Natalie is a hybrid thinker, comfortably synthesizing creative and analytical thought processes from design and business to arrive at innovative opportunities. At Philadelphia University Natalie holds the endowed G. Allen Mebane IV ’52 Chair for Design Thinkers and is the Director of the Strategic Design MBA program and an Associate Professor. A practitioner and researcher of design thinking, she is noted for being savvy at connecting the dots between theory and practice and is a bridge builder to the creative side of strategy. In her public speaking engagements, she helps a range of audiences understand and apply user-centered principles to their particular work. Her consultancy, Figure 8 Thinking, LLC, helps organizations leverage creativity as an innovation resource.
Natalie has been a guest/keynote speaker at: TEDx George School; TEDx Philadelphia; The European Innovation Academy (Nice, France); The Copenhagen Institute for Interactive Design (Copenhagen, Denmark); the FUSE Brand Strategy & Design conference (Chicago, Illinois); the VOR Innovation conference (Mexico City, Mexico); and the Cambridge Academic Design Management Conference (Cambridge, England).
Natalie is a recipient of the 2007 Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award, two Philadelphia University Summer Research Grants and a Lindback Foundation Research Grant. She is the editor of Strategic Design Thinking: Innovation in Products, Services, Experiences and Beyond (Fairchild Publishers) and is a regular contributor to INC.com online magazine on creativity and design thinking.
With a background in anthropology and fashion, Natalie worked in the fashion industry as an entrepreneurial hat designer as well as in apparel sourcing for The Limited Brands in Sri Lanka and Portugal. Her research and consulting interests are in business design, experiential service design and applying strategies from the fashion industry to a range of sectors, utilizing style as a competitive advantage in order to build brand distinction. She was certified by the National Charrette Institute at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design to lead charrette trainings; she uses the charrette methodology to lead ideation, opportunity finding and consensus building for a range of organizations.
Natalie earned her B.A. from Vassar College with a double major in Anthropology and Africana Studies; an M.S. in Global Textile Marketing from Philadelphia University (USA), Shenkar College (Israel) & Reutlingen University (Germany); and a Ph.D. in Design Management from the University of Westminster, London.