I help executives and team leaders navigate the challenges associated with bringing new service experiences to life.
These journeys are not always easy. They require an alignment of customer needs and organizational capabilities. Often this involves interactions within and across project teams, functional groups, or strategic partners.
Successful experiences – for both the organization and its audiences – are grounded in relationship value, and relationship value is facilitated by dialogue and communication. As a result, the creative journey and the delivery of a superior customer experience relies on a series of mediated conversations.
I provide expertise in the design, facilitation, and mediation of meetings, workshops, retreats and individual interactions of all kinds that result in clarity of purpose, constructive participation, and actionable outcomes that can begin on “Monday morning”. Thoughtfully structured and choreographed work sessions such as these also serve as forums for simulating and practicing new behaviors and interactions among group members and the overall employee experience of delivering services.
I offer coaching in applied design-thinking methodologies that help groups explore divergent thinking before converging on final solutions. These methods include ethnographic research techniques for generating insights, rapid prototyping techniques for transforming these into new business, service, or design concepts, and the creation of pilot programs (“small bets”) that facilitate learning and mitigate risk. These methods can also be combined as a concentrated deep dive/innovation lab event to help launch, unblock, or advance a specific challenge.
I advise business development and design teams on techniques for strategic diagnostic, framing, and scoping of new projects by taking a needs-driven, not solutions-driven, approach. This includes the use of “pre-mortems” to anticipate and plan for disruptive events and transformative mediation techniques to support a team’s ability to deliver exceptional and memorable service experiences at all stages of the customer journey.
Whether I collaborate as an internal leader or an external advisor, my approach has three key objectives: (a) help organizations leverage what they already know and know how to do well, (b) enable them to adopt innovation practices by co-designing the outcome themselves, and (c) guide them to do it continuously. Taking this approach, I believe, promotes engagements that are effective, efficient and economical – values that are important to resource-constrained organizations of all kinds.
I began my career as a licensed architect and educator, but something unexpected happened during eight years of professional practice – I became increasingly interested in the business side of the creative process, specifically how architects worked with their clients and the general public, and the impact those relationships had on the design of the built environment.
My professional story after that can be described by three inflection points.
The first inflection point occurred when I returned to school and to earn an MBA so that I could more directly influence how the business world understood and engaged with the world of design. Similarly, I believed, I could also bring strategic thinking to the design professions.
I was fortunate in that I found the right sandbox in which to conduct these explorations with a company called IDEO, one of the best known innovation and design firms in the world. Over the course of a decade I focused on product, service, and environments programs for clients in a wide variety of industries.
The second inflection point came when I left IDEO and the life of a consultant to better understand the innovation process from a vantage point on the inside of organizations that ranged from non-profits to enterprise software.
What I learned from these experiences is that the most successful design and innovation programs do not result from a “big idea”. Generating ideas is actually the easy part. The real challenge is to mobilize individuals or teams within an organization – and often beyond, in collaboration with other stakeholders – to shepherd things through various development stages and out into the world. That, unfortunately, is where great ideas often get stuck or die altogether.
It was that experience that led me to the third and most current inflection point, focusing on the “people” side of the innovation process, to guide and support the dynamics of collaboration and even constructive conflict can help (not hinder) creative activities.
Today I am a strategist, designer, educator, and consultant who helps organizations grow through innovation initiatives. Leveraging expertise in methodologies at the core of design-thinking, management consulting, and conflict resolution, I have skillfully led interdisciplinary teams and guided both private and social sector organizations in product and service innovation, business process transformation, and talent development initiatives.
Over the past decade I have focused almost exclusively on service innovation. As a result I have engaged in all aspects of the design and development of new services and the revitalization of existing ones. This often involves envisioning desirable multi-platform customer experiences that are technically feasible and economically viable, and addressing the organizational change required to effectively deliver them.