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Hello, I’m Yao Chen

Project Lead, Strategic Initiatives, IDEO Shanghai

Yao is a Project Lead at IDEO Shanghai, focusing on developing new strategic initiatives, partnerships, and ventures in China, and more broadly in Asia.  She has over 10 years of experience in organisational change management and leadership development drawn from the public and private sectors.  

In the public sector, Yao worked at the World Economic Forum in Geneva as a Community Lead, where she also completed a three-year Global Leadership Fellow program. Specifically, she engaged the Forum’s professional services industry community on key topics, such as how to create enduring trust in business, how to navigate disruptive changes brought by  digital technology, and how to better measure and promote innovation.

In the private sector, Yao developed an international consulting career across Asia, Europe, and North America. She has a diverse project portfolio, including aligning executive teams on a culture transformation, training front-line managers worldwide, deploying an enterprise-wide process change, and creating a development plan for a global corporate headquarters. Some of her clients were: Siemens, Prudential, Johnson & Johnson, Fidelity, and BP.

Having recently returned to China after being overseas for a decade, Yao is particularly interested in the application of design thinking to unlock the creative potential in individuals and organisations in the unique China context.  

Yao holds an MBA from Cambridge University, an MS in Intercultural Communications from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in English Education from Nanjing Normal University.

In her spare time, she enjoys running over steep hills and doing yoga in a hot room. Her love for fashion means that her wardrobe seems to be hopelessly small and always overflowing.