A festival to explore ideas . . .

Why is this our 2023 theme?

In this time of disruption and new possibilities, how do we respond? ODF is convening great thinkers and practitioners at all levels to explore proven, emerging, and daring design ideas that elevate the impact of organizations and their stakeholders.

Organization design skills are relevant to anyone who has ever had to organize a team, restructure a business, realign to a new strategy, or create a place where people really want to work. Bring your perspective and curiosity to our highly engaging conference format. You’ll leave with genuine connections and a new found confidence in your ability to create successful and inspiring organizations.

A welcome message from this years’ Conference Chair: Kiersten Rippeteau

Keynote Presentations

Whether it’s performance, DEI, ESG, innovation, safety or customer service, sustaining desired improvements through organization design efforts can be elusive. What’s put in place in one quarter is undone in the next. Being agile as strategies change is a good thing but so is anchoring a few desired strengths and values. In this session, we will explore together ideas about what it takes to permanently change an organization’s DNA.



For decades, leaders have recognized that organization designs are transient, often bouncing back and forth between polarities like centralization and decentralization. While this may be good from the perspective of generating business for organization design consultants, it points to a truth we would rather not discuss: much of our hard work in optimizing organizational design simply doesn’t last. When leaders use organization design as a tool to address internal politics, satisfy external stakeholders, or demonstrate that they are taking action in the face of performance challenges, they sometimes end up creating confusion about what really matters. Rather than creating sustained commitment, frequent redesign can cause people to sit back waiting for the next shakeup to occur. While designing for organizational agility has taken a front seat due to the turbulence of our times, there is also value in designing for permanence, at least in a few desired characteristics, competencies or strengths that should endure. If asked to embed these characteristics in an organization’s DNA, how would we go about it? Beyond designing in enduring strengths, our times are characterized by an urgency to address oversights that have been allowed to persist for far too long, to the point that they now threaten both the pride we feel in our society and our future existence on the planet. As leaders come under increasing pressure to address these concerns, organization designers will be challenged increasingly to invent structures, processes and arrangements to fortify and sustain our commitments to values such as DEI, ESG and ethical governance. What should our response be? Training alone, or impassioned appeals to our better angels are insufficient. In our work with ground-breaking organizations, we have come to learn that as in other areas that demand real changes in behavior to improve performance, quality or agility, a high-engagement socio-technical response is required. We think of designing values into organizations as equivalent to gene replacement therapy or changing the fundamental DNA of the organization to support desired changes in values and behavior. This session invites participants to share their ideas and experience in making organization design features permanent.


Bill is Professor of Practice at Columbia University and SVP at the Center for Creative Leadership. As a thought leader in the field of organization design and development, he has published thirty books and numerous articles, including Advanced Consulting, Leading Continuous Change, Braided Organizations, Designing Effective Organizations, Creating Strategic Change, and Research in Organizational Change and Development. As a practitioner, he has been advising leaders and designing organizations for decades. His clients have included Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Google, Slalom Consulting, Anglo American Mining, Unilever, Pepsi, Wal-Mart, BMS, United Airlines, The New York Times, Levi Strauss, Getinge, and many more. He and Jack Sherwood offered workshops on socio-technical systems design for a decade, followed by workshops with Gary Frank and others on the Fast Cycle Full Participation approach to organization design. More recently, he, Stu Winby and Chris Worley conducted research into digital transformation and offered workshops on digital organization design. Currently, he is helping to launch a Minority-owned consulting firm that will use participative design methods to address issues around DEI and organizational performance. He resides in New York with his wife, Mary and is the proud father of two professional women pursuing careers in consulting. Bill holds a BS in Aeronautical Engineering/Industrial Management and a Ph.D. in Administrative Sciences, both from Purdue University. Find out more at www.advancedchange.com

Prepare yourself and your clients for the next economy. Discover organization design through the “B” lens, which examines design choices based on an organization’s impact on workers, community, governance, environment, and customers.



Economists say the next economy is just around the corner – some say it’s already here. The next economy is one that works for the benefit of all; we’re seeing it in trends like ESG, the B Corp movement, DEI, and other shifts in the way we think about business’s role in society.

In this session, Ryan will help participants see organization design through this “B” lens to prepare their organizations for the next economy. They’ll also walk away with a more tangible understanding of the social and environmental impact of their own or their clients’ businesses. A nod to ancient economic structure will give participants insights into a bold new structure for the future.


Worker-Owner at LIFT Economy, Co-author of The B Corp Handbook and The Next Economy MBA

Along with his LIFT Economy team, Ryan has helped over 50 companies—including Patagonia, Allbirds, and Ben & Jerry’s—become Certified B Corporations and integrate principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion into their organization. He is a co-creator of the Next Economy MBA, designed to answer the question “what would a business education look like if [the economy] was completely redesigned for the benefit of all life?”

Ryan has written articles for publications like the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Huffington Post. He has been a featured speaker at SOCAP, Bioneers, Summit LA, the B Corp Champions Retreat, the Sustainable Enterprise Conference, several prestigious business schools, and many other organizations.

Within the context of a dynamic economic, social and political environment, organizations must be at the ready to change at an accelerating pace, becoming agile and nimble while optimizing for operational excellence. We will examine future trends impacting Organization Design, including emerging practices for facilitating productivity, innovation, and employee wellbeing.



Michael Arena is the chief science officer and co-founder of the Connected Commons, a research consortium that brings together business and academic thought leaders to develop and apply organizational network solutions. He is also a faculty member in Penn’s Masters in Organizational Dynamics program. Arena most recently served as the vice president of talent and development at Amazon Web Services (AWS), where he leveraged network analysis to enable employee growth, organizational culture and innovation. He was nominated to the Thinkers50 Radar class of 2020 for his work on network roles in creating adaptive organizations.

Prior to joining Amazon, Arena was the Chief Talent Officer for General Motors Corporation where he was responsible for enterprise talent management, cultural transformation, leadership development, talent acquisition and people analytics. While at GM he launched GM2020, a grass roots initiative designed to enable employees to positively disrupt the way they work, which was highlighted in Fast Company and Fortune Magazine. This initiative and others are highlighted in his best-selling book, Adaptive Space: How GM and Other Companies are Positively Disrupting Themselves and Transforming into Agile Organizations.

His research on adaptation and networks won the 2017 Walker Prize from People + Strategy and has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Harvard Business Review, and Sloan Management Review. Prior to GM, Arena spent two years as a visiting scientist with MIT’s Media Lab researching human networks. He also spent 3 years as a design thinking coach within the Stanford dSchool and served as Senior Vice President of Leadership Development at Bank of America, where he co-designed and launched the Center for Future Banking, to positively disrupt consumer banking.

Organization Design in Practice

What if you had the opportunity to design your organization from a clean sheet? Where would you start? How would you do it – in a data-led way? In this session we will discuss our latest thinking on data-led and clean-sheet design principles while bringing the concept to life with our own Accenture story.



What if you had the opportunity to design your organization from a clean sheet? Where would you start? How would you do it – in a data-led way?

In this session we will discuss our latest thinking on clean-sheet design principles. This is rooted in the idea that when designing an organization, we should start with our growth strategy and then focus on the right work that delivers against our strategy, complimented with data driven methods using workload drivers and complexity factors to arrive at a fact-based blueprint.

Our clean-sheet approach is not only future oriented in terms of concept, but also proven in terms of applicability having been implemented at various clients over recent years. We will bring this concept to life by sharing an example from our own Accenture story.


Rob Rubin is an Accenture Strategy leader focused on developing enterprise operating model strategies and designing organizations from a clean sheet to drive growth and enable productivity. Rob has led teams in advising and implementing transformational operating models for C-Level clients across a wide range of functions, industries and geographies. He is the global lead for Accenture’s Zero-Based Organization capability

Mithuna Bhatt specializes in value targeting across the enterprise with an emphasis on quantitative benchmarking and data-led organization design.

Mithuna leads teams to bring the right data and methods to solve our client’s operating model challenges. Her experience spans industries like consumer goods, life sciences, retail, resources and aerospace and defense.

Today’s workforce is increasingly fluid. Organizations can leverage seven sources of fluidity to carve out a unique approach most relevant for their given business and talent context.



Today’s workforce is increasingly fluid. Many have spoken about where people are located (say, at an office or remote) and when work is happening (at the same or different times), but fewer have broadened the perspective to consider additional sources of fluidity, including who is doing the work, what kind of work is performed, how information is shared, which skills are required, and why people are doing their work. Organizations have an opportunity to carve out a unique approach to composing their workforce, gaining competitive advantage from leveraging specific sources of fluidity most relevant for their given business and talent context. Join us for this session to explore how fluidity can be a strategic choice rather than a tactical response to plug short-term talent gaps.


Nuala Campany, Ph.D. has 25+ years of organization and talent development experience including at J&J and Qualcomm. Her experience includes leading change management to support organization transformation, mergers and acquisitions, team-based systems, Six Sigma, and lean manufacturing. She is an expert in the areas of talent management, team effectiveness, and organization design and effectiveness. Nuala has lived and worked across the globe including in the US, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, South Sudan, Algeria, Jordan, China, Japan, Singapore, and India. Nuala’s PhD is in Human and Organization Systems from Fielding Graduate University. She currently serves as an Adjunct Faculty member in the College of Business Administration at California State University San Marcos. She is the past Chair of the Organization Design Forum. Sarah Sonnenfeld (left) has led teams and advised clients at start-ups and some of the world’s most respected companies. Sarah brings tools from organization design, behavioral science, network analysis, futurism, and classic business strategy: her radar is always searching for the glimpses where the emergent becomes tangible. Before founding Alsephina Consulting, she ran the North America division of the People & Organization Practice at Boston Consulting Group. Sarah lives in Boston and holds a BA from Harvard and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth. She is an affiliate practitioner with the University of Southern California’s Center for Effective Organizations and the author of “The Zig Zag Imperative: A New Way to Think about Strategic Vision.”
Nubank is facing the massive challenges of hypergrowth, market disruption and is entering in another markets/geos. This session will cover what these major challenges were, and how we redefined Nubank’ s Operating Model to focus on a customer-centric model in the context of internationalization.


Share the Nubank case conducted in 2022 with Kates Kesler/Accenture to bring relevant insights and lessons learned in the context of redefinition of an Operating Model for a digital hypergrowth company in the process of internationalization and how to build a customer centric model. Discuss the challenges related to the decision making process in a customer centric model considering the different teams – Global Platforms, Products and Regions. Alignment between strategic horizons and future model, decision making process in a customer centric operating model and capabilities for hypergrowth companies.


18 years experience in Talent & Organization consulting at Accenture with experience in many Projects around the Globe related to Operating Model. Kates Kesler lead in Latin America. More than 25 years of experience as HR Head in Unilever, Kantar and CHRO of Nubank.
Today's organizations are unable to deal with rapid change nor to innovate consistently at scale. Worse, individuals are not engaged in their work, nor with the organizations to which they belong. We know we must dismantle organization designs and restructure for our current environment, but to date modern organization design solutions have been incomplete. In this interactive session, We will introduce the Peopletecture model, an innovative approach to architecting the organizations around humans, and you will leave with practical experience and tools on how to design an organization that improves collaboration and business performance.



Over the last 20 years working to design organizations to achieve improvements for the business and for the people, I have discovered there are three issues to how we think about design today. First, we design for machines, not around humans. Second, we design for individuals, and ignore how humans behave in groups and systems. And third, we design knowing only a small amount of information (hierarchy, sticks, boxes, jobs, compensation, targets, authority) and ignore the majority of the information (networks, trust, relationships, roles, teaming, incentives that drive behaviors, empowerment and agency). Now that we have data and insights to uncover all of the information on networks of trust, and make the previously invisible visible, we can transform work and our experience of work as humans. In this interactive session, we will introduce the Peopletecture model, an innovative approach to architecting the organizations around humans, and you will leave with practical experience and tools on how to make work better for all. We will spend 90 minutes with real cases, applying proven methods and tools, to transform the design of our organizations to get increased trust, intentional collaboration and connected silos, better teaming, a heightened sense of belonging, and improved performance.


Tiffany McDowell, PhD is a principal at Ernst and Young, LLP. She has advised dozens of CEO’s and hundreds of executives and team leaders on the topic of organization design, has published in academic and business journals innovations in the field of organizational design, and has taught the subject at multiple universities over the years. Dr. McDowell is uniquely positioned to be the authority on this topic, having bult one of the largest and most successful organization design practices in the world by bringing scientifically proven ideas together with a long and successful consulting career. Dr. McDowell focuses on delivering operating model, organization design, network analytics, decision optimization, workforce strategies, and change management solutions for large-scale transformation projects. As clients design and implement digital, agile, cost reduction, and future of work programs, she helps them with capabilities assessment, decision rights, role and accountability design, leadership development, talent planning and workforce transition. She completed her BA in Psychology at the University of British Columbia, her MBA at Simon Fraser University and her PhD in Industrial Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology.

Government organizations are infamous for their complex structures and bureaucratic processes. Learn how one municipality is working to shift internal and external belief systems regarding the necessity of a well-designed hierarchy and the benefits of a stratified accountability system.


From the outside, government organizations often appear complex, impossible-to-navigate monoliths full of cushy management jobs. We’ll pull back the curtain and peek at one municipality’s efforts to anchor its structure in organization design theory and shift the narrative, putting the pieces together to support a more positive employee and customer experience. In this session, participants will review a case study about the questions the City of Edmonton faces regarding its ‘middle management’ positions and how this set the stage for a journey to mature its approach to organization design. This workshop includes:

  • An opportunity for participants to learn from each other about how to manage expectations in the face of external pressures
  • An overview of stratified systems theory and how it can be adapted in a modern context, using it to combat the negative narrative around hierarchical structures and middle management
  • A facilitated conversation about a draft organization design maturity curve, including where participants’ organizations fit and their future evolution
  • A chance to look at and comment on organization design tools created to facilitate decision-making and a draft set of core accountabilities required of managers at different levels in a stratified structure to build horizontal and vertical alignment

Participants will engage in a world cafe and table discussions


Georgina Fairbanks has worked in a variety of strategic, operational, and human resources leadership roles. Her background in leading teams that deliver front-line service to the community drove her to transform the City of Edmonton’s HR service delivery model into one that is client-focused and data-driven. She has won multiple City Manager’s Awards of Excellence for projects related to diversity & inclusion, occupational health & safety and workforce optimization. Georgina currently leads the City’s HR Strategic Services team, which provides strategic support and advice to senior leaders across the organization.

Originally hailing from across the pond, Georgina now lives just outside of Edmonton, Alberta and holds a BSc in geography and education with certifications in change management and project management. She led the creation of the City’s organizational design dashboard, a data integration and visualization tool that complements the City’s Organizational Design Framework

Pam Sharpe worked in the private and not-for-profit sectors before shifting into government roles, working at both the provincial and municipal levels. A communications and change management professional, Pam’s always had a passion for enabling a positive employee experience for the people who deliver critical frontline services. She currently leads the organization development team at the City of Edmonton, which supports improved team effectiveness across the organization’s 70 service lines. She won a City Manager’s Award of Excellence for her role as project manager developing the foundation of the City’s respectful workplace program.

Pam lives in Edmonton, Alberta and holds a BA in Communications with certifications in organization development, project management and change management. She led the development of an Organization Design Framework to guide the City’s work in this space, and works in tandem with Georgina’s team on organization design projects.

We will explore how cultural and digital transformation laid the foundation to create a rapidly reconfigurable, agile organization that is nested within the hierarchy of the largest university in the US.


“Arizona State University has been named the most innovative university in the US for eight years in a row. In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, Enterprise Technology (ET) at ASU began the journey of transforming from a traditional unit that was largely seen as a utility for the university to the strategic partner that it is today. In addition to transforming the organization’s culture and leading digital transformation across the ASU Public Enterprise, ET changed the way work is done by creating an agile organizational structure.

In this highly interactive session, participants will learn how the Strategic Collaboration framework for change guided much of the transformational journey at ASU. They will engage in the first two practices of Strategic Collaboration – Radical Appreciation and Disruptive Inquiry – to collectively discover the essential elements for transformative change at scale and the challenges and gifts along the way.”


Christine Whitney Sanchez is the Chief Culture Officer for Enterprise Technology at Arizona State University and President of Innovation Partners International of the
Southwest LLC. She’s a social entrepreneur, consultant, coach, and architect of large-scale transformation. She has worked across five continents to build the capacity for mindful leadership, strategic collaboration and thriving organizations and communities.

Known around the world as a pioneer in blending collaborative methods and mindful practices to engage groups of 10 to 10,000, Christine has trained thousands of consultants and change leaders in strength-based approaches to leadership and organization development.

Integrating her expertise as a psychotherapist into her work as a higher education executive, consultant, professor, and coach, Christine has guided tens of thousands of stakeholders to dissolve barriers to communication, resolve thorny issues and generate new opportunities. Taking a holistic approach to change, she engages the whole system to build on strengths, disrupt the status quo, envision a desired future and create the conditions for success. She has facilitated some of the largest intergenerational conversations in the world. And that is what brings her joy.

She has a BA in Sociology from the University of Hawaii and a Master of Counseling degree from Arizona State University. She has been on faculty at Arizona State University where she taught leadership and at Claremont Lincoln University when she taught mindfulness.”

Join us at
Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square

220 South 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

in city center Philadelphia, PA

Conference Rates  – $215/nt + tax
(based on availability thru 3/31/23)
reserve online or
call M-F 9 AM to 5 PM
(215) 790-7787 and reference ODF

On-site Parking $50/nt
Property is 9 miles from Philadelphia Int’l Airport

SEPTA Rail from inside PHI terminals | $7
(4-5 min walk after exit at Suburban Station)

Appreciation for our Community Sponsors

ODF is a non-profit organization grateful to the generous sponsorship and support of leading organizations in the design community.

Accenture’s Talent & Organization (T&O) / Human Potential practice helps shape the organization and workforce agenda for our clients. As a part of our global portfolio, we have a robust operating model and org design offering that has been super charged with the inclusion of Kates Kesler. Together, we help our clients align their strategy and operating model to stay competitive and grow beyond traditional core business.


Visit our T&O/Human Potential practice, our Operating Model offering and our new org design book Network, Scaled and Agile.

ON THE MARK is a global organization design consultancy that partners with business leaders to modernize operating models and build value through real, sustainable change. Every organization we collaborate with receives a unique, tailored approach to problem-solving and business transformation from our experienced consultants.

We know through experience and science that HOW something is done is as important, if not more important than WHAT is done. Visit our site to learn how to transform your business.