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The Legendary Leaders Podcast

Dec 13, 2022

What do Design thinking and Innovation encompass? Innovation is a permanent change of state that is for the betterment of those affected by that change. On the other hand, Design thinking is about turning your empathy and curiosity into an internal desire to change something. 

In this Episode of the Legendary Leaders Podcast, we have Dean Meyers, an Innovation Facilitator, Transformational Coach, and Applied Design thinking SME. He consults, facilitates, trains and coaches with Design Thinking processes, to uncover and stimulate people’s transformative creativity. He works with Teams and Individuals on improving skills in Teamwork, building a healthy workplace, Leadership growth, emotional intelligence, and becoming adept at acquiring new skills to face the #futureofwork. 

He explains why as a Facilitator, he has to create an environment for individuals and groups to perform at a profound level of trust, in order to face ambiguity and uncertainty. 

Listen in to learn the meaning of Design thinking and the difference between creativity, innovation, and Design thinking. You will also learn the importance of employing playfulness in the creative process, through visualization and storytelling.  


This podcast is sponsored by InnerProfessional online training programs. With courses geared specifically for Legendary Leaders, InnerProfessional provides an extraordinary catalog of leadership and professional development programs unlike any online training you’ve experienced before.  

Key Takeaways: 

  • The purpose of Design thinking, is to encompass an understanding of the people you’re trying to serve.  
  • How to become a Design thinker, by turning your curiosity into an internal desire to do something different.  
  • How to remove your biases in your Design thinking process, by intentionally and purposefully serving others.  
  • How to use visualization and storytelling, to employ the elements of play in the creative process.  

Episode timeline: 

  • [1:13] Intro 
  • [6:08] Dean shares his journey in Arts and Creativity from a young age. 
  • [10:00] He describes his roles as a Professional Facilitator and Transformational Design thinking and Innovation Coach.  
  • [13:23] The meaning of innovation and the difference between innovation and disruption.  
  • [19:01] How Dean creates trust in individuals and groups to help them overcome risk aversity.  
  • [23:11] How to use empathy and curiosity to build Design thinking activities.  
  • [26:42] Why Design thinking is about improving in service to others, instead of just being creative or innovative.  
  • [31:51] Dean, on why teaching people how to use a mouse, was an innovation that required Design thinking.  
  • [37:47] The process to help you become a Design thinker, without experiencing impostor syndrome.  
  • [41:32] Dean explains what it entails to experiment and implement the process of Design thinking.  
  • [50:01] How to use play as a mindset in the creative and Design thinking process.  
  • [55:00] The training and practice elements needed to finesse the art of compelling storytelling.  


  • “The whole purpose of doing anything with a Design thinking bend, is to encompass an understanding of the people that you’re trying to provide a service to, for, and with.”- Dean Meyers [10:29] 
  • “Evolutionary change can result in innovation over time, and it can be a slow process.”- Dean Meyers [16:09] 
  • “There’s a lot of wiggle room for people to find their way into being Design thinkers and not have impostor syndrome.”- Dean Meyers [40:14] 

Find | Dean Meyers 

On LinkedIn:  
Book: The World of Visual Facilitation  
"Be Brave and Iterate": Dean Meyers Consults, Facilitates, Trains and Coaches with Design Thinking processes to uncover and stimulate people’s transformative creativity. 
He has been the Design Thinking SME in Incubators and rollouts of innovation programs, worked on IT transformational projects that move companies into DevOps, DesignOps and implementing LD programs to improve soft and tech skills in business and government, turned BD strategic planning into Design-Thinking styled Strategic Design sessions and more. 
He works with Teams and Individuals on improving skills in Teamwork, building a healthy workplace, Leadership growth, emotional intelligence, and becoming adept at acquiring new skills to face the #futureofwork. This extends into his work as a Certified Transformational Coach, working with individuals on personal transformation to be their most creative and resilient self, particularly as a visible member of the LGBTQIA+ community. 
Dean is a certified virtual facilitator, a certified LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® facilitator, former CTO and board member of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners. To share his enthusiasm and belief in the power of applying creativity and design thinking to improve the quality of individual and business intelligence, communication and decision-making abilities, he publishes online via 



About Cathleen Merkel:   

As a Thought Leader in the Mindset & (Self-) Leadership space, Cathleen supports high achieving,  
worn-out women create a more content & balanced life without sacrificing their hard-earned success. Following a simple 6 step framework, Cathleen helps you not only reconnect with your inner feminine side; but also supports you to rediscover your REAL YOU!  

Cathleen focuses on women who have lost their sense of purpose, who feel they are ‘running in a hamster wheel’, trying to please everyone but themselves. She helps you to turn your careers, your social connections and personal life around so that you will start feeling fulfilled and excited again about the days to come.  At the end of the process, Cathleen's clients will feel healthier, happier, energised and clear about their future.   

With over 15 years of Leadership experience in Retail, Media & Broadcasting, Engineering and Property Investment, Cathleen has not only experienced the challenges and opportunities of a Female Leader herself; she has also been leading and supporting various Leadership Development initiatives within large, complex, multinational matrix organisations.  

Only by deeply experiencing her very personal life challenges – ‘hitting a wall experiences’ – was Cathleen able to redefine her own purpose, deciding to bring ease and content to as many women as possible on the planet! 



Find | Cathleen Merkel 

On Instagram: @CathleenMerkel 
On Facebook: @CathleenMerkelCoaching 
On LinkedIn: @CathleenMerkel 


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