Jan Schmiedgen (M.A.)

Partner, Innovation Strategist

Jan is an educator, innovation strategist and founding partner at co:dify. He loves to understand complex systems and make them manageable so that the new can enter the world without politics and productive friction only.

“Bad managers change the people. Good managers change the system.”

If we were to characterize Jan in one sentence then like this: intellectual curiosity paired with the strong need for independence. Before he co-founded co:dify in 2018, he wore several hats — all related to design, digitalization and innovation. He ran dozens of trainings on innovation and design thinking across Europe; he taught at a variety of universities; he was a research fellow at HPI Potsdam’s HPDTRP Program from 2014 to 2020 where amongst others he was the lead author of the design thinking adaptation and adoption study “Parts Without a Whole”. During this time he also created the site ThisIsDesignThinking.net, a Design Thinking case study collection, which he still helps co-curating. In the years before that, he worked with Berlin startups on topics like service design, business model innovation and strategy. And even before that, he ran a design studio in the early 2000s, which he co-founded directly after graduating from high school. There he honed his basic craft interaction design, by developing websites, applications and digital tools, amongst others with old-school authoring platforms like Adobe Flash and Director [sic].

Today, both this “having-seen-many-things” life path and his design craft background help him to better support teams and organizations meet the challenges of digitalization and innovation with real 21st-century approaches. He knows how the crunch feels of really building digital products and services. And even though he is not building much himself anymore, he now advises on how to create the right environments for builders to unleash their full potential and work close to the customer.

In his dual role as an advisor at co:dify and organizational researcher at heart, he today loves to shape but also examine large-scale ‘change-by-design-for-innovation’ transformations. Both give him first-hand insights into failed as well as successful ‘transformation programs’, which he loves to collect, systematize, and regularly share with students and industry leaders at keynotes, conferences, or university courses. Such permanent oscillation between academia and practice also significantly informs his consulting work.

Recent Publications

Schmiedgen, J., Rhinow, H., Köppen, E., & Meinel, C. (2015). Parts Without a Whole? – The Current State of Design Thinking Practice in Organizations (Study Report No. 97; Technische Berichte, p. 144). Hasso-Plattner-Institut für Softwaresystemtechnik an der Universität Potsdam. http://thisisdesignthinking.net/why-this-site/the-study/

Schmiedgen, J., Spille, L., Köppen, E., Rhinow, H., & Meinel, C. (2016). Measuring the Impact of Design Thinking. In H. Plattner, C. Meinel, & L. Leifer (Eds.), Design Thinking Research (pp. 157–170). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-19641-1_11

Recent Writings

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