Founder, Chief Design Strategy Officer, IA Collaborative
Selected by Fast Company as a Master of Design and one of 50 Most Influential Designers, Kathleen Brandenburg is an internationally recognized founder, thought leader, educator and speaker on the global stage—from Delhi to Hong Kong to the Mayo Clinic. Named a “Creative Maverick,” Kathleen has devoted her career to elevating design as a strategic value for business, organizations, and society. An early pioneer and advocate of human-centered design, she was one of the first to link design, business strategy, and innovation when she co-founded IA Collaborative, the global design and innovation consultancy, in 2000.
Today, Kathleen is leading the conversation to elevate design’s impact even further, championing it as the way solve our world’s most urgent problems. A Harvard Visiting Professor of Design for Social Innovation, she is at the forefront of a movement to change the way healthcare understands and applies design, and is the author of Design for Health: The Beginning of a New Dialogue Between Design and Public Health.
Kathleen leads work at the forefront of design and business strategy at IA Collaborative. An expert in cross-pollination, she draws from the varied industries IA serves to uncover unexpected connections and opportunities for innovation. She co-developed the company’s 7 Elements of Design Innovation™ process that has driven record success for the world’s largest brands, including Nike, Airbnb, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Audi, Charles Schwab, Samsung, and FedEx. Whether scrubbing in for surgery as a means to reinvent Johnson & Johnson’s patient experience, or running with athletes to uncover opportunities for Nike wearables, Kathleen believes that research is creative—and that true innovation starts with “living the problem to design the solution.”
Kathleen’s award-winning work has been featured in multiple publications. She serves on the Innovation Council at Northwestern University and is on the Board of Directors at IIT Institute of Design.