Our History


ShiftGear has its origins in a chance meeting at Harley-Davidson in 1996 between Don Kieffer, who was leading the development of Harley’s Twin Cam 88 engine, and Nelson Repenning, an MIT PhD who was studying why companies weren’t using existing sophisticated tools to manage complex operations.

Don and Nelson joined forces to help deliver both the Twin Cam 88 engine project and a new product development organization. As they pushed this collaboration further, they discovered better ways to tackle many difficult challenges in the workplace.

In 2007, Don started a small consulting group and began teaching at MIT with Nelson. Nelson formally joined Don as a consulting partner in 2014.

After 20 years of building the principles and methods of Dynamic Work Design and helping organizations “design work that works,” Don and Nelson are proud to introduce ShiftGear Work Design, LLC.

ShiftGear’s Dynamic Work Design is the product of 25 years of award-winning academic research at MIT and 40 years of on-the-job experience from the shop floor to the C-suite.

Nelson Repenning

Partner, Chief Social Scientist