Laura Carmichael

Laura Carmichael
Innovation Faculty
My experience and deep interests:
I am based in: Amsterdam
THNK connection: Faculty


I bring creative thinking know-how from the arts and fifteen years experience as a corporate trainer to THNK in-company programs. My range of expertise includes creativity, communication, voice and presence coaching, intercultural inclusion, leadership, team dynamics and women’s empowerment. I have worked with clients from Unilever, ASML, ABN/AMRO Bank, ING Bank, Rabobank, Robeco, Heineken, Ernst and Young Accounting, DSM, Sabic, Akzo Nobel, Bekaert, Corus Steel, Nexans, Nuon Energy, TNT Postal, Post NL, VNU Publishing, Sanoma, KLM Airlines, Océ, Philips, Shell, KPMG, and McKinsey. I run my own personal development workshops and trainings on creativity at, and have worked for the Royal Tropical Institute Intercultural Professionals and Executive Performance Training. At THNK, my expertise comes together with my desire to empower people to create new structures and propel bold ideas. For me, innovation pivots around shifting perceptions to a holistic, human centered vision, where curiosity, rigor and diversity are paramount.


As a rebellious classical musician, I contended with the paradox of wanting to succeed in the establishment while being irresistibly  pulled to challenge the status quo. I performed with major orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony, and played at festivals including the Berio Festival in the Berlin Philharmonie. Eventually abandoning my best efforts toward propriety, I created my own career path where the new and experimental took precedence. I became an expert in how to strategically bear the discomfort of ambiguity in order to invoke originality. Creative collaboration outside my field drove innovative performance practices and reevaluation of audience interactions.


As a research fellow at Southampton University, my work focused on how to create non-habitual raw material (in music), using the body and gesture. I have translated these processes for the non-artist professional. I have been an avid improviser, sometimes composer and often collaborator using sensors and new technologies. My relentless pursuit of making new things and working in new contexts, has led me to work with all kinds of people from all over the world, from Japan to Mexico.  I have lectured in music, creativity and collaboration at numerous universities including Harvard, Stanford, University of California at Berkeley, Davis and San Diego, Rice University, University of Chicago, Istanbul Bilgi University, SUNY Buffalo, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg.


Since 1990, I immersed myself in body-mind training systems, not only to support my professional performance work, but also in large part to help me recover from a major car accident in which my spine was broken. Since that time I have practiced Alexander Technique, taiji, meditation, mindfulness and peak performance techniques. I integrate elements from this work into my trainings. As a recovering perfectionist, I now embrace the power of play, the open mindset and “what if?” In addition to studying classical music, I also studied anthropology and German in university. Other interests include neuroscience, whole systems design, human rights, and the impact of early childhood development. An American who has lived in Amsterdam since 1999, I live with my partner from Istanbul, Turkey and our third-culture daughter.