Business Designer, Strategist, & Researcher

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Not specified
Work schedule
Full Time, Contract, Part Time,
Language skills
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About me

Hakeem S. Allen is a business designer & strategist using ethnographic research & design thinking to deliver inclusive, human-centred brands & innovation.

He has an educational background in business and digital media coupled with a professional services background in strategy consulting, qualitative research, brand experience, and outcome-driven innovation for FMCG, lifestyle, technology, food & beverage, financial services, healthcare, fashion, media, sports, tourism, and public sector clients.

Hakeem has extensive experience at the intersection of research, strategy, branding, and design with core competencies in: equity-based ethnographic research and psychographics analysis; insight and proposition development; inclusive product and service design; and end-to-end experience mapping. He also have a proven record in deploying creative research methods to investigate trends, contextualise behaviour, and unlearn cultural biases; translating qualitative and quantitative data into actionable insights; developing unique strategic points of view; ideating, rigorously validating, and scaling new ventures; and taking an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and solving difficult business challenges.

Hakeem is a senior-level professional recognised for delivering impact and his ‘relentless proactivity and activation’ when managing projects from conception to completion; pitching for new business, leading commercial strategies, and capitalising on growth opportunities; developing junior talent as a trained mentor and coach, collaborating across disciplines, spearheading internal initiatives, and championing inclusion, diversity, equity, & access; facilitating engaging workshops; and for his ‘exceptional presence and intuitive client management’ which allows him to create positive engagement and momentum amongst key stakeholders, co-create effectively, and build genuine relationships quickly.

CV, Portfolio, Intro Video, & References:


August 2011 - May 2015 Commerce: Marketing & Management; Advertising & Digital Media @ University of Virginia

GPA: 3.79; Major GPA 3.92

January - July 2014 International Business Administration & New Media Production @ Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

Courses taken:
• Communication Management
• International Business
• New Media Production
• International Marketing Research
• Marketing Management
• Human Resource Management


November 2018 - Present Freelance Business Designer, Strategist & Researcher @ Uppity by Design

Senior-level, freelance business designer, strategist, and researcher using design thinking & ethnographic research to deliver inclusive, human-centred brands & innovation. Educational background in business and new media production, combined with professional services experience in research, strategy consulting, branding, and service design. Recognised for proactivity, creative research methods, collaborative leadership style, energetic client management, junior talent development, and ability to deliver impact.

Clients have included FMCG, lifestyle, technology, food & beverage, finance, healthcare, fashion, media, sports and public sector brands and organisations.

Contract roles held at Accenture Interactive, Kin + Carta Create, The Frameworks, & Rufus Leonard.

Project examples include:

• Validated desirability, viability, and feasibility of new propositions on existing and future customer segments, generating and testing hypotheses, conducting interviews and focus groups, and developing experience blueprints

• Developed go-to-market playbooks and service design maps, identifying user missions through extensive research, developing experience principles, creating capability maturity model, and assessing operational synergies

• Conducted in-depth category analysis, facilitated focus groups and observations, and launched nationwide quantitative study to capture customer insights; developed (and tested) over 50 new product ideas and visual identities through ideation workshops

• Managed fieldwork and creative research experiment (pop-up restaurant) to understand customer journey, desired outcomes, pain points, and psychographics; redesigned brand identity, UX, & UI based on captured insights, in-depth primary research, and testing

• Built the business case for investment in new digital venture, analysing impact to business operations, developing KPIs, mapping customer journeys, creating personas, and calculating financial metrics to evaluate success.

August 2015 Strategy & Operations Business Analyst @ Deloitte Consulting

Project Experiences:

Current State Assessment of Shared Services for Global Banking & Financial Services Company

• Conducted current state assessment of contract coverage across technology services and provided recommendations to manage the BAU model overseeing service contracts
• Cataloged existing contract coverage across Legal Entities in EMEA and Americas regions by engaging key stakeholders in each region and mining several disparate data sources
• Developed Excel model to capture contract coverage by region, country, and service category

Divestiture Planning & Execution for Multinational Beverage Corporation

• Managed the process of updating work plans for HR and Change Management functions and facilitated “Walk the Wall” sessions to coordinate work plans across eight business functions
• Assessed the impact of milestones, tasks, and relevant dependencies on Day 1 readiness and the overall success of the divestiture

Business Model Transformation & Assessment of Shared Services for Public-Benefit Hospital

• Inventoried redundancies and gaps in service functions/capabilities and created roadmap for standing up an enterprise Management Services Organization (MSO)
• Evaluated the success of services provided and created maturity model based on levels of development

Strategy Assessment for Medical Foundation & Hospital-Owned Insurance Plan

• Analyzed potential buyers of the Medicaid product line and created profiles assessing their strategic initiatives, likelihood to purchase, and ability to transform the product line
• Evaluated potential vendors to outsource utilisation management (UM) capabilities in order to improve operational efficiency
• Developed growth model to forecast population growth and demographic information (e.g., age, insurance coverage, and income)

Technical Environment: Tableau, Microsoft Office

Internal Initiatives: Summer Internship Leadership Team, UVa Recruiting Leadership Team, Mergers & Acquisitions Synergy Database

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