What we do

We believe that empathy with your customers can be transformed into a tangible business asset - one that will help you make better decisions in a context of constant change. The Difference Engine uses immersive, observational and iterative research techniques to help our clients test their assumptions about the world they operate in, the people they want to influence, and the obstacles to and opportunities for growth ahead of them.


The Problem

The more we work with quantitative data sets, the more we see the truth of the old saying, "GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT."

As cultures, economies and technologies change, our ideas about demographic groups, and our ability to predict what they will want and how they will behave, are being challenged in profound ways.

We can no longer extrapolate from simplistic data; the way we've traditionally thought about people, organizations and systems won't help us adapt to what they need now.

In other words, what used to work isn't working anymore.

Our Solution

We have the tools to improve these mental models and ultimately to identify new data points with better predictive value.

These tools are rooted in understanding and insight developed through authentic relationships, observation and dialogue.

We have to get our boots on - actually meet people where they live, work, relax and play so we can understand what they think, feel, say and do.

how we do it


Design Research

Immersive & observational research

In-depth & stakeholder interviews

Creative workshops 

Customer Journey mapping

User story development & prioritization

Analysis of existing data from surveys, secondary research and analytics


Product Strategy

Create & refine value propositions

Discover new users & user needs

Identify opportunities for new products & services

Pressure test & prioritize ideas & initiatives

Develop hypothesis testing & user testing plans

Train teams in conducting & managing user research


Banishing the Creative Black Market (developed in partnership with Tuxedo Monsters, Inc.)

Gather: Immersive Innovation Roundtables (custom-designed with Kat Egan Co.)

How to Be Lucky - Using Tools from Design Research for Ideation with Design Leaders 

We'd love to work with you to design and facilitate a workshop that meets your team's needs.

To get started, send an email to farrah@thedifferenceengine.co - clicking on the link opens an email, with the subject header already started. 

Want to develop a better understanding of your customers, prospects, and current context? Looking for new opportunities for growth? Interested in developing in-house capabilities for ongoing user research? 

Send research RFPs or other details about your project to farrah@thedifferenceengine.co.

Writing & Talking