problems and helping people. Whether that be providing process and guidance to our team or exciting clients with our novel design solutions.

Why is the project important?

For me, first and foremost, it is about our ability to provide world class, user-centred design and development. Currently, there is a noticeable lack of female representation in the design industry and products and services are suffering because of it.
Secondly, as a proud husband to a working mum, I have some understanding of how empowering a flexible and supportive workplace can be. It is my belief that flexibility is key to staff retention and motivation. And finally, as a dad to two soul-warming daughters, I need to believe that they will have the opportunity to go into any industry they would like to. I can do my bit to promote gender equality in the industry that I work in and hopefully others like me will do their bit in their respective areas.

What does the future (in either design or the industry) look like to you?

My hope would be that design is a front-runner  with regards to equal representation in industry. Whether it be gender, diversity, disability, we have a responsibility, let’s deliver truly empathetic design. We have a long way to go but projects like this are an important step in the right direction.

Insight & Innovation Consultant

Sophie Usborne

Sophie is Kinneir Dufort's Junior insight and Innovation Consultant, with a degree in Human Factors Ergonomics. She strives to create environments which are enjoyable, functional and suitable for use, always keeping how people think, feel and behave at the centre of interest.

Why is XX= important?

For me, this project is important in amplifying and encouraging people to share their experiences, feelings and opinions, allowing for aspiring designers and creators to feel confident in themselves and their abilities. Even if just one person is inspired and feels empowered, then that’s a whole life changed for the better.

What does the future look like to you?

The future looks accessible, truly inclusive, and empowered. Striving for equal opportunities for all within the creative industry, and feeling confident in doing so. It’s about encouraging the mindset of building each other up, not knocking people down.

Senior Mechanical Engineer

Alex Waldron

Alex – Kinneir Dufort's Mechanical Engineer – enjoys, the challenge of finding routes forwards for complex briefs with competing requirements, though often retrospectively. Alex believes simple but clever designs often deliver the most benefit to the user while minimising the technical risk. His work in products for the fertility market helped hammer this home.

Why is XX= important?

This project is important because there are needs that 
are not currently being met for many users. In the worst cases, particularly in healthcare, there are examples where women get left behind or treatments are less effective. There are clearly ways to do things better and XX Equals aims to tackle this.

What does the future look like to you?

The future of design is set for a rapid shift in the way we tackle modern challenges. The rise of companies in the FemTech 
space goes to enforce the idea that there are still ways to 
do things better.

Senior Insight and Innovation Consultant

Claire Andrews

Claire is a Senior Insight & Innovation Consultant at Kinneir Dufort, and a design research generalist with experience across a spectrum of project types. From product to digital, service and strategy, sectors and stages. She has a passion that exploratory front-end projects where problems are at their most complex and where design research has huge impact.

Why is XX= important?

XX= is a great first step towards better design for women, working to break down those barriers and build the role and voice of women in the industry in general, whilst also providing a stop-gap resource of design consultancy where you can be 100% positive that women’s voices will be heard, and their experiences will be accounted for.

What does the future look like to you?

In the short(er) term, things are looking great – we’ve got loads of great female talent coming through and we’re identifying the biases that are holding them back so we can more easily challenge and break them. We’ll see more women at the table and in turn more products will consider the needs of that 50% of the population.

Consumer Project Manager

Sarah Buzza

Sarah is our XX= Project Lead and brings diverse teams together to uncover unmet user needs and solve real-world problems. With a wealth of FMCG experience across diverse global markets, she is committed to ensuring that inclusive design is accessible to all.

Why is XX= important?

It goes without saying that the design industry should represent the diverse society it serves, but current reality falls a long way short of this. With human insight so central to good design practice, why wouldn’t you want to enrich that process with the benefit of first-hand lived experience?

What does the future look like to you?

We’ve still got a long way to go, but as inclusive design moves higher up the industry agenda and consumers demand products and services better suited to their needs, I’m confident that we’re building a less-biased and more balanced design landscape for the next generation.

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