Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Karel Vredenburg, Design Research VP, Educator, & Podcaster, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

IBM is a large global organization that provides software and services to largely the business market.

Tell us about yourself

Through undergraduate and graduate school, I was a professional musician part-time, then pursued clinical psychology and cognitive science, and then fell in love with design and design research. I'm motivated each day to make the lives of our users and my staff better than it was the day before. I'm also motivated to make the world more ethical, environmental, and healthy through plant-based living.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I'm not an owner of IBM (other than being a stockholder), but I take the perspective of being the owner in each of the business decisions I make. I consider my biggest accomplishment to be helping to have transformed the IBM company with design, design thinking, and research.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I think the hard thing is also the most rewarding, which is to practice strategic foresight in order to always focus on what's changing in the world to future-proof my team's work.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Hire designers and researchers.
  2. Understand your market, your future market, and your competitively positioned value proposition.
  3. Practice Premortems.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I think you should also focus on yourself, your health, your work-life balance, your relationships, and on making the world a better place.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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