AdvisoryCloud Featured Advisor Interview with Karen Zeigler

Karen Zeigler

Design Thinking Consultant/REVamp Success - AdvisoryCloudTM

Karen was interviewed by AdvisoryCloud on 06/21/2019 as part of our Featured Advisor Interview series. 

AC - Tell us more about your main areas of expertise for being an advisor?

KZ - My focus is on helping company leaders create organizational innovation through the use of a creative problem-solving technique known as design thinking. Design thinking is a human-centered approach to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success. While design thinking applies to all types of problems - products, services, processes, and people structure - my passion is on tackling the issues with the most significant potential to increase both team/company performance and employee engagement.

AC - Describe your main motivation for being an advisor?

KZ - I do my best work in service to C-suite leaders and helping them solve challenges they face leading their organizations. For me, the sweet spot involves all of the following:

* complex problems (always starts here)
* research - human-centered first, then data, competitor, online, etc. second
* collaboration - leading a diverse project team to achieve the goal of an innovative solution
* innovation (thru creative problem-solving aka Design Thinking)
* Delivery of the solution - through oral/written presentations, training, processes or systems

AC - Elaborate on the types of situations, challenges or decisions, you feel you could add the most value to as an advisor?

KZ - My understanding of the challenges that C-suite leaders face is that they fall primarily into three categories: People, Structure, and Market. Each with a long list of challenges. While all three are interrelated, I find I gravitate toward the categories of people and structure. (As evidenced by my writing links shared below.) In my opinion, people and structure are the cars that drive the results reflected in the market. If the vehicle doesn’t work efficiently and with the most power possible, then companies are throttled in their race in the market.

Below are some of the situations companies are facing in each of the categories.

People: creating safe & inclusive environments, building energized and engaged teams, attracting/developing/retaining talent specifically today and tomorrow’s leaders, reducing employee stress and overwhelm

Structure: Nurturing culture, scalability, creating innovation through new business models, digitalization, navigating constant change, progress amidst the chaos

Market: Staying ahead of the competition, digitalization, relevance through social media, stand on social issues, regulations, pursuing right opportunities.

AC - Do you see any disruptive trends on the horizon in your industry or position?

KZ - Disruptive trends abound for those willing to look for them. In fact, by its very nature design thinking is a disruptive trend locator. Many of the most significant innovations of the last decade have been as a result of design thinking. Examples include Nest, Airbnb, Uber, Pillpack, Bank of America’s Keep the Change program. For companies with the desire to identify disruptive trends in their business, starting a design thinking project in their organization is the first step.

AC - Tell me about the most impactful project or decision you’ve been involved in as an executive.

KZ - I am the architect for a leadership development model for women. I had the privilege of leading a group of women leaders in the development and launch of a leadership development program within a non-profit setting. While the model is universal, the charitable organization at the time had a focus on developing women leaders. The philanthropic organizations' primary volunteer source was women. They were experiencing less and less engagement from their core volunteer base and were looking for solutions to the problem. Their goal was to serve the women leaders in their volunteer base better as they, in turn, helped the organization. The development model served to reengage their women leaders and strengthen their ability to serve. The model also resulted in a book titled Created to Lead.

AC - If there are any additional materials or examples, please attach them so we can use it for supporting materials.

KZ - Since I began writing on innovation and design thinking the following articles have been the most popular with my readers. In addition, they relate to my answers above.

What is Design Thinking and Why are Leaders A Buzz About Its Potential<>

How to Create a Business Model Innovation Like the Giants in 6 Simple Questions
Re-designing Change Management Models with Humans in Mind (Part 1)
<> and (Part 2)<>

If you are interested in speaking with Karen about this topic or others, you can book a meeting with her through her AdvisoryCloud profile here: