Sea Change Design Institute

We work with leaders and organizations to co-design
positive, profound, and regenerative transformations.

Serving our World

Sea changes evolve humanity, respect nature, invoke spirit, and traverse time.


Living is, essentially, the engaging in a lifelong inquiry. There are questions that inspire and invoke. Questions that insist we answer with integrity, creativity, and resiliency.

There are moments in our lives when we are compelled to design the questions that define our aliveness. Why our lives matter is not determined by poets or pundits, but by the ones who whole-heartedly commit to making them so. One by one, we make the choice to design ourselves, our callings, and our legacies. Because we are more curious than content. Because we love freedom more than we fear. Because we want to live by design not on demand. Often our desire to serve moves us to courageously accept the challenge of personal transformation. As our passion becomes irresistible and the world’s needs become imperative—we choose to claim our lives. From these intimate moments of reckoning, our courageous questions transform into actions that answer what is meaningful, what is essential, and what is extraordinary.

What questions will inspire you for a lifetime? Sea Change Design coaching, courses, and workshops provide immersive experiences—and profound transformations—for people who value designing their lives, work, and legacies.

I am grateful for a career that combines meaning, creativity, and continuous growth. I see within this flow a clear through-line of trust and harmony. My ability to recognize this magic is Lauralee Alben’s gift. She has taught me how to move forward in my work and remain aligned with my best self.

Rainey Straus, Straus Design

Personal Coaching and Courses
We coach leaders—those who know what needs to change and step up to do it. Our coaching is intended to bring you into a thriving state of wholeness, so that you can be present, aligned, connected, and flowing on four levels: physical, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual. In this state of “design being,” you experience an amplified capacity to care, create, connect, and make choices. From this activated place of self-awareness, you develop a “design consciousness” that engenders an integrated flow of sea changes between humanity, nature, spirit, and time. Sea Change Design coaching begins with intensive one-on-one courses focused on self or work. For graduates of our coaching courses, we offer ongoing guidance, and master classes to deepen working knowledge of the Sea Change Design Process℠ as it applies to specific topics including leadership, relationships, and flow.

Sea Change Design coaching radically changed my way of being after forty years of corporate life. I deeply connected with my own authenticity, and I hold my work and the world around me in an entirely new, life-generating manner. Lauralee Alben is an insightful, sensitive, supportive, and dedicated coach. I love her questions. Her comprehensive, unique approach and amazing professional expertise invites personal self-awareness and growth. She inspires remarkable conversations and personal transformative experiences; connecting me with others in the design of a great future.

Charles M. McCaffree
Social Activist, Nonprofit Consultant

Professional Coaching
People excel at work they find meaningful, especially when it contributes to a greater mission. We coach executives, managers, teams, and informal leaders in fostering positive change and innovation within your organization. Using the Sea Change Design Process, we cultivate creativity and inspire potential by guiding people in aligning the physical, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual levels of themselves with their work. We assist them in connecting their actions, principles, and passions with a deep sense of relevance.

Our proprietary approach effectively addresses a wide range of interpersonal and organizational issues including effective communications, conflict resolution, leadership development, team building, productivity, and transition management. We provide guidance in clarifying intentions, becoming deeply aware of the contexts, fostering relationships critical to success, and achieving desired outcomes.

What’s possible in your organization when your leaders are modeling authentic relationships and inspiring powerful results? Let’s talk about it.

Our workshops provide creative and collaborative environments in which you can experience Sea Change Design. Our current core workshops are Designing a Self Worth Celebrating and Designing Work Worth Doing. These provide you with intentional questions big enough to live and work out of for your entire life. We offer Sea Change Design workshops in cities across the US in concert with partners and sponsors. If you’re interested in supporting sea changes in your community, please contact us. We also lead customized workshops within professional conferences including the Design Management Institute’s REMIX, Sustainable Brands, and ALIA’s Leadership Summer Intensive.

Would you like to learn more about our coaching courses? Enroll in an upcoming workshop? Host us at your event or in your community? Connect with us.


Today’s crises call us to navigate uncharted and turbulent waters. Even the most daring and committed among us need the support of methods proven to transform challenges into significant and sustainable solutions.

Responding powerfully to complex and critical challenges means proactively designing sea changes—profound transformations that produce lasting currents in your organization and the world. Using Sea Change Design, we
co-create a flow of solutions addressing your business, culture, or environmental challenges. The strategies, stories, and systems that result become beacons, guiding your organization into a desired future. Here are our core consulting tenets:

Resilient strategies generate transformations over time. Strategy is the result of experience, pragmatism, and imagination combined to elicit emergent possibilities. Over and over again.

Creative cultures design and deliver, consciously. Thriving organizations innovate in relationship to each other, their communities, the planet, the sacred, and the future. Then all beings prosper.

Living systems inspire sea changes. Nature has figured it out with efficiency and eloquence. When we design in concert with the wisdom of the natural world, we endure and evolve.

We engage with innovative businesses including Apple Computer, where we helped define personalized computing and the MacOS brand; and Procter & Gamble, where we led an R&D culture change focused on sustainable innovation capability. We have also consulted on human and ecological issues, from inspiring ocean conservation for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, to searching for new ways to protect human rights in Uzbekistan. We are committed to creating sea changes in the global water crisis.

We collaborate with our clients to define strategic business initiatives, inspire creative cultures, and address critical environmental issues. What can we co-design with you?

In 25 years of corporate life, I’ve seen a lot of “change programs” come and go. Most have faded and few have created the sustainable change envisioned at their outset. The Sea Change Design Process is different. It creates a one way road to the future. Having walked it, I honestly believe there’s no going back... either for the individuals who have grown from the experience or for our thriving organization that has unleashed innovation through the experience.

Martin J. Murray, Former Director, Research and Development
Personal Beauty Care, Procter & Gamble

How can we co-design with you? We’ve developed three levels of engagement—Scan, Sounding, and Journey—that apply the Sea Change Design Process to your challenge at the depths it demands.

A Sea Change Scan helps organizations outline new initiatives, respond to urgent events, prioritize offerings, reorient dysfunctional teams, and apply triage to business, societal, or environmental crises. If you are facing a relatively simple situation, involved in an isolated event, or need an overview of a complex situation, a Sea Change Scan is ideal. Our focus is on gaining general awareness and insights into what’s happening quickly.

A Sea Change Sounding guides organizations in developing strategies, starting a culture change, or uncovering the sources of problems. If you are working through a complex issue, a situation concerning an entire organization, or a major initiative, a Sea Change Sounding is ideal. Our focus is on giving you deep insights into the history and current state of your challenge. We help you plumb the depths of it, so that the solutions you develop are thoughtful, informed, and sound.

A Sea Change Journey empowers organizations to build innovative cultures, manifest new systems, and operate in resilient ways within turbulent global conditions. If you want to create a sustainable solution, engage in a Sea Change Journey. This approach is best if you must resolve a complex issue; train and reinforce new organizational behaviors within a culture change; or define, develop and launch new products, services, processes, or initiatives. We help you focus your intention, develop a carefully defined challenge, and clearly develop your vision. Then we take action.

What a wild journey it was, being an intrinsic part of developing our new brand and business strategies for our growing financial services company!
This was new territory for me that proved rich and revolutionary. Now I believe it’s possible to redesign our financial system into an equitable and profitable one.

Julie Seifert
Former Chief Compliance Officer, Simply Money


Lauralee Alben shares design stories that are both evocative and provocative. Each tale invites us to choose: How will we honor Life through our our abilities to create, care, and connect?

A seasoned speaker with a clear intent to illuminate the promise of design, Lauralee offers a lifetime of hard-earned wisdom gleaned from a career at the epicenter of transformation. Her deep compassion for all beings, along with her unwavering commitment to our conscious evolution, makes for moving presentations. Her talks are full of images, ideas, poetry, and meaningful interactions. Lauralee’s keynotes reach into the recesses of our minds, hearts, and souls. Her current keynotes include:

Transforming Crisis into Consciousness, a poetic and provocative summons that asks, “How can we use design to engage in the profound nature of paradigm-shifting and the pragmatic work of problem-solving?” There are endless opportunities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, economic inequity, social injustices, and the climate crisis. Just as imperative is reconciling the sickness of separation that wounds the human heart. From within the nexus of self, crisis, and life, “design serves as both vessel and revelation.” *

* excerpt from the poem Design Consciousness by Lauralee Alben

Born to Create, a manifesto asserting that creativity is essential during this great climax of our time—if we are to resolve the pressing issues that define whether our way of life evolve or dissolves. Lauralee assures us that by engaging in our individual and collective struggles in our lives, businesses, communities, society, and the environment, we can call forth the possibility of a regenerative way of life. By exploring the power of creativity, connectivity, and caring, we can co-design a new creation story for this precious and precarious point in our planetary existence.

Designing Lives Worth Living: Stories of integrity, creativity, and sustainability, parables of the deeply defining moments of ordinary people who took extraordinary leaps of faith and created sea changes in education, corporate America, and ocean conservation.

Lauralee Alben speaks on designing sea changes to corporations, professional conferences, and academic institutions. She has presented at TED, the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society, Procter & Gamble, SUN, Adobe, Walker Art Center, HOW, AIGA, MBARI, Montessori Foundation, and many others.

How can Lauralee inspire your organization? Connect with us to design a keynote for your event.

Lauralee made a wonderful presentation to mark the conclusion of our formal program at the NSF Executive Symposium on Leadership in Design and Innovation. There was no way of my expecting, much less of planning, an end on such a high note. What magic!

Nirmal Sethia, Ph.D.
Professor, Management & Human Resources
College of Business Administration
California State Polytechnic University


Teaching and learning are reciprocal endeavors. Each engenders the design of the other in a gyre of exploration and evolving wisdom.

Sea Change Design education sets this transformative exchange within the context of a world in transition. Students experience design as a source of sea changes—positive, profound, and lasting transformations. By focusing on a specific product, service, or environment, students discover: how design creates vast ripple effects that influence our behaviors, thoughts and values; the ceremonies and codes of our cultures; and the integrity and viability of our planet. These discoveries, in turn, influence what and how we design—generating a circular pattern of cause and effect that flows through the daily events of our lives in minute ways, and informs our worldview on a grand scale.

Workshops and Lectures
Through a combination of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises, students are introduced to the Sea Change Design Process. They use design thinking and techniques to help them see, synthesize, and solve a customized challenge or a project they are currently working on. As a result, students typically discover a broader context in which to practice design. They experience a shift in their awareness as they understand their relevance in the world and their pivotal place within it.

We’ve given design workshops to undergraduate and graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University, the Digital Vision Fellows Program at Stanford University, Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of California at Santa Cruz Extension, among others. We’ve shared our wisdom through lectures at Yale University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), North Carolina State University at Raleigh, University of Cincinnati’s DAAP, University of California Berkeley, California State Universities at Chico, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), San Francisco (SFSU) and San Jose (SJSU), and FHG Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany.

Every time I work with students, my faith in the possibility of a viable world is restored. No matter what their major or age or nationality, they aren’t fooling around. They know what’s at stake and they’ve claimed the compromised future as their inheritance. By combining creativity and daring with really hard work, they just might succeed in designing this world into a life-sustaining one.

Lauralee Alben
Founder, Sea Change Design Institute®

We believe that design education can catalyze young adults to create a viable future. By teaching Sea Change Design classes in schools and universities, we encourage students to envision a world worth inheriting. They imagine and explore solutions to issues they are concerned about including water, mental health, gender equality, poverty, education, biodiversity, and more. Students develop a stronger connection between themselves and those who use their designs, as well as a deeper understanding of the strategic role of artifacts in bringing about design integrity, economic prosperity, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship.

Since 2009, Andrea English, a partner at the Sea Change Design Institute, has taught our design curriculum to seniors at San Jose State University. Over 1000 students have now graduated, clear and confident in their intentions for their lives and work. In the past, Lauralee Alben served as adjunct faculty at the State University of New York at Purchase and Ravensbourne College of Art and Design in Kent, England.

Connect with us


Sea Change Design Institute
317 Arroyo Seco
Santa Cruz CA
95060 USA

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