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Unleashed - How to Thrive as an Independent Professional

Aug 28, 2023

Show Notes:

Soren Kaplan, author of Experiential Intelligence: Harnessing the power of experience for personal and business breakthroughs, talks about his book, his experience as a consultant, and the software company he founded,, to digitize his consulting processes and help other consultants and Fortune 1000 clients scale their processes. 

Soren decided to scale up his experience in executive education, leadership development, and innovation and strategy work, which led him to create the no-code software platform he uses to digitize his own consulting work processes and create annuity revenue streams. 

SaaS as a Service Business Model for Consultants 

Soren's team has done extensive work in work process digitization, and they realized that the best scalable way to do this is to create a platform that anyone can use to do it themselves or help others do it in a fast and easy way using no-code software. Soren talks about the first application and use case and how it helps consultants to access templates and  processes, and streamline workflow.

Soren's innovation consulting experience led him to create a platform for running the innovation process for a large steel manufacturing company. He shares how the team has their customized process digitized in a workflow that their entire team can now use in a repeatable way. He explains that the software is a SaaS software as a service business model, combining consulting with work process design.

Soren explains the innovation process: idea generation, validation, and implementation. The process involves evaluating the different dimensions of the first phase, selecting which ideas to move forward, and then evaluating the results. The process then moves on to validation, where the user evaluates the assumptions and moves them to the next phase. The digitized workflow allows individuals or teams to view their entire portfolio as a dashboard, showing pipeline, portfolio maps, and financials. Teams can work through their own product ideas and provide access to the dashboard for reporting. The application also includes tools for execution and dashboard elements for reporting. 

A Branded SaaS App for Consultants

Soren talks about the low cost of the digital application, as it digitizes hundreds of tools and templates. For example, a PowerPoint or Excel file can be converted into an interactive template online, making it more cost-effective for clients. The sales process is the engagement process, with the cost depending on the level of customization. The Praxie tool is similar to SaaS software, with a monthly fee per user. He explains how a consultant can use the platform to develop their own business process software, and how the pricing model is adapted to the user and the customization. The business model is being built with tools which allow consultants to build their own branded processes within it.

Soren explains that the platform is built in the Google Cloud, which allows for easy security and billing. The platform also provides an annual fee for consulting clients, which includes technology and consultative support. The revenue share is determined by the number of users and the different apps available. Consultants can quickly build their own SaaS application for their branded processes and tools, and sell them. This becomes an ongoing, billable opportunity, making it profitable for the consultant. 

Soren believes that having a software platform or application that supports best practices with clients is an opportunity to sustain the relationship. He suggests checking in quarterly or annually to check in on the process, modify and update it, and using the software to help build and sustain client relationships. 

Soren talks about developing a robust portfolio of work, which now  includes writing for Ink Magazine, Psychology Today, Fast Company, and books on creating a culture of innovation and leadership for innovation. He also engages in consulting, developing business strategy, and creating innovative portfolios of products and services for companies. His speaking engagements often lead to consulting and sometimes a day or two-day stay with the leadership team.

Experiential Intelligence Explained

Soren explains the concept of experiential intelligence and how it combines IQ, EQ, emotional intelligence, and experiences. It is the intelligence gained from our experiences, which are broken down into three components: mindsets, abilities, and skills. Experiential intelligence is a combination of IQ and EQ, which are essential for leadership, change management, and alignment in organizations. In today's fast-changing world, the combination of these factors is not sufficient. Soren's book highlights the importance of experiential intelligence, which is the combination of IQ and emotional intelligence. 

Experiential intelligence is a key factor in today's disruptive world, as it helps individuals develop their skills and abilities, as well as their ability to live with uncertainty or ambiguity. This experiential intelligence is not just about street smarts, but also about understanding the other dimensions of an individual's experience that are not yet recognized as such. Executive interviews often focus on a candidate's experience, such as their experience in a supply chain role. However, experiential intelligence can also be a valuable tool for leaders to understand their own mindsets and personal experiences. Experiential intelligence can be applied to both individual and team members, as it allows leaders to probe for life experiences that have shaped their abilities and contribute to the overall success of their teams. This can be particularly valuable in the hiring process and in the hiring process of existing teams. He explains that experiential intelligence is a valuable tool for leaders to understand and leverage their experiences, skills, and hidden assets, outside of their resume, to create a more effective and successful team. 

Building a Robust Corporate Culture

Soren emphasizes the importance of understanding and applying culture to create corporate culture. Culture is created from people's experiences, which reinforce assumptions about what is good or bad and the environment. Leaders can intervene by changing experiences and reshaping assumptions and culture. One way to do this is to look at and scale best practices within the organization. This involves identifying the experiential intelligence of both individuals and teams and highlighting their stories. This can be achieved through training, recognition, awards, and rewards. Another way to build teams is to recognize and leverage assets that may not be fully appreciated within teams. He shares the example of a Fortune 1000 company team after the COVID pandemic. This process allowed the larger department to identify new assets and apply them to their business strategy. This empowering process allowed people to surface their individual strengths, see how they contribute to the team, and apply them into the organization's future business strategy.

Soren shares exercises that anyone can use to reflect on their own experiences and inventory their mindsets, abilities, and know-how. He suggests using this information to identify gaps, seek out other experiences, or realize their capabilities that they weren't fully utilizing, and he offers a personal example. He suggests thinking back on the experiences that have the biggest impact on their trajectory in life, whether they are difficult or positive. This can help them live with ambiguity, which is essential for startups and decision-making. Soren's experiences have helped him coach leaders and understand culture quickly. The next level involves dividing experiences into positive and challenging ones, focusing on the mindsets and skills that were learned from them. This baseline can be used to reassess how to use these experiences to improve performance, create new service offerings, or contribute to their team or others.  


01:10 Why Soren started

04:44 The product development process of

13:41 How the Praxie platform works for consultants

15:58 How billing works for consulting companies

23:47 Experiential intelligence and how it works

32:48 How leaders can intervene and reshape culture

37:48 Developing experiential intelligence through difficult and challenging experiences.



Unleashed is produced by Umbrex, which has a mission of connecting independent management consultants with one another, creating opportunities for members to meet, build relationships, and share lessons learned. Learn more at