Andy Van Solkema looking left

Founder of Award Winning Design Firm (Acquired)

Creative Driven Executive Tech Leader

Advisor through multiple acquisitions

Entrepreneur in Residence

Fractional Executive

Business School Faculty

Investor & Entrepreneur

BFA Graphic Design, Grand Valley State

MDes Design Leadership, Kendall College

Business Model Innovation, University of Penn

See. Act. Lead.

I’m an optimist. I seek opportunity and connect the possibilities of the changing world. Analysis of who you are as a company. helping you leverage your strengths in new ways towards new opportunities.

I ask questions. This is strategically placed near optimist, as I believe asking questions in a tone of "appreciative inquiry" shapes the tone and the quality of the answers. Stay curious.

I’m a catalyst. I create momentum through clarifying the path, enabling communication and new experiences for your company or organization.

I’m a creator. I tell stories visually, prompting experimentation, piloting and creating proof of value in the form of strategies, business model tests, service digital products.

I’m relational. I enjoy people and believe in them. Often I see projects or initiatives fail not due to ability or aptitude, but the environment they are set up in. By working collaboratively and systemically I strive to deepen relationships by creating trust, clarity and achieving goals together.

I'm a leader. Not by telling but by doing, by building vision, belief and cohesion towards what can be done. I jump in, and stand back when I lead, and there is a reason and time for both.

I’m an innovator/entrepenuer. I develop new product, service and business concepts from emerging behavioral and market forces. I adhere to Clayton Christensen's philosophies of Innovation and employ that thinking in change and invention efforts. I also invest time and capital in businesses and people I believe in.

I’m a connector of dots. I see in systems and work to visualize those systems to create understanding. I believe with a unified understanding and clarity on next steps, people can accomplish amazing things personally and as teams.

I’m a teacher. I teach professionally but it is also a part of who I am. I believe that curiosity and creativity is an attribute of human nature. I help people to see the systemic and behavioral aspects through their learning journey then find their unique form of creating.

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Orders of Design, Understanding Complexity

The nature of system imbedded in systems and behaviors and motivations of people is the source of much complexity. However, when we consider how quickly the world is changing the complexity grows exponentially. The ability to understand and frame problems is crucial in navigating, applying then oscillating between all levels of system problems (and opportunities).

The diagram to the left, originated as “The Four Orders of Design” and with the application of Design Thinking, Innovation Management and Agile Principals has since expanded to include Culture and Market Disruption within the scope of Design and Innovation.

The concept of Four (or Six) Orders of Design also correctly illustrates my career path from Graphic Designer through product, service, business model and leadership functions.

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Career Bio

I’ve been designing professionally for 25 years, yet the nature of my work has evolved and “what” I design has changed, but how I fulfill my own curious appetite has not. Systems, people and possibilities to create new value are still at the core of my work.

Through my growth and evolution I have synthesized my unique skills down to consultant, creator, entrepreneur and coach. I help Growth initiatives through opportunities and experiences to create momentum and building creative organization and leadership skills. Likewise for Value focused Initiatives I help positioning, launch and create experiences for differentiated value.  My work primarily centers around successful Start-ups, Creative teams, Corporate Innovation, and Higher Ed initiatives. I also actively invests in people and business I believe will thrive in the next economy.

I currently serve as Entrepreneur-In-Residence for Michigan State’s Spartan Innovations (MSU Innovation Center), GVSU’s Commercialization Office as well as advisor to Vation Ventures and High Alpha Innovation (Venture Capital). I help shape the minds of tomorrow’s business leaders serving as adjunct faculty for the Seidman Graduate School of Business at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). I’m honored to be a founding member of The Right Place Economic Development Technology Council (Grand Rapids, MI) where we work to drive sustainable economic growth and move the Greater Grand Rapids region forward as the most resilient, productive, and equitable regional economy in the nation.

Prior to consulting, I led the vision, strategy, design, and change initiatives for Open Systems Technologies (OST), where I served as Vice President of Digital Strategy & Experience. OST acquired my design firm, Visualhero Design, where I successfully led and built a team of twenty. We focused on using design as a catalyst for change through the integration of technologies with impact through the design of experiences and new business models.

I hold an undergraduate degree from Grand Valley State University, a Master of Design from Kendall College of Art and Design and a Business Model Innovation Executive GMP Certificate from Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania.

Andy Van Solkema signature
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My continued growth follows Leadership Agility Model

Curiosity drives growth. Growth and learning new things creates agility and informs my growth path as a Father, Husband, Son, Friend and Colleague.

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Copyright 2023 Andy Van Solkema & AV/2