Karen Olson / Special Projects

What inspires me about this work?

I think a lot of us find our brains getting twisted in knots by the kinds of problems our society faces today–they are not problems that we can think our way through in a linear manner because there are too many variables, there is too much complexity. I have long felt that the best way of dealing with these sorts of problems was as a group……..if only we could somehow “think together.” That is why I am so deeply attached to this work–it provides a way of truly and effectively tapping into the wisdom of the group. And because the process incorporates some non-linear elements, the outcomes are always enhanced by discovery and surprise.

Karen is an architect, writer and political strategistwho specializes in the use of design process to shape more sustainable businesses. Throughout her career, she has successfully coupled a systemic approach with creative expertise to generate innovative responses to complex scenarios and changing conditions. Karen is responsible for creative direction across our products, services and communications as well as leading projects that arise in support of our company vision and stakeholder communities.

Before joining the Center, Karen lived and practiced in France for several years. Most recently, she was involved in planning the 2009 Fort Baker Leadership Summits which brought together leaders from business, non-profits and the public sector to develop a future vision for the state of California. She is a founding board member of the Institute for Environmental Entrepreneurship which guided the evolution of the GreenMBA, now at Dominican University of California, from its inception. She is also a founding board member of the Center for Sustainability at Dominican University.

Karen holds a BA in Political Science from Stanford Universityand a Masters in Architecture from Harvard University.