Getting Personal

May 23, 2017

This month I thought I would get personal by sharing about where I’ve come from and where I’m heading as a learner, practitioner and writer in the strategic design space. For those of you who have been reading my blog articles but don’t know that much about me, here is a bit of background...

 

I am a strategic designer specialising in the integration of the best of design process and strategic frameworks to solve complex problems. On a deeper level, I see design as a conscious catalyst for change. My work as an independent consultant focuses on leveraging ecosystems of design, leadership and agile technologies to meet the complexity challenge with purpose and ease.

 

With backgrounds in the creative industries, environmental science, education, mental health, adult development and leadership, I see myself as a passionately eclectic professional with a deep understanding of the systems, mindsets, behaviours and relationships required to thrive amidst complexity.  I currently consult leaders of enterprise and organisations in the education and health sectors, combining integral theory with human centered design to generate L&D, stakeholder engagement and business performance strategies.

 

Before launching my design business, I was a consultant with Shirlaws Group, a global UK-based business consulting company servicing the private enterprise sector. There I designed, coordinated and delivered sustained cultural alignment programs and business performance strategies for leaders of consolidation projects in the financial services sector. I’ve also been a student at MetaIntegral Academy, an organisation made up of world-class experts in conscious leadership, cross-sector coordination for large-scale change and complex organisational development issues. 

 

What some of you may not know about me is that I was once the quintessential, travelling troubadour. At times I was on the road six months out of the year touring, recording and performing at Australia’s top festivals. My design expertise is grounded in those fifteen years of independent artistry and creative entrepreneurship, with particular skills in composition, performance, product design, positioning and brand architecture. During that time I also lectured at Southern Cross University's Department of Contemporary Music and worked across regional NSW public and NFP sectors partnering with arts bodies, schools and mental health providers delivering songwriting and music programs for cross-sector, community building outcomes. 

 

After an extensive career in the arts, people often ask me, “Why trade in all that freedom and creativity to work in design and business?” My response is consistent – my personal vision was larger than the music. Ultimately, I am committed to evolving the collective consciousness of humanity. There are of course lots of ways to do this. But for me, design is a practice, process and way of being that has the potential to elevate discourse and transform world-views; that is something I want to be a part of. Plus, it is a creative means of bringing together all of my varied skills, gifts, talents and history. If I’m able to translate my creative practice into the wider field of post conventional design in a way that positively contributes to the larger story of humanity’s unfolding, “why not?”

 

For the past 18 months, the designer/geek in me has enjoyed working on a few collaborative projects that have enlivened a passion for qualitative research. Firstly, the integration of ethnography, systems mapping and Integral Theory’s 4-quadrant meta-model has ignited my curiosity. More specifically, Dr. Sean Esbjorn-Hargens has developed a method that he calls, Tetradynamics, to map everything and anything a complex system can throw at you. It is a meta-tool for holding complexity in a way that marries quite elegantly with design principles. It can facilitate individual and collective perspective seeking methods, including interviewing, action research groups, communities of practice facilitation and more. It also serves as a highly effective visual platform for harvesting qualitative data from a multiplicity of sources, mapping synchronous perspectives and reframing strategic concerns in ways that enable people with agency to take informed action. For a demonstration on how this works, get in touch via email so we can schedule some time for me to take you through a demo of the process.

Secondly, I am deeply fascinated by what is emerging at the intersection of vertical leadership development and design. My work with MetaIntegral Academy and MetaIntegral Associates had me reflect on design in an adult developmental context, from modernism to post modernism, to integral and beyond. Of particular interest is using design as a catalyst for change to facilitate whole organizational transitions from conventional to integral ways of doing, thinking and being. Terri Irwin’s work in transition design at Carnegie Melon is particularly inspiring in this domain: 

 

https://www.susannacarman.com/single-post/2016/09/09/Design-Led-Business-From-Where-To-What

Thirdly, I’ve been busy using integral design frameworks for building approaches to metrics in rapid, iterative design cycles (critical for the new school model movement). The MetaCapital Framework is a meta-model able to contextualize and simplify the process around metrics so that clients have the receptive and expressive capacities to see, value and measure what matters most to them, not just what current systemic parameters require.

 

https://www.susannacarman.com/single-post/2017/04/04/Strategic-Design-And-Schools

 

Identifying, valuing and then measuring deep and wide impact along side clear and high ones is a developmental move. I am super keen to explore where this can go in an age when big data and funding are intrinsically linked. This is truly fascinating stuff, particularly when it comes to pitching an effective project to those who have the capital to help scale. So, let me know if you are interested in how this works, as I’m more than happy to set up a Zoom demo with you.

 

Well that’s me… for now. I look forward to sharing more in the coming months. Until then, check out some of the new case studies at

 

https://www.susannacarman.com/case-studies

 

and be in touch susanna@susannacarman.com to find out how strategic design can help you level up and enact your larger vision.   

 

 

 

 

 

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