Jeanne Liedtka

Professor at Virginia Darden School of Business

Author of „Design for Growth”, Professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, Profiled as a THINKERS 50 thought leader in business.

Beginning her career as a strategy consultant for the Boston Consulting Group, she has served as Executive Director of the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation, Chief Learning Officer at United Technologies Corporation, and currently as Senior Associate Dean for Programs at Darden.

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Formerly the Associate Dean of the MBA at Darden and Chief Learning Officer for United Technologies, Jeanne’s research focuses on the intersection of innovation and strategy, in particular the integration of design thinking into organizational problem solving processes.

Jeanne has taught design thinking to thousands of managers, both in person at Darden and through her on-line coursework, and authored numerous books including The Catalyst, Designing for Growth: A design thinking tool kit for managers, and Solving Business Problems with Design Thinking: Ten Stories of What Works. Her newest book, Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector,

translates her work to the public sector. She recently published on the Harvard Business Review the article ‘Why Design Thinking Works’.

To discover more on her publications and commitment to innovate through Design Thinking, visit Jeanne’s website.

Better by Design, Jeanne Liedtka


Jeanne Liedtka on Design Thinking


Kara Pecknold

Creative Director at Frog

Kara Pecknold is a Creative Director with a focus on Design Research and Organisational Activation at frog. With more than 15 years of experience, she has had the opportunity to work with clients across a variety of sectors from energy, education and international development to healthcare, automotive and financial services. 

She is the global lead for frog’s Collective Action Toolkit, a collaboration and creativity tool that enables groups of people anywhere to organise, collaborate, and create solutions for problems affecting their organization or community.

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Prior to frog, she completed her Master’s degree in cross-cultural design and ran her own design research consultancy in Vancouver. She speaks, teaches and writes on design research as well as how to build creative capabilities and transformation within organizations. Outside of work, Kara enjoys yoga, dancing and hiking as well bringing people together around food, drink and the shared table.

Ivar Björkman

Executive Director Openlab, PhD

With a Phd in managing creative industry and a long track record of managing for example the largest art and design university in Sweden and several design companies, Ivar has during the last 8 years focused on how to build and manage co-creating interdisciplinary organizations that focus on how to innovate for a better society. 

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With a broad experience and expertise on design thinking methods in different contexts. Openlab is one of the leading co-creation open innovation platforms that focus on societal challenges.

Dr. Mick Jackson

Mick Jackson is a serial entrepreneur, author and Ex Chart topping rock singer. He is also the founder of the WildHearts Group – a portfolio of companies committed to creating global social change. To date, WildHearts have transformed over 1,000,000 lives globally and invested over £20,000,000. 

Mick’s work has been recognised globally; he has received numerous honorary doctorates, was EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016 and was voted Top Scot by the UK public (an honour he shares with JK Rowling and Sir Chris Hoy). 

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In 2015 WildHearts was awarded Social Enterprise UK’s People Choice Award. Mick is the second only recipient of the highly prestigious Babson Social Innovation Award from the world’s top school in entrepreneurship.

Randy Salzman

Journalist and former communications professor at the University of Virginia

Randy Salzman has been studying, analysing and teaching design thinking in the social sector. A long-time communications professor, in the past decade he’s been working with Jeanne Liedtka, re-writing ideas into easily told stories and doing much of the ethnographic interviewing and observation. After editing The Catalysts, and commenting on drafts of Dr. Liedtka’s other writings, in the past two years they’ve collaborated on the next full-length work, Designing for the Greater Good,* the just-published Designing for Growth, Facilitator’s Guide* and developed presentation materials and methods from PowerPoints to posters; from videos* to games.

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Over the past decade, the former communications (primarily broadcasting and journalism) and creativity (primarily graphics, advertising and film) professor’s writing has focused on transportation creativity, specifically the TravelSmart concept from Australia, and how to deeply understand American drivers in order to facilitate transportation change. In the past year, he’s taught human-centered design to college students and business groups and mentored groups undergoing their own design-thinking projects.

Mito Mihelic

Head of User Lab at VC/O GmbH Berlin, Docent at Anhalt University of Applied Sciences

After co-founding an innovation agency with a wide portfolio of clients, from educational institutions, over NGOs to medium-sized companies and large-scale corporations, Mito Mihelic established a Design Thinking department at Viessmann Group, one of the leading international manufacturers of heating, industrial and cooling systems. He is responsible for the roll out of the human-centered mindset, co-creation of cultural change within the traditional ‘‘mittelstand’’ environment as well as boosting employees’ creative confidence when facing either existing or new initiatives.

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He also heads a User Lab, a B2C user research department at VC/O, Viessmann Group. Finished his diploma in fine arts and design, he continued at the HPI D-School, where he always likes to return when occasionally coaching at the HPI Academy. He is a lecturer at the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in Dessau.

Merel van der Woude

Creative Director at Butterfly Works

Merel van der Woude is Creative Director at Butterfly Works, a social  design studio based in The Netherlands that is pioneering the use of Design Thinking and co-creation within International Development.

Since her graduation at the Design Academy Eindhoven on identity exploration and creative learning, Merel has been specializing in cross cultural design processes at Butterfly Works. She is an expert in finding out all needs, experiences, knowledge and the specific interest of the actors involved in a project.

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With her curious mind and friendly approach, she leads co-creation processes all over the world to ensure end users are involved in the design of new and innovative solutions. Merel has been a driving force in the development of the method used by Butterfly Works which has a strong focus on participatory approaches and inclusive methods.

Valentina Piquerez

Project Leader, Creative Mornings

Valentina Piquerez is a design thinker strongly committed to create and cultivate co-creative communities. Five years ago, this mission drove her to fund CreativeMornings in Montevideo (Uruguay), an initiative in which she continues to perform as the leader of the project in Uruguay while being a part of the global Creative Mornings initiative.

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Valentina has worked as an experience designer, workshop facilitator, researcher and mentor in diverse projects, ranging from coworking spaces to aggrotech accelerators. Most recently, she engaged in nation-wide innovation and social development initiatives aimed at stimulating entrepreneurship and empowering women.

Sunita Maldonado

Project Consultant & Communication at Wemakeit.ch GmbH

Design Thinking Mentor at ZHdK Design Thinking Program

Is a passionate Design Thinker since she graduated from Hasso Plattner Institute Potsdam in 2011. As a design thinker of the early hours she’s helping organizations to get to know, feel and implement Design Thinking since. At the Zurich University of the Arts she is part of the teaching team for the courses ‘Design Methods‘ and ‘Design Thinking‘. With a background in arts and culture she’s now dedicated to New Work Cultures, loving and living the prototyping approach.

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Sunita Maldonado is also working as an expert for communication and crowdfunding at ‘wemakeit’, one of Europes largest crowdfunding platforms. 

Currently based in Vienna, Austria.

Photo Credits: Katharina Lütscher


Mito Mihelich

Lead Coach

Sunita Maldonado

Lead Coach

Lisa Henke


As a creative strategist Lisa Henke combines analytical and creative skills, to create innovative insights and strategies which connect with users and achieve business goals. 

As a trained Design Thinking Coach (Hasso Plattner Institute – School of Design Thinking) she supports teams and clients such as BMW, GIZ – Lab of tomorrow & InnoFund, or Accenture in applying user centered methods.

Already for years she also worked as a strategic designer and user researcher to fuel innovative processes internally in companies such as business consultancy BCG Digital, where she supported clients such as MAN, Coup (Bosch Group), Voith, Merck. In her current role as user researcher she strives to drive the customer centricity within the heating and cooling company Viessmann.

Maud Bocquillod


Maud Bocquillod is a trained Industrial Engineer with a drive for Human-Centered Design. She joined a company VC/O two years ago as a Design Thinking coach, wherBee she loves to combine analytical and empathetic skills.

She holds a M.Sc in General Engineering (France) & M.Sc International Design Business Management (Finland). Before moving to Berlin from Helsinki, she worked as a co-founder & product engineer of a hardware healthcare startup in Helsinki, Finland as well as a Course Instructor in Product Development & Innovation in Aalto University, Helsinki.

Benjamin Dirks


Being a certified Design Thinking coach Hasso Plattner Institute – School of Design Thinking), Benjamin Dirks is a co-founder of YESFOX, offering customized workshops matching the specific needs of an organizations or universities. 

Its toolbox concerns human-centered design and innovative approaches, such as empathy design and interview trainings, rapid proto typing, teamwork and communication skills, amongst others. 

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His portfolio contains various clients such as: Zalando, Wieland-Werke-AG, Beuth University, Nestlé, AOK, Bosch, DB, Sparkasse and others. As a coach he also supports HPI Academy, Protostart GmbH and Nanolabs Berlin. As a Co-Founder of Gründungswerft e.V. he helped raising students’ awareness for entrepreneurship, founding a company and business community. Having a background in history in english, Benjamin studied in Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University of Greifswald and City University of New York.


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