The strategic foresight and design-thinking firm Bespoke was born during a final project at Kaospilot. The founders Rune Toldam and Nicolas Arroyo knew that they wanted to create their own dream job, and along the way they learned how to do it. Today they help students and organisations demystify their own biggest passion – the future.




The future is a creative tool 

The journey of Bespoke began at the Kaospilot school in Aarhus, Denmark. So far it has resulted in a global company with three employees, many collaborators and assignments all over the world. The agency helps organizations and individuals use the future as a source of inspiration to create new scenarios for their businesses and projects.


On this winters day Rune and Nic just got back from a travel to Sweden, teaching creative research at The University of Gothenburg and Hyper Island.


They share a big open office space with other creative entrepreneurs at Christianshavn in Copenhagen. The concrete wall behind their desk island is covered with colourful scan cards – a tool they use when researching for future trends and tendencies.


-       We like to look at the future as a source of inspiration and hope. Usually when people talk about the future there is a lot of pressure and fear related to it. We often hear people say: “The world is going to change and if you are not ready you will become obsolete,” says Nic.


He and Rune want companies to see the future as a tool for creativity instead of a threat that can outdate them.


-       We are super-passionate about the future as an inspiring place that we can build together, instead of seeing it as an inevitable destination, says Nic.



Investigating the future of mobility

Right now the agency is working with one of Scandinavia’s largest car-dealers. Bespoke investigates the future of mobility to help the company be at the forefront of the development within the field.


-       The company knows that they need to change their business model. It is no longer just a matter of who can buy a car and sell it to a consumer, it is much more a question of looking at the infrastructure of transportation, says Rune.


Bespoke helps the client look at different scenarios, possibilities and projections that might unfold in the future.They also help implement the necessary changes in the organisation so that all employees have the understanding of no longer just being a car importer but actually being in the field of mobility. Rune emphasises how he uses the process consulting and creative leadership skills he learned at Kaospilot in these situations.





Cook book authors

It was during their education at Kaospilot that Nic and Rune were presented to design thinking and strategic foresight (a methodology that allows one to understand and form new perspectives about the future)


They fell in love with the concepts and today they teach at universities and use the concepts when they do research in many different fields. They have worked with clients as different as L’Oréal, Greenpeace and a South African wine brand.


-       We are changing industries and fields but we always use the same methods and approach. We use strategic foresight and a process that is called creative research as our core working methodology, says Rune.


-       We should bring one of our cookbooks! Nic adds, and comes back to the meeting room with a green book consisting of cards with different methods, templates and models.


Nic and Rune created “The Creative Research Cook Book” in collaboration with their mentor Mathew Lincez from Idea Couture Toronto. It serves as a guide for students and professionals who enter the field. They developed the models during their final project at the third year of the Kaospilot education.


-       We started our final project knowing that we wanted to create some kind of agency together and that we wanted to work within strategic foresight and design thinking. During the project we hacked some of the tools we got from our lecturers and made them our own research tools – and that is what resulted in “the cookbook”, Rune says.


Test and learn as a mantra

During the final project at Kaospilot they worked with 9 different clients.


-       We tried out different fields to find out what we wanted to work with the most and where we could create the most value.That is still our approach. We test things out and then find out where to go, instead of sitting around talking way too much.

In the beginning Bespoke was more focused around branding and marketing but in November 2014 they pivoted and focused the company around future studies as the core of their services, because this is where their deepest passion lies.



Friends with roots

Rune and Nic still go back to Kaospilot to teach the students design thinking and creative research.


-       That is the best! It is like going home, says Rune.


-       It is also a reminder of our DNA, and we always come back from the classes energized and with good questions about our own work and ethics, says Nic.


They don’t hesitate when answering if they succeeded in creating their dream job as they set out to do at Kaospilot.


-       Yes! Everyday is an adventure that we are grateful for! They agree.


The two friends have an agreement that they cannot do things in the company that compromise their relationship.


- ”Friendship before Business” it says in Bespoke’s Manifesto, and this rule applies also to our employees and to the people that we work and collaborate with. Who doesn’t want to work with their friends?, says Nic.


-       Actually our friendship has grown stronger. We can scream at each other in a meeting and then have a perfectly cosy lunch afterwards, Nic and Rune say.


The next dream for them is to build a global knowledge house to design tomorrow’s future. The vision is still to make the future a space of possibilities for a lot of people.


-       The crucial thing to us is to demystify the future, make it simple, inspiring and accessible. If we want to navigate these uncertain times, we need to be able to foresee where things are heading to, but we also need to develop innovation capacity to build the futures that we want to see and that our planet deserves. If you get the right tools, the right framework and mindset everybody can do that to a certain extent, says Nic.


Text by Lotte Rystedt, journalist at Kaospilot