#MillenniumLive welcomes Karen Hold, Founder & CEO of Experience Labs. Karen shares her secrets to an impressive career journey, including some insightful stories from her impactful year at P&G, working with the Folgers brand, and how she’s helped some of the most prestigious Fortune 500 brands achieve innovation through design thinking.
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About Karen Hold
Karen Hold is the Founder of Experience Labs and her work is grounded in a core belief that design thinking provides an enabling social technology that facilitates adaptation and effective problem-solving in complex social systems.
Karen began her career in business and strategy on the Folgers Coffee brand team in the early 90s. Drawn by Tom Peter’s accounts of excellence at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in his ground-breaking book “In Search of Excellence”, Karen learned the ropes of brand management alongside powerhouse marketing executives like Chip Bergh, now CEO of Levi Strauss. P&G shaped Karen’s disciplined customer-centric approach to value creation and cemented her commitment to being a force for good in the world by leading from an empathic point of view. Karen’s tenure at P&G created a strong foundation to launch her first successful entrepreneurial venture, Broadband Publishing (BPC) with her husband in the mid-90s. Karen co-founded BPC to create greater access to primary analysis during a critical time in the industry’s development.
Karen’s passion for design as a powerful creative tool took shape during these early days with BPC. Inspired by the brilliant Silicon Valley technologists she interviewed and the pioneering design work of her husband’s grandfather, Leroy Grumman, design emerged as the single most important reason to believe that teams could achieve extraordinary results. Behaviors such as prototyping and research accelerated both the quality and productivity of conversations across innovation teams and ultimately to an increase in product implementation. Design increased the likelihood of implementation by enhancing the companies’ abilities to align, learn, and change together.
Karen soon decided to make it her mission to build creative capacity in individuals, organizations, and cities using the language of design thinking and formed Experience Labs to fulfill her dream. Karen is now a sought-after design thinking expert who innovators rely on to design and scale innovation success. She thrives on helping her clients innovate and adapt to a rapidly changing competitive landscape by focusing on delivering compelling user-centered experiences. As the Director of DT:DC, Karen dedicates hundreds of hours of volunteer time every year to equipping DT:DC members with the tools of design thinking so that they can make change within their sphere of influence.
To learn more about Experience Labs, visit experiencelabs.org.
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