Our Man in Japan.

Kyoto C96 LR

DNA’s Chris Jackson may look and sound every bit the Englishman in Japan, but he was a man on a mission. Chris is constantly seeking to add value to DNA’s research practice and attain the upper echelons of research quality.

DNA has well-proven research methodologies and long-established techniques to document and decode humans, their worlds and behaviour. Fieldwork forms the basis of many of our insight gathering on projects; be they strategy, service design, digital transformation or product innovation challenges.

High-quality research has been central to the success of a number of complex, large-scale projects (for clients in both public and private sector). Both our recent Best Effect Purple Pin winners – CERT NZ and Immigration New Zealand – were able to radically simplify customer interactions and deliver simple and easy experiences based on the value and synthesis of early-stage project research and insights.

The low-down on the retreat is: 


An intimate three-day retreat, deep in the Japanese mountains, to uncover and discuss the how-to and why-to of running international field research. The programme is for anyone wanting to create high-quality research projects to inspire design, product, service and strategy outcomes.


Chris headed to Yoshino 2 hrs from Kyoto and hunkered down for three intense days returning via Tokyo – to share the learning and insight with the broader DNA research, CX and UX teams.

It wasn’t all hard going – the retreat took place in Yoshino old town in Nara Prefecture, two hours by train from Kyoto and deep in timber country. The town is surrounded by lush forests and has over twenty working timber mills, so local culture, hiking and food were all on the agenda.


The retreat was lead by Jan Chipchase, who founded and leads Studio D, a San Francisco-based research, design and innovation consultancy that specialises in immersive research. The Studio specialises in identifying nuanced patterns of human behaviour. The insight it generates informs and inspires design, strategy, brand and public policy.

"If you want to understand what motivates Tokyo teens or Afghan arms dealers, Studio D put teams on the ground and fund the research. The studio's work has taken them to the four corners of the globe and worked on projects that have had an impact worldwide".