Dan Kowalski

Thinking Catalyst working with executives and cross-functional teams to solve difficult business problems


Mr. Kowalski learned Systems Thinking while earning his BS in Environmental Engineering at Syracuse University. Working as both an external and internal consultant throughout his career, he helps people resolve their toughest problems by asking tough and insightful questions to address the real issues.


Most recently Mr. Kowalski worked for Mars, Inc. as in internal consultant for strategy execution and long-term innovation. Known as a “Consulting MacGyver” he is known for framing issues so that people understand what to address and how to resolve it.


While at Mars he worked with a team of technical experts charged with deciding on a solution who were hung up on a point they thought was vital. Namely, they believed that paying for knowledge they already had was a waste of money and could do it on their own. Using some precise questioning he reframed the decision so they could see the solution needed to provide answers as quickly as possible. Their approach would have taken five years. The solution they ultimately chose would do it in one.


In addition to using Systems Thinking Mr. Kowalski uses numerous other techniques to help his clients. These include Kepner-Tregoe’s Problem-Solving and Decision-Making processes; Dialogue Mapping to address wicked problems; Dan Roam’s visual thinking tools; Analytical Hierarchy Process for decision making, and Barbara Minto’s Pyramid Principle to focus thinking to name a few.


Mr. Kowalski is a specialist in helping individuals and teams resolve their toughest business problems—

  • Framing decisions to address the true need versus selecting the easy, usually sub-optimal solution.

  • Preventing knee-jerk reactions, especially when time is tight and decisions are critical.

  • By-passing unintended consequences by broadening perspective to consider all angles.

  • Gaining clarity in highly ambiguous situations to resolve problems effectively.


He has an uncanny ability to ask just the right, and often tough, questions to help people uncover the real issues. Known for asking questions that others did not think to ask, and reframing issues to give people a different angle. Mr. Kowalski uses his vast knowledge of issue resolution, facilitation and coaching techniques to have just the right tool or approach to forge a pathway for what to do and how to do it.