Hello, I’m Erin Henkel

Senior Portfolio Director

Day to day, I help teams solve problems on a grand human scale. My focus is the services and systems we all rely on, from finance, to health, to education. I’m invested in tackling societal problems by designing new solutions from an empathic, optimistic perspective. Ask me about the future of work and the future of philanthropy, two particularly exciting new frontiers for human-centered design.

What you won’t learn from my bio:
I left IDEO in 2010 to start a butter business after getting totally inspired during a trip to France. I taught myself everything from procuring cream to processing to recipe development.

Joined IDEO:

Full Bio

Erin Henkel is a Portfolio Director at IDEO's Chicago studio. She’s responsible for helping businesses create new value in the world while taking a human-centered approach to solving their toughest challenges. Her areas of focus include service design, healthcare, education, and finance.

Since joining IDEO, Erin has collaborated with the NYC Department of Education to catch middle school kids up to grade level; partnered with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on the design of financial tools to help the most vulnerable Americans; and worked with one of the top ten hospitals in the US improving their patient experience. Erin's work is guided by a deep belief in the power of design thinking and empathic immersion to revolutionize products and services. She's particularly passionate about exploring the design of financial services in support of the middle class, technology's potential for positive impact on the management of chronic illnesses, and new approaches to designing products and services that reflect the changing nature of work.

A consummate traveler, Erin has taught design-innovation classes at the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, South America, The NYU Wagner School of Public Service, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She has spoken at various conferences, including the Yale School of Management Education Leadership Conference and the American Cancer Society CEOs National Meeting.

Erin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design from the California College of the Arts.

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