9/22/2022 Fall ’22 Designer in Residence: Karen Proctor, Improv Lab

Jane Englebardt. That’s why.
Among other things, Jane Englebardt is principal of UpshotAdvisors, LLC, a strategy consulting, leadership development, and philanthropic advisory firm that helps companies, foundations, and individuals gain the professional tools to affect meaningful social change. And she teaches Leadership and Entrepreneurship at DSI.

DSI: What is design for social innovation?

DSI is a new methodology for generating solutions to complex problems that affect people, communities and society. Academically, DSI is at the nexus of communication design, human behavior, global structures and business. DSI students use knowledge of those fields to explore, generate and evaluate new approaches to services, systems and products.

What differentiates the DSI program is its attention to two components critical to successful innovation: the process for developing creative insight and the requirements for scalable and sustainable execution.

DSI: What would you like to say to prospective students about the program?

In the words of John Gardner, “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly described as unsolvable problems.” If you want to learn how to pick the lock of unsolvable problems and make sizeable impact, then this is the program for you.

DSI: Can you talk a little bit about your background and the work you do?

I earned an undergraduate degree in art and art history, an MBA in management, and professional certifications in business, effective philanthropy, leadership and executive coaching. I have worked in the corporate, social-profit and philanthropic sectors; have tech start-up experience; served on and chaired board of directors; and spent 13+ years in CEO/ED positions.

My firm, Upshot Advisors, works with corporate, social-profit and philanthropic leaders who are committed to making meaningful impact in their work and in the world. We specialize in providing the knowledge, tools and techniques to accelerate performance and bring about measureable change efficiently, effectively, and sustainably.

DSI: Can you talk in more detail about a project that you are working on?

Among my firm’s current clients is the CEO of a rapidly growing medical institution that is changing how people around the globe think about and treat mental illnesses; a corporate CEO-philanthropist for whom we are conducting field research and investment due-diligence on the most effective operations for acquiring and distributing fresh food in food insecure communities; a private grant-making foundation for whom we conducted a grantee survey and are now helping to use survey results to design a streamlined online grant application system; and a family philanthropy where we are helping to engage the next generation in learning how to leverage their resources in ways that will make meaningful impact.

DSI: If you could give one piece of advice to students starting DSI, what would it be?

Be curious. DSI is not the kind of program where you can just sit back and take notes. Be prepared to participate fully in the educational experience. DSI faculty are all practitioners, your fellow students were selected for their accomplishments and experiences, and classes are held in one of the most diverse and exciting cities in the world. If you are willing to jump in with both feet, suspend judgment about what you think you know, and push yourself to ask as many questions as you can, you will leave here with knowledge, tools and insight capacity that can make you successful anywhere in the world in any industry.

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