Elina Zheleva

Who am I

Master in: design thinking, service design, systems thinking, customer experience design, futures thinking

Focus: training design and delivery, project facilitation, design research

Number of trainings: > 200

Number of sprints: >20

Industries: aviation, logistics, IT, education, consulting

I am Elina and since I can remember I have loved to fix things. If something was messy - I’d put it in order. If something was complex - I’d simplify it. If something was broken - I’d repair it. Maybe that explains why I became an industrial engineer first and worked in aviation. At first this was a perfect work environment - we fixed the old, we created new stuff, I was surrounded by like-minded engineers and everything ticked like a Swiss watch. But then I wanted to understand how business works, what drives a whole organization in a certain direction. That’s when I decided to go for an Executive MBA and work in strategic planning, business development and finance management roles. I learned to see the big picture and not just to develop concepts, but to implement. But then again once immersed in business operations, I started missing the people’s focus. That’s when after 10 years of professional experience I came to design thinking and the circle was finally complete with people, business and technology.

My three most important professional projects

The creation of the first design thinking Agency in Bulgaria - DesignThinking.bg and its transformation into launchlabs Sofia - studio for business innovations and organizational transformation that acts locally, regionally and globally.

The development of an internal training program for developing design thinking facilitators, which works perfectly every time and allows us to maintain a diverse, yet qualified team.

The work we did in Alaska, where with the help of amazing local organizations and agents we built the whole design thinking community from scratch.

My biggest failure and lessons learned

My biggest failure is an idea for a startup accelerator in the field of aviation innovation that never took off. I tried to do it when it was too early for the industry. And maybe too early for me as well.

The lesson learned - “Everything in its own time.”

On Sunday I get up early to...

read for a couple of hours before the city wakes up, go cross-country skiing or make breаkfast for my partner.