Carlyn James

Executive Director, ThinkPlace Global Development

Carlyn is driven by understanding the priorities of others and finding locally-relevant, design-led solutions to complex challenges. She is an experienced designer and researcher, and has worked across East and West Africa in post-disaster and socio-economic development contexts.

As a cultural anthropologist now working in design and innovation, Carlyn brings an authentically human-centred and holistic perspective to her work.

In her time at ThinkPlace, Carlyn has worked on a variety of product and service design, user experience design, and strategy design projects to help close the gap between user needs and well-designed experiences that meet those needs.

Carlyn served as the Curator/Editor for ThinkPlace’s flagship book on design-led innovation: ThinkPlace Design System. She is passionate about design education and capability building, and has led design thinking workshops for the public service in Singapore, graduate and post-professional students across Harvard University, and social enterprise leaders in Boston.

Carlyn is a published academic writer and has recently completed her graduate degree at the Harvard School of Design, where her thesis focused on applying systems thinking and complexity theory to measuring impact in humanitarian and development programs. Carlyn is also ThinkPlace’s Global Lead for impact measurement, developing and managing a new internal capability for innovatively measuring impact.

Work and thoughts

Designing to increase self-testing for HIV in Côte D’Ivoire
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