Courtney Savie Lawrence is a connector by nature who thrives by working with others to bring system changing and meaningful initiatives to life- especially with a focus on inclusive innovation strategy, systemic and circular design for sustainable economic development. In the past 15 years she has lived, worked and traveled across more than 70 countries in pursuit of positive social and environmental impact using design and participatory based approaches to shifting systems. She is the cofounder and project lead for The Circular Design Lab based in Bangkok, Thailand and has worked with the UNDP Asia Pacific Regional Innovation Centre as Head of Exploration. In the past 10 years she has also formally co-founded two social enterprises and has worked in and among large scale organizations like Ashoka, the United Nations and collaborated with global academic centers such as MIT's D-lab and Stanford's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. For the past 8 years she has been Asia-based working in the social impact sector as an entrepreneur, consultant, university lecturer and co-founder of DSIL Global. You can catch her on twitter @cocosavie, Medium or LinkedIn. Courtney is a current RSA and Cordes (Opportunity Collaboration) Fellow, and recently a Vital Voices Global Fellow, and Social Entrepreneur Fellow of the Amsterdam based THNK School of Creative Leadership. She also volunteers her time as an advisory board member to the Frontier Innovators DFAT program. Since 2016 she has also worked with the MIT International Development Design Summits, by co-leading in the Colombia, Thailand and Australia programs. Other highlights include founding the Japan based ‘Global Studies, Peace and Leadership Summer Seminar' series - integrating virtual and fieldwork among participants from more than 40 countries to India, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines. From 2006-2014 she also served on the Executive Committee of the of the Swiss-based NGO, World Alliance of YMCAs as a global representative of the North America region. Previous to co-founding a US social enterprise dedicated to creating a hub for closed loop systems and sustainability entrepreneurs, she worked with Ashoka's Full Economic Citizenship initiative in the Washington, D.C. Since 2002 she has logged in thousands of hours leading and facilitating classes, workshops and trainings across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, North and South America. She holds a Masters in Responsible Management and Sustainable Economic Development from the United Nations University for Peace, in Costa Rica, and a Bachelors in Political Science, International Relations from the College of Charleston; with one year spent abroad in South Africa, at the University of Stellenbosch. 'Ubuntu' is a life guiding philosophy that connects her passion with her purpose. See more alumni and affiliation networks here.
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Skills and Experience at a Glance
CV available upon request
Systems Innovation, Impact and Intelligence | Cofounder of the Thailand based open innovation platform Circular Design Lab; coleading systems change initiatives focused on circular economy futures among public, private and social sector (2018 - ongoing) in a fully voluntary capacity; recent ‘Head of Exploration’ for the UNDP Asia Pacific Regional Innovation Centre with expertise in strategic innovation, participatory research, horizon scanning, foresight, trends analysis, applied systems design and innovation community moderation and facilitation (2019-2020).
Executive Management | Founding CEO of DSIL Global and initiated the United Nations University for Peace, Centre for Executive Education Field and Virtual course ‘Designing for Social Innovation and Leadership’ (2014-2017); Scaled from pilot to Singapore based social innovation company four-fold in 18 months with founding team; attracted nearly 1000 applications from over 150 countries. Co-founder of a circular economy sustainable economic development enterprise (2011) based in Nashville, Tennessee, USA after raising USD$250K (in-kind within 3 months of launching concept) and securing a 10-year land lease (valued at USD 1M+) agreement from a philanthropist. Recruited and managed 30 member executive advisory board and scaled online knowledge and communications management forum for staff and advisors using custom built cloud based technology. Leveraged previous experience at Ashoka Washington, DC Global Headquarters for integrating scale, impact and systems change strategy.
Academia and Fellowships | MIT International Development Design Summit Co-lead, for rural Thailand; co-managed the full project cycle from pitch for investment to implementation to evaluation; raised USD 60k+ funding, designed and delivered the 2017 IDDS Sisaket program from front to end- a summit that included 250+ local Thai community members, 40+ international summit participants and design leads across three weeks of 6 design team cycles. Colead and project managed the multi-stakeholder 2016 HELIO (Human Ecology Lab and Island Odyssey) program initiated to reform and redesign the Higher Education system in Japan while exploring the economic development opportunities to the declining Seto Inland Sea community. Program included 30+ local Japanese community members, 20+ international program participants across two weeks of 5 design team cycles. Current RSA and Vital Voices Fellow; previous Thammasat University Foreign Expert Faculty at the School of Global Studies and Social Entrepreneurship and invited researcher at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, d.school (2014).
Cross Cultural Leadership | Eight years of experience working across Asia including field based work in Japan, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Sri Lanka; virtual systems transformation work with Bhutan and Mongolia.; fifteen years of experience designing and implementing hybrid virtual and offline innovation initiatives in academia, nonprofit and corporate arenas; including monitoring and impact evaluations and formal trainings in addition to coordination of trainings and conferences with teams throughout the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Europe and the United States; Worked and traveled across over 70 countries.
What I've Done
What I Do
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