Trailhead Design Co. is a boutique consultancy headquartered in Boone, North Carolina. We bring together strategists, designers, academics, researchers, entrepreneurs and more to help clients move their organizations forward. Our focused approach enables us to immerse ourselves in your organization to provide a perspective that would be hard to match by larger consultancies.

Our action research methodology enables us to provide guidance through an objective lens, and can help your firm build a learning capability that will enhance your organizational agility...enabling quicker responses to changing market conditions. Our approach and core principles influence our work and the impact we seek to achieve for our clients.

Our Approach

We help organizations carve out a unique and sustainable position within their industry through an integrated and human-centered approach. In doing so, we work to engage the entire organization.

Our Principles

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Unique Positioning

An organization's unique position results from organizational strategies, products, services, brands, processes, experiences, etc. that are value creating for all stakeholders and distinct from what other organizations offer within an industry. We help organizations carve out unique positions, continuously.

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Sustainable Positioning

Competitors are constantly trying to copy and outdo successful organizations, so to sustain a unique position, organizations must continuously innovate strategy, products, services, etc. to maintain distinctiveness. We help organizations build this internal capability to continuously innovate and transform themselves, while meeting short-term obligations and objectives.

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Continuous innovation can not be accomplished through the lens of one discipline or function, but must leverage the tools, methods, and perspectives of diverse functions and approaches.

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Innovation happens when people work together to create value for all stakeholders.

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Innovation if the result of engaged employees working collaboratively to solve problems. Our expertise is in building internal capabilities that engage the entire organization.

Our Team

Mark Lewis Trailhead Design Headshot

Mark Lewis

Mark is a strategist and innovation expert focusing on strategic visioning & planning, organizational design & change, and business model innovation. His work spans multiple industries (high tech, healthcare, education, and entertainment) and with companies such as IBM, SAP, Gartner, Hewlett Packard, UPS, Chrysler, Turner Broadcasting, and Highland Brewing Company, as well as with a plethora of smaller firms. He has published and/or presented over 30 articles on strategy, innovation, and technology management and has won both national and international awards for his research. His case study on innovation in strategic partnerships has sold over 10,000 copies in 29 countries.

He earned a PhD in The Center for Process Innovation at Georgia State University. Mark is currently an Associate Professor of Business Strategy and Innovation at Appalachian State University where he Co-founded and Co-directs the Innovation and Design Cooperative.

Richard Elaver Trailhead Design Headshot

Richard Elaver

Richard is an Industrial Designer and design educator focusing on new product innovation and creative process. He is named on over 15 design patents and has helped develop products for companies such as Wilson Sports, 3M, and Craftsman. His independent design work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Museum of Art and Design in NY and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, and published in Wired Magazine and Designboom. Recently, he created and licensed Joinks, an educational building toy for children, which was launched on Kickstarter and is now distributed worldwide by Fat Brain Toys.

He earned an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Richard is currently as Associate Professor of Industrial Design at Appalachian State University where he Co-founded and Co-directs the Innovation and Design Cooperative.