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David O’Donnell

Founder, Post Normal

David O'Donnell headshot

David is a design strategist and design researcher with over 25 years of experience in innovation consulting. He has spent his career helping companies and institutions leverage empathic research with the people they serve to create thoughtful, innovative solutions to their challenges.

David holds a master’s in Urban Planning and Public Policy from the University of Illinois Chicago and has worked as a Deputy Commissioner for the City of Chicago on environmental policy.

Industry Experience

As a design consultant at Salesforce Ignite, gravitytank, Sapient, and ELab, David developed product concepts and product portfolio strategies for Fortune 500 companies across various industries, including automotive, financial services, consumer packaged goods, and food.

As an Associate Partner at gravitytank, David developed the company’s social innovation team and has worked extensively for philanthropic clients in the fields of education, healthcare, workforce development, and violence prevention. He has worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on innovation in the fields of K-12 education and public health.

David founded and manages Post Normal, a strategy consulting business focusing on energy transition and public health projects for nonprofits and government agencies. He is a member of the Sonder Collective, an international cooperative of designers spanning the US, the EU, and several African countries.


Bosch-Capblanch, Xavier, O’Donnell, David, Krause, L. Kendall, et al. 2021. “Researching, co-creating and testing innovations in paper-based health information systems (PHISICC) to support health workers’ decision-making: protocol of a multi-country, transdisciplinary, mixed-methods research programme in three sub-Saharan countries.” Health Research Policy and Systems 19, 112.