General Thinker Profile


Nominated by:

GK VanPatter
SenseMaker, Author, Advisor, CoFounder
New York, United States

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Tim Sweeney

Innovation Consultant and Founding Partner | Upstream Thinking

Austin, United States

"Criticize by creating"

Generally thinking:

Business, Work & Strategy
Technology & The Future
Global Issues
Creativity & Design

My tags:

Brand StrategyCommunityCultureDigital MediaEntrepreneurshipGraphic DesignHealthMarketingProduct DesignPsychologyTechnology

Very good at:
+ simplifying complexity
+ aligning diverse stakeholders to the 'best' direction
+ facilitating the development of solutions for big business and social problems

About me & my work:

I am an experience designer, researcher, facilitator and sense maker that's worked in the front-end innovation space for nearly 20 years. I excel at structuring and leading cross-functional innovation initiatives at the intersection of business, organizational culture, information and design.

I co-founded Upstream to help businesses and philanthropies strategically respond to the market need for systemic solutions that help people navigate their journey to fulfilling needs and desires. At Upstream, I specialize in understanding and visualizing multi-stakeholder supply and demand experiences in a way that they can be quickly understood and redesigned. My work shifts organizational perspective and facilitates cross-silo collaboration.

Philosophically, I embrace constant change, approach business outside-in rather than inside-out, and iterate from tomorrow-backward rather than today-forward. I believe the definition of product has evolved to encompass the total customer experience. I love to work with organizations that are people focused, vision led and demonstrate a desire to learn. I'm driven by roles and projects with the potential to improve society.

I’ve been humbled to speak at corporate innovation events at organizations such as Stryker and Colgate, as well as leading graduate programs such as IE Business School in Madrid and the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas. I also serve as Creativity and Innovation Adviser to the Moody College of Business at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. My work has been recognized by several international innovation awards and over 20 patents. More importantly, it has resulted in best-selling products and services in a number of consumer and B2B markets.

As a founding partner at Upstream, I have helped leaders drive impact across extremely diverse categories. Below is a sample:

Healthcare Device Leader: Opened the market from early adopters to majority by shifting the core value proposition of offering

Environmental Lighting Leader: Achieved record revenue growth by transitioning offering from product to solution

IT Infrastructure Leader: Increased adoption of offering by redesigning the onboarding and support strategy

Footwear Fashion Leader: Opened new market by repositioning brand and creating a new footwear category

Wireless Communications Leader: Drove nearly $1B in new business by opening a new market and defining industry standard solution

Consumer Goods Leader: Provided structure to integrate design thinking across the organization to increase breakthrough innovation rates by facilitating a senior leadership workshop

Media Publishing Leader: Currently working to increase brand relevance by redefining the value proposition while resolving organizational barriers to deliver it

Philanthropy Leader focused on Global Issues: Currently working to increase demand and streamline delivery of a service proven to reduce the spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa

My links:

Upstream Thinking | Demystifying People-Centric Innovation (my business website)


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