A Forum for Innovation

What people are saying about Career Assessments

Hi All,
I want to share what people are saying about our conversations about work:

Thank you so much for our call last week. I really enjoyed our conversation! I left our call energized about the possibilities of exploring OD + design strategy and the application of that skill-set to social innovation/entrepreneurship and the world beyond traditional product. I was also thrilled to learn more about what’s happening in that realm in the design industry.

And I’d love to learn more about how someone like me could contribute to (client’s name)) design and innovation process. I was moved by the strong social component of (client’s name’s) mission and that it sounds like they’re actively understanding people’s needs around the world. I also loved the idea of (client’s name) group. What I’ve read so far sounds very intriguing and like they are tackling a new business model for entrepreneurship. Both are very inspiring ideas and help me bring some form to the blurry future. Thank you again for your time and encouragement.– Innovation Strategist and Organizational Design Executive

You see the quality of the person, what is unique in them and this is the coaching piece of what you are doing. Helping people to use this quality and packaging of their background for something completely different. This is really interesting. I have been in the user experience design field for 20 years and innovation in this area is not really great. I have the feeling I am using today all the things I learned 10 years ago. I am using the same models and processes I built then. For many people it is new but for me and my colleagues we are tired of being asked to keep doing the same thing. It is not really innovative for me anymore. I want to think of what I know and what I could do. I am wondering what I could do that would be different for me while using all my skills. This is very valuable. People are fed up about doing always the same –Creative Executive

Your assessment was incredibly valuable. I have worked with design innovation firms and only now understand design thinking as well as how to position myself for the next wave of innovative marketing. –CMO start-ups

The Open Colony assessment is an exercise I can highly recommend. Caitlin’s thorough methodology, her thought provoking questions and her inquisitive nature enable you to do some real soul searching. Not only does her approach get you to define what you are good at, for example through her T-shaped skills report, it forces you to search deep down as to what you really want to achieve in your career and beyond. She had some particularly poignant observations that helped put the spotlight on things I had done and should perhaps reconsider looking into again — for example an e-commerce component to an idea I had. The process also helped me iterate which part of my career in marketing and advertising I enjoy most, what my definition is of great work is, where I feel the industry is going and most importantly where I believe the opportunity lies. An interesting outcome of this process was that it made me realize I was open to roles I might not initially have considered.
–CEO and Marketing/Advertising Executive

I think the whole exercise was thought-provoking! My suspicion is most people do not really get a chance to think deeply about their work in that way – it tends to be more ad hoc conversations here and there with colleagues, friends, and family. But most interesting to me were: discussions about horizontals (i.e., what does it really mean to have breadth beyond depth, i.e., what does the top part of the T really mean?) and discussions about weaknesses (mainly because most people don’t really like thinking about weaknesses too much, I think).–Strategy Executive

In fact I have been asking other recruiters for,  different career tracks and frameworks for a variety opportunities and not getting anything helpful. I say, “this is who I am where should I be looking?” I want you to tell me what is out there. –Management Consultant and Design Executive

You helped me understand the industry context and how to present myself. This helped me understand my value and get the offers I received. –Entrepreneur and Creative Executive.

Looking forward to speaking to more of you about your work!


Introducing Member: Jill Dryer


Company: self-employed
Position: ARTrepreneur
Country: United States
State: MO
City: Kansas City
Cultural Ambassador: yes
Interests: Cross-Cultural Business, Data Visualization, Design (Visual, Interactive, UXD, Environmental), Start-Ups, Writing,

Questions and Answers

What will you say about the work you’ve done at the end of your career?

I hope to follow in the footsteps of my dear 93-year-old friend, Birger Juell, who was creatively on fire and full of life until the very end. I plan to keep learning, stay young at heart, and ultimately contribute something positive wherever life takes me.

Where do you go for inspiration?

My favorite inspirations lately come from my 2-year old son who sees everything magically. We watch ants and speculate on what they’re doing (going out for pizza? going to a party? looking for ice cream?); we stick our hands and feet in dirt, paint, water to see what it feels like; we get really excited every morning when the sun comes up and every night when the moon comes out. We sing made-up songs and play wooden spoon rock guitars and it takes my brain in new directions.

How do you build resilience into your work & company?

I believe that if you’re always creating to the best of your ability and with as much joy as possible, you’ll make something that others can build on. And if you’re willing to share ideas openly and collaborate, your work can be a platform for great things.

What keeps you up at night?

Endless lists…things I’m dreaming of doing and sometimes just simple things that I can’t manage to cram into a jam-packed day.

What gets you up in the morning?

Sunrise, family, coffeeeeeeeeeeee.

How is your work cross-cultural?

Imagination is a universal language…and creative projects can communicate on many levels from art to music to sheer emotion.


My aim is to inspire others to follow their dreams. No matter who I’m working with or what I’m working on, I hope to be a catalyst for great joy and things that make life worthwhile.
My current project is a rock opera called DREAM. I’ve been writing a musical score that includes 70s soul, rock ballads, country western twang, a serious tango, and gospel choir number or two that should raise the roof. The tale takes our hero, Mr. Serious Pants, on an accidental journey to change the world and unleash his inner rock star.
I also participate in ideation sessions with fortune 500 companies and my roles include illustrator, musician and creative consumer. In this realm, I playfully push the brilliant minds that have been assembled out of their comfort zone until they achieve a new truth.

Introducing Member: Mark Schermers


Company: Lokal
Position: Founder Lokal & Independent Marketing Consultant
Country: USA
State: CA
City: San Francisco
Cultural Ambassador: N/A
Interests: Cross-Cultural Business, Data Visualization, Media, Sustainable models for business, design and development, Start-Ups, Technology

Questions and Answers

What will you say about the work you’ve done at the end of your career?

I will ask myself: did I make an impact, did I change things for the better, was I passionate about what I did, did I have fun and did I build great relationships along the way? If the answer to all five questions is yes then I will have succeeded.

Where do you go for inspiration?

I love to wander the streets of places I haven’t been before. I read through history and design books and have conversations with new and old friends. I also find that going for a run or a motorcycle ride usually does the trick if I’m particularly stumped.

How do you build resilience into your work & company?

By surrounding myself with people that are smarter than me, by being nimble, willing to adapt and observing what’s happening in the world outside. Also by being cognizant of the fact that the first attempt isn’t necessarily the one that succeeds.

What keeps you up at night?

The trials and tribulations of making my ideas see the light of day…

What gets you up in the morning?

My iPhone: usually set to wake me for a run, bike ride or yoga. It has a tendency to wake me particularly early when friends forget what time zone I am in.

How is your work cross-cultural?

The world we live in is cross-cultural. Culture is all about connections and my work is all about making connections. With so many things converging—cultures, media, technology, entertainment— it’s an exiting time to be making new products and telling stories. Growing up in a bi-lingual home and having lived in 7 countries has also helped me appreciate different cultural nuances.


Media agnostic marketer, ad-man and entrepreneur always on the lookout to contribute to innovative product developments or ways to make new connections and tell stories.

Second anniversary, thanks and announcements are in order

Our second anniversary flew by this January, without a whistle or a pop as we, like young parents (up all night immersed all day) forgot to  take stock. So here is my moment to thank the colony, the archipelago of candidates, consultants, Salon members, advisors, cultural ambassadors, clients and colleagues.  We received Valentine cards with rockets and hearts too (awesome).  Thank you.

Like any living system, we are perpetually adapting.   Here are some highlights:

  1. ONE:

    Our conversations with people, the lifeblood of what we do, have evolved into a service, the Career Assessment, distinct from executive search.  We discovered that the conversation is not only fun but of great value to executives as they design their careers. So we super-powered it with our research, reports and recommendations and turned it into our newest offering. Together we envision and execute. We tap industry trends and clarify meanings to identify the components for a proactive career of work worth doing.

  2. (more…)

It’s spring, time for a new service

Open Colony is proud to announce the launch of a new service, a vitamin-fortified version of the job and industry conversations at the core of the Open Colony experience. Welcome to the “Career Assessment“.

It’s designed to be big enough, conceptual and meaningful enough, the touchstone for our relationship with you. How to partake? Grab a cup of tea, a glass of wine, a beer, a nosh. The only requirements are 2 hours of your full attention (i.e. not while you are in a taxi) and an affordable fee (we cost less than your career coach or personal trainer) . You have everything you need already, except perhaps a good night’s sleep.

The output is an understanding of what great work means to you and a detailed map, a toolkit, to get there:

  • T-shaped Skills Report
  • Leadership + Cultural Report
  • Career Eso-system Map
  • Career Narrative Highlights
  • Gap Analysis Report + Recommendations
  • (more…)

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