We work closely with clients to build the tools, competence and confidence that allow teams to confront challenges and harness opportunities internally.

Graft was founded in 2016 by Iain Aitchison, an innovation and design management specialist breaking new ground at the intersection of consulting, education and research.

With a base in Edinburgh, Scotland, our work with some of the world’s leading brands in food and drink, financial services and executive education takes us far and wide.


Our Team

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Iain Aitchison, Director

Iain is an internationally recognised leader in the fields of innovation and design management.

Over the last 15 years, he has consulted to global clients including Bacardi, British Gas, Lenovo, Mars Inc., Samsung, Unilever, Wrigley’s and Yamaha—leading innovation projects in over 15 countries around the world. On a mission to help organisations realise their innovation potential, Iain has also helped build several long-term internal education programmes to enhance capabilities of client teams.

  • Previously Director at Plan, London-based product strategy consultancy

  • Programme Director at Innovation School, Glasgow School of Art

  • External Examiner, MA Multidisciplinary Innovation, Northumbria University

  • Board Member, Design Management Institute, USA

  • Board Member, Creative Scotland 

  • Publishes on topics of design and innovation, as well as chairing and speaking at conferences and universities internationally

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Robbie is an experienced innovation consultant skilled at helping companies collaboratively develop innovation strategies.

Prior to joining Graft, Robbie spent 3 years in-house at Unilever’s first consumer co-creation centre in London and then worked in the Mobile Experience team at Royal Bank of Scotland, where he focussed on planning and facilitating innovation projects with internal stakeholders and customers to fuel innovation pipelines and drive technology R&D.



Sam dunne

associate innovation strategist

Sam is strategist, researcher and writer who consults for a range of international clients including Coloplast, BNP Paribas and Mars Inc.

Sam is also Contributing Editor at Core77, reporting on design, innovation, technology and food — contributing occasionally to other titles including Quartz, Gizmodo and MOLD (Food Design/Futures).

Having worked closely with Iain for several years, Sam now works with Graft on a range of innovation assignments to which he brings his research and writing flair.

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Melody Butcher

Junior Innovation Consultant

Melody is a user researcher and visual designer with a primary interest in user-centred innovation.

Melody holds a BA in Visual Design and a Masters Degree in Innovation from the Glasgow School of Art. Before joining Graft, Melody worked in-house in the innovation team at Royal Bank of Scotland where her work spanned emerging technologies research, facilitating workshops, branding and creating prototypes.

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aleksandra kaleta-pyrek

design management research intern

Aleksandra is a designer and strategist with a keen interest in human-centred approaches as well as design for sustainability.

She is a recent graduate of the BDes Product Design programme at Glasgow School of Art where she developed a focus on design research, user experience design and strategic visioning.

Before joining Graft, Aleks worked as a design strategy intern at NHS Scotland, developing user-centred services. She also holds a BA Interior Architecture from Krakow University.

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Esther Steiner

Junior design management consultant

Esther is a design management specialist with a passion for helping clients leverage the potential of design within their organisations.

Esther is a graduate of the BA Design Management International programme at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences where she developed a focus on design strategy. Prior to joining Graft in 2018, she worked as a Project Manager for a full-service agency in Basel, Switzerland. Previously, Esther consulted on a variety of innovation and design projects with a range of clients, developing strategies and user-centred services that make business sense.

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