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Karen Hold: Helping Individuals, Organizations, and Cities through Design Thinking

Karen Hold: Helping Individuals, Organizations, and Cities through Design Thinking


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Welcome back! Spiffy here, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs working to make this world more equitable. Today I’m super excited to speak with Karen Hold, founder and CEO of Experience Labs.

Spiffy: It’s wonderful to meet you, Karen. I’m curious about the challenges Experience Labs is addressing. What can you tell me?

Karen: Thanks for having me, Spiffy. I help individuals, organizations, and cities build creative capacity using the mindsets, behaviors, and tools of design thinking.

Spiffy: That’s interesting! What motivates you to do it?

Karen: What motivates me is equipping leaders with the tools, mindsets, and behaviors to create what's next for our world. I believe that to create something new, you must become someone new. I love helping people transform themselves, so they can create a better world for all of us.

Spiffy: What would you say is the impact of your work?

Karen: My work is global, with reach in the United States, Canada, western Europe, western Africa, and India. As a teacher, I help individuals create the capabilities they need to innovate. As a consultant, I help organizations adapt to change and build cultures of innovation in their organizations. And, as a community builder, I help citizens apply innovation tools to social impact problems in our city to transform our city for good.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does that make?

Karen: My co-authors and I wrote a book titled “Experiencing Design: The Innovator's Journey” that was published by Columbia Business Press and won the Axiom Book Award bronze medal for business intelligence/innovation.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Karen—it’s been an honor!

Karen Hold is the founder and CEO of the innovation strategy consulting firm, Experience Labs. A Procter & Gamble (P&G)-trained brand marketer, Karen saw firsthand how P&G drove revenue and profit growth with innovation. With over 35 years of experience, Karen has consulted for dozens of Fortune 500 companies including AARP, AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent, Audi, Chick-fil-A, Cisco, John Hancock, Mercedes, Nokia, NEC, and Porsche. She is passionate about building creative capacity in individuals, organizations, and cities. (Nominated by Josef Scarantino at Hubspot Ventures. First published on the Ladderworks website on January 12, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.