Caroline Flagiello

Founder and Creative Director of Akin

Creative Director and Designer Caroline Flagiello is an innovation expert with two decades of experience leading teams and designing for every kind of organization, from nascent startups to high profile Fortune 500 companies, in industries ranging from consumer electronics to fashion to food and beverage.

She brings her innovative and award-winning design experience in brand strategy, industrial design, fashion and marketing to craft visions and overall business opportunities, then galvanizes teams across disciplines to shepherd the work through all phases of execution. Her wide range of work spans across projects such as design for the Swiffer by Proctor and Gamble, Ethos Water Packaging for Starbucks, and designing the future of human health called Precision Medicine with UCSF.

In the public sector, her clients range from the US Navy to the New York Fire Department. Caroline has been instrumental in partnering with Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab’s TANG innovation cell to apply design thinking to the armed forces such as building resilience for a 21st century Navy. Her wide-ranging experience allows her to draw quantitative and qualitative learning from siloed industries that open up new opportunities in unrelated fields.

Her years of design experience at leading firms IDEO and Pentagram enabled her to hone her beliefs that the key to creating breakthrough work with attention to detail and craft is through forging deep, trusting relationships with clients. This understanding led to the formation of Akin, Inc. in 2015, a San Francisco-based design and innovation consultancy focused on projects with purpose. Akin works across industries, brands, products and systems that focus on the human experience and design how it manifests in the world to ensure a richer and more responsible future for all of us.

In addition to running Akin, Caroline has taught Industrial Design at the California College of the Arts and lectured at Stanford D.School, San Jose State University, and the Academy of Art. Her work has been featured in the Victoria and Albert Museum and in several publications such as AXIS Magazine, The New York Times, and BusinessWeek. Her designs have received multiple awards including Red Dot, IDEA, and Chicago Athenaeum and she holds several patents in consumer electronics and packaging.