Zühlke’s Global Talent Program is a group-wide development initiative focused on accelerating and embedding intrapreneurship and innovation leadership more deeply into our Zühlke DNA. At its heart, participants team up for an innovation project that aims at making Zühlke a better employer, corporate citizen, and innovation partner for society and business.

A series of practical sessions in the fields of innovation leadership, storytelling, pitching and leading team dynamics offer experiential skill-building opportunities, and equip participants with tools and techniques relevant for their innovation mission ahead.

The workshops address traits and competencies that are essential for creating a superb customer experience and driving sustainable value for business and society, and as such have a purpose far beyond the scope of the Global Talent Program.


Tijana Krstajic, Regional Data Practice Lead at Zühlke

Tijana Krstajic

Regional Data Practice Lead

Max Obrist, Lead Architect at Zühlke

Max Obrist

Lead Architect

Tijana Tasich, Experience Design Consulting Director at Zühlke

Tijana Tasich

Experience Design Consulting Director


Tijana is the Consulting Director at Zuehlke UK, specialising in customer experience strategy, research and design. She is the capability Lead for Product and Service Design in ZUK. In her long career, she has led the strategy, design and delivery of human-centric experiences, products and services for clients across various industries. She is passionate about improving customer experiences by challenging clients' assumptions and bringing the voice of the customer to the foreground of their decision-making.

Innovation & Leadership

“It started with a two-day online workshop on innovation leadership. Twenty unique and excited people, three coaches and a virtual white board. I learned the key traits of innovation leadership and that you don’t need to have all of them – it is the team’s unique combination that makes innovation happen”, summarises Tijana Krstajic, Regional Data Practice Lead.

Over the two days, participants expanded their knowledge and learned new techniques on how to facilitate a team discussion in a way that opens the space for diverse perspectives and innovation. They practiced the five key attributes of innovation leadership (empathy, embracing ambiguity, creative confidence, entrepreneurship, and learning from failure) which will help them transform an innovative idea into a future reality – the ultimate goal of their innovation mission.

Max Obrist, Lead Architect at Zühlke
' My initial thoughts at the start of the workshop were: ’What did I get myself into?’
But, boy, these two days were amazing – full of content, energy, passion and unexpectedly emotional. '
Max Obrist
Lead Architect, Zühlke

To highlight the value of the workshop to his daily work, Max adds: “There was so much learning. For example, we learned how to identify creative solutions using techniques of divergence and convergence. This is something that I started noticing in my day-to-day life: We often try to jump to a solution before we’ve even explored what’s possible. Now with the new tools and frameworks in my pocket, I feel like there may have been one or the other missed opportunity in the past and feel equipped to dwell on that ideation phase for longer in the future.”

To give us a feeling of the energy in the room, Tijana Tasich, Experience Design Consulting Director shares: “A couple of hours into the program and I had to shift gear, embrace ambiguity, and face my fears – which I didn’t even know I had. I love the rapid learning-by-doing approach and finding out about the attributes of innovation leaders. It turns out I have enough empathy and creative confidence, but I need to work on embracing ambiguity – and I need to lower my daily coffee intake. Because it’s all in the attitude, so I figured maybe I should practice the mantra ’Resist the chaos around you and be comfortable with yourself – you’re just fine’ to help me embrace ambiguity.”

Besides formal learning and building better self-awareness, the interactive exercises throughout the workshop deepened the connection and relationships amongst all program members. Tijana K. reflects:

Tijana Krstajic, Regional Data Practice Lead at Zühlke
' A view opened into the unique blend that we create: curious, extroverted, introverted, silent, talkative, openminded. Wow. It was one of those instances that leave you breathless and even while I experienced it, I didn’t cease to be mesmerised and wanted to be present and soak in the glory of every moment. '
Tijana Krstajic
Regional Data Practice Lead, Zühlke

Storytelling & Pitching

The second series of workshops enabled the group to craft and share inspiring stories and understand the secret ingredients of a powerful pitch that engages the audience and triggers curiosity.

These competencies are critical to gain organisational support for the innovation ideas pursued. Throughout their innovation project, our talent teams are given two opportunities to pitch their vision and to convince advisory board members why the proposed innovation idea should become the new practice of tomorrow. “We need to get others enthusiastic about our solution”, Tijana K. says.

Therefore, this workshop offered the group an insight into a variety of storytelling approaches, the critical elements and characteristics, as well as different types of stories and in which context they are most or least impactful.

Tijana Tasich, Experience Design Consulting Director at Zühlke
' Having a good idea is simply not good enough. You need a good elevator pitch to let users know why they need your solution and how it will improve their lives. To impact your audience, you need to pitch a story, not just facts. '
Tijana Tasich
Experience Design Consulting Director, Zühlke

But how does storytelling go together with pitching?

“There is a direct connection, because with every story we tell, we are actually pitching something to somebody”, Tijana K. says, and Tijana T. further explains: “Stories are all about reaching your audience on an emotional level. And people don’t remember facts, but they remember emotions, and stories are perfect for that.”

Playing emotions isn’t necessarily something that comes natural to Architect Max, who sees himself as a pragmatic and logical person. However, after the workshop experience and exercises, he admits: “I can now see the value in using stories to trigger emotions. I’ve learned a good framework and got many opportunities to practice. So, I’ll now try to push myself outside of my comfort zone more often and apply it.”

Beyond the program, pitching is a highly useful skill in our everyday life, too. As Tijana K. puts it: “The workshop has already helped me change my style of how I present and engage people. We’re in meetings all the time, and I’ve learned how I can better keep people’s attention using storytelling and emotions – or something as small as toning my voice.”

Tijana T. summarises what she has learned as follows: “Good stories are authentic. They may use metaphors and analogies, and humour is an impactful technique too. Always consider your target audience. But first and foremost, you need credibility.” And about the workshop experience, Tijana K. concludes: “It was an emotional journey, a rollercoaster. We shared personal stories and got closer together as a group. It created a sense of unity.”

The next stage of the journey

With the first wave of workshops concluded, participants will now split into teams of four and group around an innovation idea that they will tackle together – the ‘innovation mission’. They will empathise with their target audience, ideate, decide, build-measure-learn, and continue to practice and apply what they have learned.

The sessions helped equip Max for the next phases of the journey: “The skills we learned – especially around innovation – are highly relevant right now; we practiced how to facilitate fruitful discussions that create space for ideas and creativity. Other skills such as managing team dynamics will be incredibly useful throughout the innovation mission, and storytelling will be particularly relevant when pitching our ideas to the advisory board.”

Asked whether she’s ready for the next phase, Tijana K. says: “I’d say I’m eager to practice now. The more I learn about tools & frameworks, the more I want to apply them.” What she knows for sure though is that she’s excited about what’s next and to be a part of the program: “I would definitely recommend this program for its diversity. It’s a journey full of surprises.”

Global Talent Program_Development Journey

Learn more about the Global Talent Program

Our vision for the Global Talent Program is to empower a new generation of innovators who responsibly execute solutions that make a positive contribution to society.

Follow our journey to learn more about the program, meet participants, and hear voices from the program owner and executive sponsor.