Strategic Foresight and Person-Centered Design for Social, Corporate and Public Sector Innovation

With a passion and commitment for people-centered design, I help private and public sectors, social enterprises, and non-profits map, navigate, and tackle complex policy, business and social challenges to mitigate risks and uncover opportunities for innovation.

Over the last decade, I have developed and operationalized strategic foresight & human-centered design, communications, strategy development, and project management skills, helping organizations such as Procter & Gamble, TD Bank Group, Ministry of Health in Alberta, Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR), Forum for the Future, School for Social Entrepreneurs, and many others.

A graduate from OCAD University with a Master of Design (M.Des) in Strategic Foresight and Innovation, I bring design thinking and strategic foresight skills to projects - strengthening the discovery and innovation process through a human-centred design lens and exploring the art of the possible through participatory foresight and futures scenarios development. 

Over the last few years I have been working on the Circular Economy transition:  identifying circular consumption patterns, measuring motivating drivers and adoption barriers, and looking to nature for sustainable design patterns to model our business models and economic systems. 


Brands I've worked with, insights gained

Having a wealth of research, strategy development, marketing and communications experiences,  helped me develop the skills and practice to uncover deep insights, design smarter solutions, and tell more engaging and impactful stories. I have developed and disseminated the business case for organizations to understand and adopt smarter, more efficient practices benefiting their brand and society at large. 

I believe that an interdisciplinary approach is crucial in order to map and navigate the complexity and uncertainty faced by the world today.  In my work to address social and environmental issues, I dig deep to understand the business drivers that can help organizations innovate new products and processes and manage their impact. Additionally, engagement of consumers and employees has become critical for many organizations looking to foster healthier societies, and develop and offer sustainable products and services that reverse the impacts of climate change. This is a critical focal point of my work. 

My approach to strategy development and user engagement is based on human-centred design principles. I develop and conduct primary and secondary research strategy which may include: competitive landscape scan,  STEEPV and market analysis; user interviews, surveys, and workshops; ethnographic research and observations, value proposition mapping and analyses, SWOT and Balanced Scorecard analyses.  I also identify signals of change, develop trends & implications reports, and design futures scenarios helping with strategic planning and risk management.

The data gathered frequently leads me to develop unique stakeholder personas and stakeholder/customer journey maps. Once deeper insights are gained, I develop a strategic plan which could include anew product launch strategy, service design strategy, or digital engagement strategy, setting up evaluation metrics and measuring outcomes and progress along the way while refining the strategy as more robust data points come in.

You can read more of my research and see project work here.


My Personal Story - Adaptation and Evolving Empathy

Born in the former Soviet Union, I came to Canada with my family at the age of 11, speaking very little English, from a country with very different cultural values. I had to learn the deeper subtleties of communications and became reliant on my intuition and observation as a way to process information. The cultural disruption forced me to develop greater empathy and agility for adaptation.  

As I got older and entered the business world, this ability serves me well. It allows me to connect with people on a deeper level and propels me to look for motivations for why we do what we do with more rigour and sensitivity. I am drawn to probing into the behaviours of individuals as well as societies. Because of my language handicap as a young girl, I learned to deeply empathize with people in order to make sense of my world.

In my youth I was very focused on music.  Playing and publicly performing for large audiences has honed my appreciation for continuous iteration, practice, and tolerance for creative failure.  Learning and playing a musical instrument taught me about messy processes and being able to plunge into something new (i.e. a new musical piece) and not giving up until it's ready for public performance. 

Now I am working on solving climate change related and social issues, navigating complexity of social systems, where both empathy and continuous adaptation are key to identifying leverage points to help us make better choices and shift our collective actions. 


What's Next?

The next stage of my professional journey focuses on transformative systemic change. My ultimate goal is to help businesses, policy makers, and community groups imagine and create widespread benefits that uplift and empower citizens and communities by creating economic development opportunities; reverse the effects of climate change; and build thriving and resilient societies across cities, communities, and organizations.  

I am looking to work with forward thinking organizations, communities, and policy makers that are ready for transformative and sustainable change and systems innovation. 


A Glimpse Into My Thinking

CHANGE MANAGEMENT

I approach change management as a living and on-going process engaging key collaborators in a continuous dialogue, goal setting, and leadership for sustained impact.

Individual behaviour is embedded in social and institutional norms. Transition solutions for behaviour shifts must tackle institutional context, socio-cultural norms, and individual values and beliefs.

I have been working to gain deep understanding of how and why people make choices: analyzing social norms, cultural trends and perceptions, worldviews and belief systems, as well as how our immediate environment and contextual settings affect our choices and values.

Human-centred design is at the core of both my professional work and my research. I believe that innovation and impact are attained by embracing the complexity and richness of the human experience, and understanding the systemic context within which we operate. 

When introducing innovation, we must evaluate it against not only capacity and know-how, but also socio-cultural norms. For instance, organizational culture in implementation phase could be both a great advantage and a greater barrier, and it’s vital for me to fully understand this when designing and implementing a change management strategy. 

SYSTEMS CHANGE 

I believe that in order for meaningful and lasting shifts to take place, the strategic design process must take a system level approach involving the entire ecosystem across multiple value chains and stakeholders.

The change process has to permeate within individual, communal or activity level, organizational/cultural level and sector wide level.

To understand the necessary contexts for bringing about change, it has been valuable for me to use Donella Meadow’s Leverage Points.

For instance, from a consumer point of view, we need to create a “paradigm shift” in the shared mental model and deepest set of beliefs connecting our consumption habits with our self-identity and self-worth. From a business point of view, it is important for me to understand the “goals of the system” that dictate the point of the system and influence the elements that guide decision making and resulting actions. 

Reframing goals of capitalism to incorporate value for all stakeholders and the environment; and reframing the business value of circular and sharing economies is a key factor in my work.


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