James Frankis — Strategic Tinkerer

James Frankis

Strategic Tinkerer

Why Tinker?

The world is full of great ideas and solutions, yet these ideas are often unfeasible or never realized.


As a strategic tinkerer I bring solid form to shaky concepts and creativity to pragmatism.

I have used strategic tinkering to:

Envision a non-profit platform to empower youth

in Favelas in Sao Paulo

Strategically improve workplace experience

of a Fortune 100 corporate campus

Create a business to combat food deserts

in East Brooklyn

Frame an exhibition explaining neuroscience

to both children and adults

Strategic Tinkering

Tinkering is a 3 stage iterative process

1. Play

Create a space of experimentation and fearlessness to haul ideas out of complexity, confusion and apathy.

2. Make

Give your ideas physical form, bend and flex them, take them to the streets, break them and then build them again.

3. Confirm

Reflect on your actions, question your assumptions, analyze your data and share your findings.


I bring together subject matter experts and unique thinkers together to play with wicked problems.

With my help, they dive deep into problems and come out with fresh approaches. I gather these new ideas and synthesize them into actionable solutions.

This has led to insights and ideas like; favelas are vibrant not vicious, balloons for disaster preparedness and neuroscience days out.


I build rapid low-fi prototypes to quickly and cheaply test the form and function of new ideas. Through making I gain new understanding of a product or service and repair it’s weaknesses and amplify it’s strengths.

I then take these prototypes to users and stakeholders to disseminate the idea, get buy-in and further develop the concept.

I have simulated autism with headphones, attached iphones to weather balloons, laser-cut paper water balloons and miniaturized a pop-up supermarket.


I take all these new ideas, prototypes and data and then objectively reflect on their worth, likely success and business feasibility.

Through data visualization and analysis I confirm the projects survival in the real world. Through storytelling, information design, branding and networking I disseminate the idea and give it a fighting chance.

This has led to favela youth working alongside us as journalists for Metropolis Magazine, a FEMA appreciation award and a trip to Japan present

The Lab

A portfolio of my completed and ongoing projects.

Clients & Collaborators

I have been lucky enough to work and collaborate with people like:

Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
Hey, I am James. I am a designer, consultant and strategist, often all at the same time. I was born in London but am currently in NYC studying for an MFA in Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons. When I am not working I like to cycle in circles around prospect park, read science fiction (and fact), drink craft beer, try new restaurants and explore New York.
Contact Me

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