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Origins in design and science

Intelligent Design Associates were founded by Christopher Thorpe to provide companies and individuals the unique benefits of a truly multi-disciplinary design practice.

Our origins span design and science – and our experience comes from a wide range of commercial practice, academic research and independent personal and collaborative projects.

This includes research on smart materials at Cranfield University; furniture design as an independent practitioner and a 10 year period between 2000 and 2010 of technical commercial innovation for leading UK science organisation QinetiQ.

Award winning commercial innovation

During this latter period, we worked for a range of world class brands in sectors including health and wellbeing, security, sport and leisure and consumer electronics - delivering technically innovative products such as the award winning Bioflex backpack for Berghaus.

Intelligent Design Associates formed in 2011

In 2011 Christopher Thorpe founded Intelligent Design Associates as an independent company. This has given us a much greater degree of flexibility and also enabled us to extend our offering through a growing set of partner organisations while maintaining our independence.


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Understand, create, develop and realise

Our philosophy is to first understand where the opportunity is - then create and develop solutions through a process of considered design.

Insight through research

In many projects this process starts with research stemming from our initial discussions with clients.

Our methods span person and technology insight, road-mapping and competitor research – selected according to need and focused on identifying the salient issues surrounding new opportunities.


Having researched a specific opportunity; we work with interdisciplinary teams to create new concepts and propositions.

We create numerous initial outline ideas in the early divergent phase of a project. This approach is also often coupled with IP analysis through patent checks to identify where there are areas for new IP. We are then able to build on and refine these ideas before down selecting the most promising conceptual areas using structured analysis andfurther research.

Develop and realise

During the development phase of projects we iterate and evolve the selected concepts using simple working models and prototypes – testing these with prospective users – gaining invaluable feedback and feeding these findings into development.

As projects become more mature we then use a range of 2 and 3D CAD technologies to ensure we can take ideas through all stages of production – from initial production samples to final product launch.


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Interdisciplinary design

Our belief is that successful innovation comes from a synthesis of creative and technical skills.

We therefore use an approach which harnesses a unique blend of design and technical expertise from our team of associates. This allows us to address the specific challenges and opportunities of our clients with the right skills and technical rigour.

The goal of this approach is considered design through creativity, research and analysis – leading to valuable intellectual property, usable products and strong successful commercial brands.