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Cheryl Dahle is an entrepreneur and teacher who works at the intersection of design and social change. Along with teams of designers, scientists, researchers, and anthropologists, she creates and tests new ways to solve large-scale, systemic problems. An adjunct professor at IIT Institute of Design (ID), Cheryl is also Lead of the Food Systems Initiative at ID’s Action Lab. She taught for two years as an adjunct professor in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University. Cheryl received a bachelor’s of science in journalism from Northwestern University.

Industry Experience

Cheryl is founder and CEO of Flip Labs, a relational design firm. The company’s first foray into systems work was tackling the global problem of overfishing through its Future of Fish initiative, which Cheryl led for ten years. Future of Fish was one of two national finalists in the 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge, which recognizes insightful systemic approaches to ending the world’s most complex problems. Prior to founding Future of Fish and Flip Labs, Cheryl was a director at Ashoka, where she distilled knowledge from the organization’s network of 2,500 fellows to provide strategic insights to foundations and corporations. Before her work in the nonprofit sector, she was part of an incubation and start-up team to launch an online environmental magazine, for which she helped secure $12 million in venture funding.

In her first career as a journalist, Cheryl spent fifteen years writing about social entrepreneurship and business for publications including Fast Company, The New York Times and CIO. She also founded and led Fast Company’s Social Capitalist Awards project, a first-of-its-kind business award for top social entrepreneurs. In addition to the Buckminster Challenge award, Cheryl has received awards including Change Agent in Residence, Bainbridge Graduate Institute (2014); Eco-Innovator, USA Today (2013); and Finalist, Katerva Award (2012). She is a consultant and advisor to multiple organizations, including the Buffett Institute, Criterion Institute, and Development in Gardening.

Speaking and Publishing

Cheryl has served as a main-stage presenter at a number of conferences, including Main Fuel Vancouver (2011) and Business Innovation Factory Summit (2014). She also delivered the keynote address at the Adaptive Path Service Experience Conference (2017) and Skoll Centre Global Challenge (2017). Her original research includes “Changing the Future of Wild Fish: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Sustainable Solutions” (2009) and “Future of Fish: Executive Summary” (2010), both commissioned by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Cheryl’s publications include the book No Horizon Is So Far and the article “Designing for Transitions: Addressing the Problem of Global Overfishing” in Cuaderno 73.

Selected Work

Arnesen, Liv, and Ann Bancroft, with Cheryl Dahle. 2019. No Horizon Is So Far: Two Women and Their Historic Journey across Antarctica. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Dahle, Cheryl. 2019. “Designing for Transitions: Addressing the Problem of Global Overfishing.” Cuaderno 73, Centro de Estudios en Diseño y Comunicación 19:73 (July): 213–33.