Blowing Up Planning: Maker-Strategists Wanted

By Talley Hultgren, Chief Strategy Officer


Maker-Strategist?  What the hell is that? Well, it describes our ethos here at Chemistry. Constant evolution. Co-creation.  Invention. Blowing things up, then putting them back together with a fresh lens. It’s the opposite of a pontificating, turtlenecked smart-ass. Maker-Strategists are humble, curious, and insatiable. We are infinitely interested in figuring out what we don’t know vs impressing you with what we already know. And there’s always more to know! Here’s how we work…



We get our hands DIRTY and can’t wait to dive in. Maker-Strategists don’t just eat in your restaurant – we’ll roll the sushi, hang out with the line chefs, tend bar and pour over the weekly sales numbers with the GM.


We’ve stalked train engineers and taken clients on a party bus / walking tour to experience local street art, uncovering the connective tissue between the brand and its visitors.


We’ve infiltrated fan groups and mommy blogs; gone back to college multiple times; intentionally got parking tickets, and even spent quality time in a chemo-chair. All in the name of insights! (Can’t say I recommend that last one! But the brief was as smokin’ as the “red devil” drug that saved my life 😊).  Point is – we are scrappy, street smart, and out there – literally – connecting with brands, their people and problems that need to be solved.



Chemistry’s Maker-Strategists are anti-one-size-fits all. Yes, we have a process, but it is intentionally loose. Why? Each client’s problem is different. There is no off-the shelf strategy here. No brief we’ve used for 20+ years. We’re not going to sell you a proprietary solution that we’ve sold to 100s of clients before you.  You’re unique! Your problems deserve a hand-crafted approach. We’re a lab for heaven’s sake! We live to do something we’ve never done before – because it’s just right for you. Need a fresh brain? Call us, we’re game!



Maker-Strategists don’t practice our craft alone in an ivory tower. We don’t drop pearls and retreat. If you work in Chemistry’s lab, you’re on the strategy team, plain and simple. You’ll come with us on observation field trips. You’ll shop and sample and deconstruct. You’ll workshop a problem with friends in other disciplines. We’ll push you out of your comfort zone and have a great time doing it. And we’ll ask you to reinvent…to push us. Throw out an idea, a problem or something you want to learn and we’ll figure out how to make it happen. But one thing we don’t have a lot of is time….we hustle. We are never an exercise in analysis paralysis. We thrive under pressure.



Maker-Strategists know that culture is constantly changing and it is important that we live and participate in that change. A critical part of our role is to feed the minds of our fellow chemists with fresh, inspiring content. What “Matters” now.

Today, for example, we’re dissecting the cultural tension of PERFECTION VS WEALTH VS HAPPINESS. This trifecta is impacting purchase decisions from healthcare to financial services to food Service and beyond.  Sound interesting or relevant to your business? Here are a few perspectives we are exploring:


  • READ: I Miss You When I Blink – A memoir-in-essays from the fabulously insightful and hilarious Mary Laura Philpott of The New York Times, O The Oprah Magazine, The Paris Review and Washington Post fame. (Heart Her Big Time!) It’s a must-read, especially if you need to know what happens after you check off all the boxes on your successful life’s to-do list and realize you might need to reinvent the list – and. maybe, yourself? The NYT published an excerpt. Worth your time – trust me! Love, love, love!


  • WATCH: Generation Wealth – A disturbing documentary on society today from director Lauren Greenfield and Amazon Studios that examines materialism, the cult of celebrity and social status and reflects on the desire to be wealthy at any cost. Check out the trailer! Available on Amazon Prime Video. Trigger Warning: Film is unrated and contains some graphic content (nudity). The trailer is PG.  Ad nerds will recognize Lauren as the director of the amazing Always’ #LikeAGirl work. If you don’t know, you should.


  • DO: The Science of Well-Being – Yes, Y-O-U can take Yale University’s most popular class taught by Professor Laurie Santos, available 100% online from Coursera. ENROLL HERE.  The purpose of the course is to not only learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy, but also to put those strategies into practice in our own lives.


And who couldn’t use a little more happiness!


Interested in joining or working with our tribe of Maker-Strategists? Hit us up on Linkedin!