Seven Years of Holistic Digital Transformation: Crafting Success Through Leadership, Culture, and Shaping Organizational Futures

blue background, purple number 7 balloon with gold confetti

The goal is now clear: to liberate organizational structures, paving the way for paradigm shifts that resonate with the evolving landscape of successful societal demands, organizational transformations and digital initiatives.

A blank canvas and a vision

In February 2017, LDR21 was launched to formalize the consulting work I had been doing independently for the prior six years. I wanted to continue the work in a more formal capacity as I had become engaged with The Open Organization as an Ambassador. I had this idea that 21st Century leadership and the way we work should be very different. And thus LDR21 [leader 21] would focus on this as we delved into articulating and defining open leadership, organizations, and culture.

Over the past seven years, I’ve proudly worn the hat of “Alchemist”.  In this role, I’ve passionately led and educated technology leaders on the nuances of open organizations, open leadership, and cultural frameworks for successful holistic digital transformation. 

My focus extends to organizational development and operationalizing behaviors which has manifested in powerful shifts. From facilitating collaborative innovation labs to architecting methodologies, I’ve been the driving force behind transformative change. Join me as I reflect on these transformative journeys, celebrating seven years of catalyzing organizational evolution.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for LDR21, 2017

Seven years and countless stories

I’ve had the honor of collaborating with technology leaders globally, spanning government agencies, social impact non-profits, and outstanding individual contributors in the open-source domain. Our successes have been diverse, ranging from partnering with Red Hat‘s global government teams to spearheading initiatives within The Open Organization project. Additionally, we’ve played a pivotal role in shaping the future workplace with the European Commission’s DIGIT sectors and fostering open collaboration with Microsoft to expedite go-to-market strategies.

Our focus has consistently centered on open organizations, leadership, culture, behaviors, and the operationalization of these aspects into tangible cultural frameworks. The delivery of our work has taken various forms, from educating and advising leaders at speaking events to facilitating masterclasses, creating thought leadership content, and serving as a dialogue partner in digital transformation challenges.

Community Awards
100 +
in Books
10 +

Mesh unveiled: two decades in the making

A significant milestone in 2022 marked the culmination of two decades of blending practical experience, personal theories, psychology, cognitive research, and future foresight. This resulted in the development of the Mesh concept—a human-centric organizational design meticulously crafted for success in a decentralized world. Encompassing both decentralized technology and activities, the Mesh concept and methodology have been formally documented and published in the book titled Mesh: a human-centric organisational design for a decentralised world.

Mesh: a human-centric organizational design for a decentralized world; book on tabletop

Jen helps audiences understand clearly how principles derived from open source projects and movements transleate directly into actionable processes and practices your organization can tap to become more innovative.
Dr. Bryan Behrenshausen, The Open Organization & GitLab

Cheers to collaborations

As I reflect on this seven-year journey, there are heartfelt thanks I extend to those who have been steadfast companions along the way. First and foremost, my sincere appreciation goes out to the engaged clients and collaborators who have been integral to this transformative expedition from its inception. Many of these relationships have evolved beyond professional ties, blossoming into genuine friendships that endure to this day.

A special note of gratitude is reserved for the Open Organization community, whose impact on shaping my work has been immeasurable. The camaraderie within this community, where ambassadors sharpened each other, holds a special place in my heart. The connections forged during this period are, without a doubt, priceless. It’s the collective spirit and shared insights of these individuals that have significantly contributed to the growth and success of the consultancy.

To all those who have played a part—clients, collaborators, friends, and the inspiring Open Organization community—thank you for being essential threads in the rich tapestry of this seven-year journey. Your support, wisdom, and camaraderie have been invaluable, and I look forward to the continued growth and shared successes that lie ahead.

Navigating challenges

This entrepreneurial expedition, while rewarding, has not been without its share of challenges. Wearing numerous hats concurrently, from administrative roles to business development and service delivery, has been a stark contrast from conventional business models. The deceptive simplicity of service delivery masked the complexity of the back-end operations, revealing a need for a more focused approach moving forward.

Navigating through a business landscape where ups and downs are constant, I have recognized the need for more structured roles and a concentrated focus on key delivery areas. It turns out that, upon reflection, my initial expectations of the consultancy’s trajectory differed from the intricate reality. The journey has been a testament to the adage that starting from scratch demands resilience, adaptability, and an enduring commitment to continuous improvement.

Lessons carved in the journey

Embarking on this entrepreneurial journey, I’ve gained invaluable insights and honed my skills in ways I never anticipated. Through navigating a path from obscurity to recognition by esteemed entities like Forbes, Red Hat, and The Open Organization community, the importance of cultivating a unique skill set has been reinforced. Despite starting with no prior connections, my consultancy thrived through word of mouth, securing substantial contracts and becoming a Red Hat partner for a notable five-year span.

Discovering my strengths and passions in the process, I’ve learned the critical value of self-worth and the importance of setting boundaries to prevent burnout. The journey has emphasized the significance of routine, structure, and the necessity of self-care in sustaining a 24/7 entrepreneurial role. However, one of the most profound lessons revolves around the initial mindset—learning the importance of putting oneself first and the advantages of having a select few trusted mentors over a crowd of enthusiastic but diverse voices to guide you.

The need of a supportive community is crucial. The invaluable motivation and constant learning derived from a community of peers has been instrumental in overcoming challenges. The entrepreneurial journey, as I’ve discovered, is a continuous learning curve with a need for both flexibility and steadfast routine.

They engage with people they have never met before and have great interpersonal skills. They can work with a difficult or guarded audience to tease things out of them and get a good outcome. This is a real art - how they engage people and get concepts across.
Jim Craig, Red Hat, Global Government

Our Comeback Era: the future of transformations

As I emerge from a transformative hiatus taken in 2023, I am invigorated and ready to embark on a new chapter—an era that I like to consider as a comeback, brimming with a renewed focus on cultural shifts that place humanity at the center. 

The goal is clear: to liberate organizational structures, paving the way for paradigm shifts that resonate with the evolving landscape of successful societal demands, organizational transformations and digital initiatives.

In this forward-looking phase, expect a refreshing take on content delivery. While maintaining the utmost professionalism, the learning experience doesn’t have to be dull. Anticipate a more vibrant approach through podcasts, videos, and bite-sized micro-lessons designed to be consumed on the go. These formats aim to inject a dose of interest and engagement into learning, offering immediate actionable insights that resonate with the dynamic pace of our modern lives.

The groundwork for the future of organizations has been laid, and now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and implement. I am committed to being your ally throughout the transformation journey, offering guidance, insights, and unwavering support. Here’s to a future filled with exciting possibilities, meaningful change, and continued collaboration on the path to organizational evolution.

Our Co.Labs and masterclasses were delivered to 600 Senior to C-Level Participants

In our commitment to educating technology leaders, our approach encompasses key pillars: disseminating comprehensive knowledge, fostering open leadership principles, and instilling a deep understanding of cultural frameworks. This foundation is crucial in our co.labs and masterclasses, fostering practical skills and insights for leaders navigating the complexities of modern organizational dynamics. We delve into best practices where practical skills, strategic conversations, and digital transformation education are delivered to drive organizational excellence.

Dialogue Partner & Speaker

Having spoken at 27 events globally, our expertise spans four core topics: open culture, open collaboration, navigating change, and diversity and inclusivity. Across the world, we engaged with diverse audiences, employing conversational tactics in panels and roundtables. As an expert, our goal was not only to educate leaders but also to inspire them, fostering meaningful dialogue on the critical aspects of modern leadership and organizational dynamics.

52% of talks were on Open Culture & Open Organizations

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