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Thinking about the future can feel lonely and daunting, and organizations can become mired in their most intricate challenges. At Rise & Design, our core approach melds rigorous, interdisciplinary research with innovative, human-centered design—crafting tailored solutions for your unique organizational needs. We don't just consult; we uncover insights and issues that may otherwise go unnoticed and craft bespoke strategies that propel your organization forward.

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A renowned expert and thought leader in disruptive innovation, strategy, and lifelong learning, Dr. Weise works with businesses, colleges and universities, and funders around the world to design the ecosystems and an infrastructure to support lifelong learning for the workers of today and tomorrow.

A researcher at heart, she leverages the theories of disruption and design thinking to illuminate hidden opportunities that increase innovation and social impact and transform cultures.

R&D is about tackling complexity.

R&D is for when you need a:

Thought Partner

With a blend of trend analysis, in-depth research, and diverse stakeholder perspectives, we craft a tailored roadmap, paving the way for clear articulation your vision and strategic initiatives essential to support the overarching goals of your organization. R&D is about transforming vision into action, propelling your organization towards its desired future.


Tech Pathfinder

We introduce teams to cutting-edge educational and workforce technologies that help you leapfrog to the forefront of innovation and scale your working learner strategies.


Transformation Coach

Guiding organizations through the labyrinth of change is the crux of our work. We can help build transformation teams within that can help redefine pathways, spearhead strategic initiatives focused on providing comprehensive support to working learners across all age groups, and ensure their persistence and success in their endeavors. Transformation is about keeping your organization’s vision front and center.


Creative Conductor

Through immersive design-thinking workshops, we help harness the power of storytelling to build movements that captivate and inspire.


Curriculum Innovator

Collaborating with universities, we help develop and shape curricula that seamlessly aligns with evolving workforce demands, bridging the gap between academia and industry.


Ecosystem Architect

We've masterminded regional learning ecosystems, uniting educational and workforce leaders to establish centers of education and economics, energize digital skill markets, and foster state-wide talent networks. Long-life Learning serves as a blueprint for creating the infrastructure to support education and economic growth.

Some organizations that have benefited from Weise’s expertise include the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, National University, Imaginable Futures, Strada Education Network, and Southern New Hampshire University.


Current & Past Advisory Work 


For Businesses

Workshops for businesses include primers on disruptive innovation and how to leverage Christensen’s theories to spot disruptions on the margins. Weise also uses foresight and futures thinking to help businesses design new business models for future sustainability. This includes a clearer understanding of parsing signals from the noise, evaluating potential threats, and reimagining product offerings to meet the needs of nonconsumers, or those who are currently unserved by today’s market offerings. These highly engaging and creative workshops pave the way for a new blueprint for delivering value and generating new streams of revenue.


For Higher Education Institutions

Workshops for higher education institutions are geared toward schools that understand that the learner market is shifting in tectonic ways and are seeking to create more on- and off-ramps in and out of learning and work. These are postsecondary institutions that understand that although they serve current students well, they must also make way for a growing universe of more mature learners who are seeking more direct connections to good work and specific skills. The real opportunity for educators is to push the boundaries of what is possible with the things that are in their control. This is the core focus of Weise’s workshops with postsecondary institutions. Weise combines academic and business experience to show organizations how to make the most with what they already have.


Byron Auguste, CEO

“Michelle Weise has a knack for distilling the complexities of education, labor, and policy into an integrated approach to building a more hopeful future of work. Weise skillfully links the individual stories of working-age adults to the underlying patterns of dysfunction in the U.S. labor market. In Long-life Learning, Weise shows that the future of work is here, and that we need to act now to construct a learning-to-earning system that works for everyone.”


Maria Flynn, CEO
Jobs for the Future

“By examining economic trends, innovations in education and hiring, and the lived experiences of working learners, Weise reveals the shortcomings of our fragmented education and workforce systems and challenges us to reimagine the future of learning. Weise demonstrates how and why we must all become working learners, and presents a clear, optimistic vision for a new learning ecosystem in which we can all take part.”


Joseph B. Fuller, Professor, Harvard Business School

“Weise brings sky-high projections about the future of work down to earth with forward-looking and actionable steps to advance career-focused learning and training. Her examination of higher education goes beyond the usual calls for change to demonstrate how burgeoning innovations are laying the foundation of a learning ecosystem of the future—flexible enough for all people—to move consistently in and out of learning and work.”


Van Ton-Quinlivan, CEO, Futuro Health

“Without hand-wringing about the rise of automation, or finger-pointing at our current systems of education and employment, Long-Life Learning advances a vision of the future that puts the needs of workers at the center. Recasting us all as 'working learners,' Michelle Weise illustrates not just the value of repeated returns to learning, but the critical importance of seamlessly interweaving education and work throughout our careers.”

View Michelle's past design work

Working with Todd Shafer, architect at Perry Dean Rogers, Michelle designed a physical innovation space at Southern New Hampshire University for brainstorming, collaboration, movement, and connection—what she calls, play.

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