A Forum for Innovation

Introducing Member: Caitlin Pulleyblank


Company: OpenColony
Position: CEO
Country: USA
State: CA
City: San Francisco
Cultural Ambassador: yes
Interests: Agile and/or Rapid Application Development and Design, Biomimicry, Cross-Cultural Business, Data Visualization, Design (Visual, Interactive, UXD, Environmental), Executive Coaching, Innovative HR, Media, Organizational Design, Sociology of Work, Sustainable models for business, design and development, Start-Ups, Technology, Writing,

Questions and Answers

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

I will say that we, my colleagues and I, had tremendous fun, were steeped in art, language and technology, made significant contributions to culture, in particular the culture of work, and demonstrated great leaps of faith.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Craggy Limestone Mountain Tops, City Streets, My Kitchen Chopping Block, River Banks, Markets, Benches, Friends, Family, Art Shows and Books.

How do you build resilience into your work & company?

Diversity, Collaboration, Humility, Transparency, Iterative, dynamic short-term and Long-term innovation platforms and conversations.

What keeps you up at night?

Voices, ideas, questions of the day.

What gets you up in the morning?

Coffee. The pursuit of information and work worth doing.

How is your work cross-cultural?

We work in many cities around the world.


Serial Entrepreneur, Writer, Executive Recruiter, Organizational Designer, CEO and Founder Open Colony.

Posts by Caitlin Pulleyblank

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!


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…)

Speaking on how to redesign your work …

Hope you can join us: http://aigasf.org/events/2011/03/17/dtalks_dream_jobs

Favorite quote in the colony this week…

” I define innovation the way I define genius. It is born from two ideas that already exist but combining them in a new way yields innovation. It takes equal proportions of the familiar and the unfamiliar and it is not fully formed. Innovation does not spring like Venus from the head of Zeus. It something I wanted to exist. It is something I will into being but when it exists it is not as I imagined it but that is great. It is part science fiction and part reality. It is never all or the other.It has a foot in both worlds. It is new by being familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.”

Wonderful exit video…

And I thought Open Colony should specialize in on-boarding videos. Now we need to offer exit videos too: Jeff Greenspan: Goodbye R/GA

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