Karel Vredenburg

Director, IBM Global Design Leadership, Culture, & External Engagement, IBM


Karel Vredenburg has led design worldwide at IBM for most of his three decades with the company. For the past eight years reporting to GM of Design, Phil Gilbert, Karel introduced IBM’s new design system including Enterprise Design Thinking to each of the business units of the company globally and to hundreds of other companies. He is currently responsible for IBM’s global design leadership teams and programs, the company’s internal design culture, and the design organization’s social media and external engagement and academic programs. Karel also serves as the head of IBM Studios Canada, is the IBM Innovation Corps executive for Canada, and is Industry Professor at McMaster University. He is also the co-founder with Don Norman of the Future of Design Education initiative. He blogs on design, technology, and optimizing the human experience at karelvredenburg.com and transformed his within company mentoring into a popular podcast "Life Habits Mentoring" which is available on all podcast apps. He did undergraduate, masters, and doctoral studies at the University of Toronto initially in cognitive science and clinical psychology which later led to research, specialization, and his life-long passion for, practice of, and leadership in design. Karel is based in Toronto, Canada.

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