We draw on the tools of anthropology, sociology, and social psychology to look deeply into consumers' lives. We translate what we find into product, service, and strategy recommendations that help your organization build something important and enduring.


What we discover is often unexpected.


Featured Cases

How Dogs Live with American Families

Our immersive ethnographic research with pet owners found that while pets have gained greater membership in families, pet food packaging has not reflected this shift. Dogs often eat in the kitchen with the family—the front stage of family life. But their food is stuck in the garage—the back stage of family life. Big bags of dry dog food resemble other back stage packages: charcoal, concrete mix, and potting soil—all products that would never be brought into the home. MORE



For Chick-fil-A, it all starts with service. When a customer thanks a Chick-fil-A team member, the response is always, “my pleasure,” epitomizing a corporate-wide philosophy of service that is elevated, proud, and heartfelt. We worked with the Atlanta-based company to go beyond a customer service philosophy to create a customer experience strategy that reflected their values. MORE  

the Symbolism of the Pick-up Truck  

An automotive company approached us with an interesting question: what is the future of pick-up trucks as the US becomes more urban and reliant on services? In order to understand what a truck should become in the future, we first had to learn what makes a truck a compelling vehicle in peoples' lives today. Through an immersive ethnographic study of the lives of pick-up truck owners, we learned that many consumers are drawn to trucks for their symbolism more than any particular physical capability. MORE


Nurses need patient time

Kaiser Permanente conducted a time and motion study of inpatient nurses and found a concerning statistic: during each 8-hour shift, they spend only 90 minutes actually caring for patients. Working closely with Kaiser, we sought to understand why, explore the implications for nurses' work satisfaction, and re-imagine the systems that keep nurses away from their patients. MORE

The shape of Real estate inside the fridge

Point Forward’s study of family beverage habits led to a big innovation for the packaging industry. Before 2003, 12-packs of soft drink cans were configured in 3x4 cartons. The suitcase-like shape with a handle on top made it easy to grab off the store shelf and place into the shopping cart. But we found that its bulky shape made it difficult for people to keep their fridge stocked with cold, ready-to-drink sodas. MORE



New technologies have fundamentally changed the landscape of the retail industry. For Intel, the new era offers huge opportunities, but also important challenges. We worked with the tech leader to examine shopping from both the consumer and retailer perspectives. In-context interviews in the U.S. and China revealed the financial and emotional drivers of shopping and selling behaviors. MORE

Founded in 2001, Point Forward is a pioneer in helping companies understand the texture of human experience and why it matters to their business. 



We like to begin our projects with big questions that cut to the heart of an organization's challenge. Questions like...

How can we create more memorable experiences?

How do people think about money in different contexts of their lives?

How can we make work more rewarding in occupations with increasing specialization?

How do new routines start and old routines end?

How do people build trust within virtual environments?

How do people form close bonds when technology allows for an abundance of fleeting interactions?

What is the role of curiosity as AI makes more decisions for consumers?

How can we tailor an existing American product to a foreign market?

Our Clients 

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