Design Thinking Ireland 2016 – meet the speakers

Design Thinking for Innovation & Business Growth  will be held at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham on 2nd June.

We thought you may be interested in sneaking an early glimpse into some of our stellar line-up of speakers:

 Gerard O’Neill

Designing for the Long-Term Future

 Once named Ireland’s only futurologist, Gerard O’Neill shies away from this description. He describes himself: “I’m an economist who somehow ended up in the market research industry, having fun using the tools and insights of economics (neuro-, behavioural etc.) to go beyond the usual suite of MR techniques.”

Gerard is currently chairman at Amarach Research, a non-executive director with the Marketing Institute of Ireland, a member of the National Statistics Board and Director of Third Space.

We’re getting better at thinking about the long term in Ireland, though there’s still room for improvement.  Drawing on his experiences working on a project on Dublin in 2050 for Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Gerard will look at how to engage different audiences in thinking about the future, the type of ideas and opportunities that come up in long term thinking, and some does and don’ts for those working on long term design projects.


Jeanne Liedtka

Why Design Thinking?  Driving Transformation in Business, Government and the Social Sector

 Innovation in the Public Sector: Stories of what works

 Jeanne Liedtka is one of the world’s leading experts in Design Thinking.  She has been involved in corporate strategy for over 30 years, yet brings a fresh, interesting and even entertaining vibe when she speaks.

Jeanne works with both MBA’s and executives in the areas of design thinking, innovation and leading growth.  She is passionate about exploring how organizations can engage employees at every level in thinking creatively about the design of powerful futures.

She is a faculty member at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business and former Chief Learning Officer at United Technologies Corporation.  Her current research focuses on design-led innovation in the government and social sector, as does her forthcoming book – Designing for the Greater Good.  Her previous books include:  The Catalyst; How You Can Lead Extraordinary Growth (winner of the Business Week best innovation books of 2009); Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers (winner of the 1800 CEO READ best management book of 2011) and its accompanying field guide, The Designing for Growth Field Book: A Step by Step Guide, The Physics of Business Growth: Mindsets, System and Process and Solving Business Problems with Design Thinking: Ten Stories of What Works.



Tony O’Donnell

How Design Thinking Contributes to Managing Ambiguity & Risk in Innovation

 Tony O’Donnell is an engineer, technologist and passionate believer in design-lead innovation.  He currently leads research within the Infosys / EdgeVerve CTO’s office with a particular focus on fintech disruption.

He and his international team work closely with financial institutions, universities and the start-up community to accelerate the impact of emerging tech in business.   He serves as adjunct faculty at the School of Engineering in Trinity College Dublin with a focus on design.  He is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of Engineers Ireland.


Stephen Harvey

My Experience of Pioneering Design Thinking within a multi-site Corporation

 Stephen Harvey is Director of Innovation at Logitech based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Logitech is a multinational corporation with locations throughout North and South America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.  He also serves as Senior Mechanical Design & Innovation Manager.  Stephen will share his personal journey of pioneering design thinking within a large, multi-site corporation.




Christine Kurjan

Scaling Design Thinking and Innovation Efforts within an Organisation.  “I’m in!…Now how to grow from here?”

 Christine was originally based in engineering which led her to develop her professional experience in step with IDEO, the international consultancy she worked with for 15 years. Engineering analysis and design in the fields of aerospace, medical systems, and consumer products has given way to defining the experiences delivered at retail, in your home, online, or within your company…and from there to using design-thinking to manage organizational transformation.    She will draw from her years of expertise to share how to scale design thinking and innovation efforts within an organisation.





In addition to the above speakers, each attendee will have the option of two of the following ‘Building your Toolkit as a Design Thinker’ workshops:

–           Visual Thinking:  Harness the power of visual methods to make your thinking accessible to others. Improve your ability to think and communicate using tools such as sketching (with Philip Barrett, Artist & Trevor Vaugh, Maynooth)

–           Telling the Story:  Bring people to your project or innovation the way nectar brings bees to a flower!  Answer the ‘What’ and ‘So What’ of any project with interest & intrigue (with Lesley McKimm & Jackie Larkin of Newgrange Pictures)

–           Designing Experiments:  The mantra of ‘Fail fast and cheap’ – once considered an anomaly of Silicon Valley start-ups – is becoming accepted management wisdom.  A series of popular new initiatives – from Lean Start-up to Agile Development to Design Thinking – share a common emphasis on the vital role of experimentation.  In this session, we will unpack and explore what it means to design and conduct experiments in the real world (with Prof. Jeanne Liedtka, Darden Business School)

–           Ethnography:  Learn how to achieve great customer insights by obtaining information from people from their own perspective.  This will ensure you identify unmet, unarticulated needs so as to create new & compelling solutions (with Helen King, Bord Bia and Randy Salzman)

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