Dr. Carlos Osorio

Guest Speaker

Innovation, Future-Proofing

Areas of Expertise

Synthesis  •  Human Potential  •  Future of Learning  •  Entrepreneurship  •  Disruption  •  Design Thinking  •  Convergence  •  Corporate Innovation

About Carlos

Carlos Osorio is cofounder and partner at Yuken, a global design and innovation capability-building impact research lab, and visiting professor of innovation at Deusto Business School (Spain). He has been International Faculty Fellow at MIT School of Management, faculty associate at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center, visiting research scientist at MIT Medialab, and visiting lecturer at Amsterdam Business School.

Between 2007 and 2017, he was associate professor and headed the innovation and entrepreneurship department at Universidad Adolfo Ibañez (UAI) in Chile. He founded UAI’s Master in Innovation, and led it to be ranked third in the World by Innovation Management (Sweden). In 2014, Carlos was featured by AACSB and BizEd Magazine (UK) among the World’s leading faculty on enabling innovation learning and building autonomous innovation teams.

His research and teaching focus on innovation processes and methods for building innovation capabilities in high-complexity environments. The emphasis of his work has been on (i) understanding the processes, methods and techniques used by the most innovative teams in the World, (ii) experimenting on ways for effectively enabling learning of those processes, and (iii) synthesizing and developing new methods for training autonomous high-performance innovation teams.

Since 2013, Yuken has carried out action learning workshops and experiments with more than 6,000 practitioners in fifteen countries in order to discover better ways for innovation and design capability building. As result, Carlos and Yuken cofounder, Maria Renard, developed their “Methods for Enabling Innovation Learning”, which received the 2015 Wharton QS Reimagine Education Award for best innovation in teaching delivery.

Carlos has advised governments and worked with companies on innovation strategy, processes and culture, including various Fortune 100 firms. His industry experience on innovation includes pharmaceuticals, insurance, energy, telecommunications, forestry, logistics, banking, fine wines, and mining. He has been invited speaker by universities, firms and multilateral organizations in the United States, Europe, and Latin America, such as The Academy of Management, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, Google, Microsoft, AON, Abbott Laboratories, eMerge Americas Conference, Latam Airlines, Markle Foundation, Oxford Internet Institute, Movistar, Bancolombia, Familia Group to name a few.

Carlos holds a PhD in Technology, Management and Policy, and a MS in Technology and Policy from MIT Engineering Systems Division, a Master in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Chile. He was recipient of both a Fulbright and Marie Curie fellowship. Carlos is fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese.

Speaking Topics

  • Behavioral innovation

    Innovation is a social phenomenon for creating better futures through technological advancement. This talk focuses on how to enable teams to innovate in consistent and predictable manners. It is based on current developments of cognitive psychology, design and development processes, and results from experimental research with nearly 7,000 members of innovation teams across 20 countries. It explores the role of professional, personal, and psychological traits in team dynamics under risk, uncertainty and ambiguity for 26 common innovation tasks. It provides insights for unlocking the potential of soft skills for shaping a team’s technical performance, and presents structured ways for governing the behavioral variables that define our ability to innovate in almost anything.

  • Complexity, risk and innovation: how much of each?

    This talk examines the large number of variables affecting innovation performance at the strategic, procedural and behavioral levels. It disentangles the effect of risk and complexity on the natural uncertainty, volatility and ambiguity of discovery-driven journeys. Here we show how the overall effect of risk has been overestimated, complexity has been neglected, and how system, dynamics and non-linear thinking are necessary for managing innovation in times of exponential technologies.

  • Debiasing your innovation model

    Debiasing your innovation model: All innovation strategy frameworks, methods or processes are metaphors about what an organization or team “should do” in order to succeed. Metaphors, however, are abstractions of reality that hide biases and assumptions, and are supposed to work in “certain” situations. In this talk we examine a synthesis of the hidden biases across 30 different types of innovation, design and development processes, explore their risks, and explains how to combine them for taking advantage of their strengths and offsetting their limitations.

  • Digital strategy and transformation in the age of digital disruption

    Digital transformation has become too digital and not as transformative enough. In this talk, we propose how to unleash the potential of the dynamics among disruption strategies, organizational and cultural assets, mindsets to generate disruptive change based on digital technologies. Participants will get a blueprint for how to design and execute a disruption-oriented navigation-map that is focused on high-impact challenges and grounded on tangible and intangible assets.

  • Discovery-driven planning

    Discovery-driven planning focuses on executing in highly volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous and risky (VUCAR) contexts. It presents methods for better understanding information in such environments, and how to use and synthesize that information for planning, designing and executing better futures. These methods combine approaches from cognitive sciences, design, engineering, learning and management. (Also as workshop)

  • Enabling innovation learning: design processes, routines, cognition and emotions

    Innovation capabilities are largely considered a result from the dynamics between creative and technical performance. This research is based on extensive review of the literature on innovation and design performance across disciplines, the study of 29 different types of processes, and experiments for exploring the relationships among (i) processes, methods and tools, (ii) decision-making under uncertainty, (iii) relevance of mindsets and attitudes, and (iv) role of cognitive, and (v) emotional powers for performing under highly uncertain, risky and ambiguous environments. Results show that, while processes, methods and tools are necessary and can make a difference between most and least successful teams; the most relevant aspects are the activation of people’s cognitive and emotional powers during highly risky, ambiguous and uncertain environments.

  • How to innovate in (almost) anything?

    Here we explore the commonalities among most successful and failed innovation projects, as well as differences between success and failure. Based on ten years of research in processes, methods, decision-making, cognition, emotional resilience and learning, we present a synthesis of the minimum necessary attitudes, steps, decision-making debiasing mechanisms for designing the future.

  • Innovation, cognition and the emotional rollercoaster

    Innovation performance has strongly been framed as resulting from choosing superior methods and processes, over incomplete or biased ones. This talk explains the role of cognition and emotions on a teams’ technical performance, based on experimental research with nearly 1,900 members of innovation and design teams across 20 countries between 2014-2018. It provides strategies and policies for team formation, leadership, motivation, exponential cognition, and cultivating intangible assets.

  • Methods for enabling innovation learning

    “Teaching” innovation does not always lead to “learning” to innovate. Most approaches from design, management and engineering focus on the necessary methods and processes. This talk focuses on the mediating techniques, assessment methods, and learning dynamics that trigger meaningful learning during discovery-driven journeys. The talk combines discoveries from psychology, learning and cognitive sciences, and unveils the secrets that led us to receive the 2015 QS Wharton Reimagine Education Award for Best Innovation in Teaching Delivery for our “Methods for enabling innovation learning”.

  • Organizational future-proofing

    Organizational future-proofing: the role of emotions, cognition and technology. If we aim to design and change the future for the better, we need to care for not creating new and unsolvable problems. This talk presents the concept of future-proofing, and explains the role of cognitive and emotional responses in solving and creating problems and shaping organizational outcome. Looking at the future, we explain how exponential technologies help enhancing our cognitive capabilities for enabling exponential cognition and designing better futures.

  • Reinventing Corporate Innovation

    Innovation happens in volatile, uncertain, risky, and ambiguous environments. Recent research shows that part of this environment comes from within organizations, but due to the large number of interacting variables is mistakenly associated to external factors. This talk highlights the dimensions and variables affecting innovation performance at the strategic, project and personal levels. We present guidelines for refining your innovation strategy, enhancing the performance of various innovation dimensions in order to propel them to higher levels.

  • The Art of Failing

    The Art of Failing is about how to leverage the power of experimentation and failure, and harness their learning potential for designing better futures. Not all failures are created equal, not all teams embrace them positively, and the combination is not always fruitful. The talk presents guidelines for distinguishing between “good” and “bad” failures through discovery-driven journeys; strategies for preparing to fail; methods for doing it as good, soon, fast, cheap and frequently as possible; and approaches for managing team dynamics in order to maximize the business and learning potential of failures.

  • The (un)certainties of creating the future

    The (un)certainties of creating the future (or 118 ways to be wrong). How can we recognize the new if we haven’t seen it? This talk focuses on learning and minimizing the effect of the nearly 200 types of cognitive biases that affect our thinking and perception of “venture reality”, decision-making and actions during innovation and design. Participants will have first-hand experience on how memory errors, beliefs, social, behavioral, and decision-making biases affect their decision-making driving right (and wrong) courses of action. We present proven “debiasing” techniques for exponential thinking and decision-making that can be embedded in any development process for designing the future.

  • Unleashing the power of complexity, risk and uncertainty

    High-risk ventures promise greater rewards and high uncertainty leads to more diverse design spaces. Yet, most teams focus on diminishing risk and uncertainty instead of embracing them. This talk focuses on methods for leveraging the potential of amplifying risk, uncertainty and ambiguity along innovation projects, while mitigating their organizational negative impact. We present approaches to separate lack of preparation, recklessness and “bad luck”, and lessons for better performing in complex, risky and uncertain environments.

  • Unlocking the power of diversity and collaboration

    While diversity, collaboration and performance are closely linked; they are often misunderstood and mismanaged. This talk explores diversity and heterogeneity beyond race, gender, technical background and nationality, by the including invisible variables that trigger our most basic reactions. The research is based on experiments with nearly 2,000 members of innovation teams across various nations, performance assessment, and analysis of different technical, psychological, cultural and personality variables. It exposes good and not-so-good approaches for understanding and managing diversity when trying to foster collaboration on innovation teams, and presents methods and prescriptions for improving team performance.

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