Awaken Group is a multi-disciplinary Transformation Design (TD) firm that integrates strategy, leadership, and design to create holistic human-centered solutions. Awaken Group sits at the intersection of business, people, and design to provide purpose-driven ad values-based solutions.

Awaken Group (AG) is a pioneer in the field of  ‘Transformation Design (TD)’, an emerging field of human-centered design that integrates multiple disciplines to solve complex, systemic challenges in a values-based way towards common vision and goals. Transformation Design emerged from the practices of design thinking and leadership development with the understanding that all solutions must be aligned to business strategy and be supported by the appropriate environment, systems and processes to be sustainable.

This led to the creation of the TD framework called SPECL™, a proprietary tool designed by AG, to assess the state of transformation in an organization to help create transformation roadmaps.

Awaken Group was founded in 2009 by So-Young Kang under the guidance and mentorship of some incredible thought leaders and influencers - Erwin McManus, Dave Gibbons, and Tsun-Yan Hsieh. Awaken Group started in Los Angeles, California with a desire to transform culture in organizations to greater beauty and joy.  

Part of the impetus for founding Awaken Group was based on her experiences as Head of the Finance Transformation Service Line for McKinsey North America serving clients such as Microsoft where she realized that in order for transformation to be sustainable, it required strong buy-in from everyone involved with the change and not just from the top leaders.

So-Young wanted to see greater impact from the consultancy work and realized that the human element was critical to long term impact. The focus on leadership assessments, coaching and development then became the starting point for Awaken Group. As the firm launched in December 2009, it quickly expanded to include human-centered design and business strategy which then integrated to become the practice of Transformation Design (TD). Awaken Group opened its first office in December 2009 in Los Angeles and soon thereafter, opened a second office in Singapore in 2010.

We are a multi-disciplinary firm that integrates strategy, leadership, and innovation to design human-centered experiences.

Awaken Group offers a range of solutions to guide organizations on their transformation journey for sustainable impact.  Services include:

  • Strategy co-creation for business and digital strategies

  • Strengths-based leadership development, coaching and assessments

  • Experience design, innovation and branding for customer- and employee-centric solutions

  • Capability building programs across strategy, leadership, and design in a global, digital context

  • Digital transformation strategies and implementation plans

So-Young currently serves as the Founding Chairman of Awaken Group.