This is a unique time in history. Asia has experienced accelerated growth, capital and capacity. Technology and costs of production are decreasing. 2.3 billion people are coming online for the first time, according to Internet World Stats. What does this mean? A huge opportunity for new relationships, business and collaboration. Now is the time to build bridges. 

Our mission was to map the innovation ecosystems in Asia — specifically East Asian cities. We went to 16 cities, 40+ labs in 4 months, starting in Jakarta and ending in Tokyo. We focused on trendsetters in technology and innovation — start- ups, social enterprises, and entrepreneurs — that are creating real value in their communities and moving humanity forward. 

We took an anthropological and journalistic approach to our research, with a practical bent — focusing on best practices, creative processes, human-centered design, social innovation and community impact. 


We first wrote up a hypothesis and guiding questions of what we wanted to discover and the types of patterns we were looking for. Then, we mapped out our route, hitting 16 cities, with 3-6 days in each city. Afterwards, we reached out to our network and connected with a few super-connectors in each region, which then begun the network effect of connections. This trip tested and proved the power of social networks and the value of community leaders in innovation ecosystems to catalyze exponential actions. We reported from the road 3x/week different stories and profiles of leaders and cool spaces on our blog, Creation Catalogue. We also captured footage and audio recordings as documentation for our report. 

In the process, we were approached and surprised by the number of local startups and organizations that heard about us and wanted to get involved — either through hosting an event, having us give a talk, or offering to sponsor us and hire us to help. It was an incredible learning experience and testament to the power of following intentions and the rest will follow. 


  1. Multimedia content published 3 times/week on our online publication platform, Creation Catalogue, as well public channels and platforms from our media partners (MAKE Magazine, General Assembly, Forbes, Fast Company and Makeshift Magazine)
  2. Case studies and annual report for business and educational purposes (still in progress, see details below)  

Each case study from our research includes: 

  • video/audio/written interviews of leaders
  • photographs of spaces and surrounding community 
  • details on what makes the space unique/different from others 
  • brief description of the space, including community challenge(s)/opportunities and how it offers an innovative solution 
  • guidelines and best practices for project execution, including planning process, goals, andintended outcomes of work 
  • lessons learned, including at least one unexpected outcome and one failure 
  • details on the pre-existing conditions of the community and any evidence (quantitative and/or qualitative) that the work elected a change in those conditions with respect to the project’s intended outcomes 
  • methods for measuring outcomes and impact 
  • budget and funding sources and strategies 
  • backgrounds/skills of people involved 
  • information about the community (geographic location, population sizes, demographics, etc.) 
  • reception from the community 


MAKE Magazine

General Assembly

Makeshift Magazine

Creation Catalogue


Ecosystem research, user research, interviewing, design, writing, workshop facilitation, public speaking, and synthesis.


Co-Directors and Producers: Ting Kelly and Bjorn Cooley

Photography: Ting Kelly

More about Ruckus Makers

This research and the expedition was completely self-funded and self-directed, under Doorstep Studios LLC Labs. We did this work purely out of the passion in our hearts and drive by the curiosity in our minds. The results of this research are still being used and shared in East-meets-West bridging work.

This work is becoming more relevant than ever – although it requires constant adaptation and updating to keep up with the rapidly changing landscape in Asia. Therefore, Ting has continued to return once a quarter to build the East-meets-West bridge, and convene gatherings that bring industry leaders together to facilitate collaboration (you can learn more about these Creative Expeditions here). There are current conversations around co-publishing a larger, more data-driven report with COMPASS, as well as published as a short e-book and articles that will be launched separately under a new brand.


"Quote here"

— Richard Hsu, PAN Asia Network, TEDxShanghai founder, h+ branding


Interested to work together? Get in touch.