Going Beyond the Best: 5 Cases of Bringing "Something Special"

Cases studies from Microsoft, Netflix, R2C, APA, and Nike.

Many famous experts give advice that sound good but is ultimately empty or lacking in practical detail. The result: businesses stay stuck. We offer something beyond what most of the 'the best' do.

The Difference

At unstuck we offer something special. One way to understand this “something special” is how we've helped companies get unstuck even after they had already worked with 'the best' academics, analysts, and designers.

Even after Microsoft had talked to the best academic behavioral scientists, even after Netflix had hired the best data analysts, and even when the hip R2C had worked with amazing marketing designers, they were still a bit stuck, then we provided "something special" of value that was "beyond the best," to help them get unstuck.

5 Case Examples

Microsoft - even though the innovative tech giant had spoken to the world’s foremost experts on things like growth mindset and had made some progress, they were still a little stuck and needed more.

  • A problem was that getting the techniques like growth mindset to work in the real world requires knowing how to apply lots of other psychology like identity, socialization, and habit formation.

  • We helped Microsoft get unstuck with culture work, including integrating growth mindset into existing company and cultural processes, working with existing norms instead of against them, and more holistically using behavioral science, rather than just a few popular theories.

Netflix - even though the streaming kind had hired globally recognized data and psychology experts to make their UX better and read all the best books, they were still stuck and needed more.

  • The problem was there were parts of psychological theories of choice, norms, and habits they still needed more knowledge on, as well creative inspirations of how to apply this knowledge. They didn't need much, but they still needed something, and Netflix is an expert at looking for moments of outside help to leverage their already world-leading talent.

  • We helped them get unstuck with our expertise in translating theoretical sophistication into actionable design input and bringing some of the most nuanced ideas of psychology to support and mix in with the experts' existing knowledge.

APA - Even though the American Psychological Association’s Division 8 is full of world-class psychology experts, they were still stuck understanding the needs of their membership, and they needed more.

  • The problem was that experimental research methods and real-life research methods are radically different; additionally, being a great scientist does not equal being a wise leader.

  • We helped APA Division 8 get unstuck with smart, deep, real-world research and interviews that revealed the needs of their membership. The results of this work then informed strategic planning.

Nike - even though the "just do it" brand had spent millions with one of the biggest consulting firms to design content, they were still stuck how to just do it and needed more.

  • The problem was that the new content was pretty, even sexy, but that this approach landed a bit flat with audiences, reducing impact and memorability.

  • We helped Nike get unstuck by auditing the program the consulting firm had made, fixing errors in influence, targeting the audience more directly, and increasing experiential quality which led to better absorption of the content.

R2C - even though the hip Portland creative firm, had work with many experts, they were still stuck on making their content the most impactful.

  • The problem was that previous experts did not look at R2C’s needs with sufficient breadth, instead hyperfocusing on slivers of problems and generally not providing enough richness to really inspire R2C's already very high intelligence and capabilities.

  • We helped R2C get unstuck with interactive workshops and tailored content that taught them broad psychology and design principles - story, identity persuasion, memory, fluency, and even the science of cool. This allowed them to hone the most powerful parts of their agency, and become a better version of themselves.


We shine by going beyond or supporting world-renowned experts. This is because we:

  • know more of the wide breadth of knowledge in business, social science, and art

  • know how to creatively apply the knowledge appropriately to your situation

  • know what it means to work with people and organizations practically

While some experts have one or two of these traits, we embody all three. Further, unstuck is purposefully only us two experts working directly in your context, so nothing is diluting the direct power and joy we can offer.

Skip to the good stuff

If you want to avoid staying stuck, even after investing huge amounts of money and time in big firms and big speakers, skip to the good and real stuff: work with us!

We look forward to helping you, too!

stay unstuck,

Ian & Troy

Note #1:

Some the case study work mentioned was done with collaborators On Your Feet and Dr. Adrian Camilleri. It isn't always just us :-)

Note #2: One of the core reasons we have influence at big companies is because we respect and leverage the employee's existing intelligence. What we bring is something special because it is highly quality, but also delivered through our powerful prototypes, guides, or experiences, that leverage the existing smartness the company already has in unique ways.