Introduction to Diana Stafie for the Design Thinking Forum, September 2019 in Bucharest

In this time of uncertainty, are there companies with exponential evolution? Diana’s presentation will focus on some remarkable positive examples. Diana Parfeni co-founded Future Station, a company specialized in trends scanning, foresight and innovation consultancy. She is a certified Strategic Futures Analysis practitioner and a Global Ambassador in the Scanning Network from Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies. We are looking for her presentation at Design Thinking Forum in Bucharest, 19th.

Lars Lin & Diana Stafie: On Design Thinking and Exponential growth

Lars is a serial entrepreneur and VP Certification & Learning at OpenExO, a community with over 1500 experts, launched at the initiative of Salim Ismail (ex-Founding Director at Singularity University and best-selling business books co-author on “Exponential Organizations” and “Exponential Transformation”). Diana is the co-founder of, encouraging companies to explore future scenarios of their industries and businesses, helping them to understand trends, imagine and get ready for the future. Both Lars and Diana are Coaches specialized in organizational transformation programs, using the ExO Model. Visa, HP, Airbus, Gucci, Stanley Black & Decker, Unilever, INTERproteccion or Bitdefender are just some of the companies that have gone through ExO Sprints. INTERproteccion is an insurance company in Mexico that was among the first organizations to undergo a transformation process based on the ExO Model. According to INTERproteccion CEO, the application of the method has been a major contributor to doubling revenues and tripling profits over the next 3 years.

On September 19th, at the Design Thinking Forum, Diana and Lars will talk about the fundamentals of Exponential Organizations, this new breed of organizations that manage to scale as fast as exponential technologies do.

  1. How do you define Design Thinking?

Lars Lin: Design Thinking is primarily a way of systematically approaching a problem. By applying the principles of Design Thinking, an opportune and safe space for empathy and experimentation is created. Thus, innovative and relevant solutions are generated, at organizational level. Design Thinking is one of the approaches used intensively in ExO Sprints.

  1. What’s your message for the companies still reluctant to Design Thinking? Why should they use it and what is the expected result?

Lars Lin: Design Thinking helps organizations empathize with customer frictions / emerging expectations and subsequently, invest time and resources into generating ideas that can innovatively address them. The ExO model offers the perfect space for applying the Design Thinking principles. An ExO Sprints starts by identifying global challenges, relevant trends and frictions showing up in the interaction with the client.

Diana Stafie: Organizations should first fall in love with the problems to be solved, and then with their own ideas or solutions. The ExO model helps organizations explore transformational solutions for both their core business, but especially for creating disruptive business models at the edge of the organisation. Let’s think about the accommodation industry: while the hotel chains mainly focused on the competition with their peers and less on the exponential technologies and the shift in consumers’ preferences towards sharing economy, AirBnB has come with a new approach and a new business model on the market and grew exponentially.

  1. An anecdote from your early years, announcing your career evolution:

Lars Lin: I started my career as systems engineer at Ericsson. I like to remember a sunny summer day when my sales team colleagues were unavailable for a meeting with a client. I had to attend alongside the engineers in the technical team. Although I was pretty nervous, that first meeting proved to be a game changing experience in my career. I really enjoyed the experience and month later I was already part of the sales team.

Diana Stafie: It was very difficult for me to have an answer to that classical question: “What are you gonna be when you grow up”. By the end of my high school years I couldn’t decide what I truly liked, so I went to two different Universities. I followed this double specialisation and loved equally all disciplines, as diverse as they were. After graduation, I joined a Big4 consultancy company and built my expertise in several other areas. Along this process, I never really felt at ease, having the certainty that I eventually found my place. Later I realized that my inner engine was thriving for curiosity, future and structures yet to be discovered. Today, I have a business where I explore new worlds every day.

  1. What’s the essence of your presentation at Design Thinking Forum 2019, in a nutshell?

Lars Lin & Diana Stafie: During our presentation at Design Thinking Forum we will focus on attributes that define an Exponential Organization, how we can build companies that are both human and technology centered and we will give details about the ExO Model, applied by our clients, on real business challenges.


As seen in “Jurnalul de Afaceri”, Design Thinking Forum Media Partner in 2019