Usmaan Ahmad

Usmaan Ahmad is a CMP Cambridge (CMPC) Founder and Chief Innovation Officer. 


Usmaan advises and supports leaders and teams to build the strategies, capacities and relationships they need to adapt, thrive and positively change their worlds. Usmaan brings to his clients and colleagues 20 years of experience and innovation in the areas of negotiation, conflict management, adaptive leadership, interdependence management, socio-political/geopolitical risk management, stakeholder engagement, strategic communications and  strategic relationship management. Usmaan focuses on supporting clients through processes of creative problem solving and guiding projects through the lens of design excellence. 


In his private sector consulting practice, Usmaan advises, trains, facilitates and coaches corporate executives and their teams in the art and practice of leadership, negotiation, communication and cooperation. Usmaan’s public sector practice includes contributing front-end analysis and “on-call” strategic support, assessing political developments, building partnerships and leading integrated conflict stabilization, crisis management and peace process support strategies. 


Usmaan has assisted leaders and organizations in the private, public, non-profit sectors and in politics achieve analytic, strategy, process, portfolio management, strategic communication and operational success and excellence. This includes leading expeditionary interventions in critical areas of the world, conducting on-the-ground analysis and programming to help clients better manage socio-political risks and to address the causes and consequences of conflict and instability. 


A few examples of Usmaan’s experience:


  • Served first as a program assistant and later as a colleague with Thomas Schaub, one of the world’s leading negotiators, and Prof. Roger Fisher, Founder and Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project and author of seminal works like Getting to Yes and Getting it Done (Lateral Leadership), helping to build a global network of organizations and community of practitioners dedicated to negotiation excellence.

  • Briefed and advised heads of state, special envoys, ambassadors, congressmen, parliamentarians, UN officials and think tanks on international peacebuilding, conflict stabilization and development issues and opportunities;

  • Co-led rapid response peace process support and conflict stabilization teams focused on crises and conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and South America.

  • Designed and implemented a conflict stabilization process that successfully built cooperation between opposing parties and engaged diverse stakeholders to address drivers of tensions and end a major outbreak of violence and civil unrest in Central Asia.

  • Advised a CEO of a global energy company on successful risk management, operations and alliance negotiations to protect value in complex and volatile environments.

  • Provided negotiation analysis, process design and strategic advice in support of high-level peace negotiations and expansion of regional trade relations in South Asia.

  • Created a leadership and experiential learning program to equip a global network of humanitarian leaders to respond to crises of the future. 

  • Developed a regional strategy for youth engagement and development in Afghanistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Tajikistan for a leading international development agency.

  • Initiated and scaled-up humanitarian operations and built a multi-sector economic development investment portfolio reaching more than 25,000 beneficiaries across all ten districts of the Kashmir Valley.

  • Spearheaded a volunteer humanitarian effort in response to the October 8th, 2005 earthquake disaster in Kashmir with support from The North Face, REI, Nestle, Global Giving and UPS and co-led a winter relief expedition with the North Face Athlete Team to deliver relief to remote, high altitude villages along the heavily militarized Line of Control.

  • With support from Scotland’s International Development Fund, catalyzed a youth entrepreneurship incubation ecosystem that continues to finance and facilitate the start-up of hundreds of youth-led, growth-oriented enterprises in South Asia.


Usmaan now leads CMP Cambridge’s rapid response and innovation practice. Usmaan is focused on building new partnerships and integrated solutions that put advanced analytics, cross-sector and next-gen methodologies and tools to work to address complex challenges at the intersection of the public, private, political and social sectors. Usmaan seeks out leaders, entrepreneurs, businesses, organizations, artists and movements that are on the frontlines of change. People who are not only addressing a social or market need but have the potential to reinvent our future.  Usmaan’s research is focused on the convergence of technology, strategy and storytelling and building campaigns, movements and tools to positively influence public narratives, protect brands, shape policy, inspire change, promote peace, negotiate better social contracts and support democratic solutions. 


Before forming CMP Cambridge, Usmaan worked as a Senior Consultant for CMPartners and as a Program Manager for The Bridgeway Group, where he developed, designed and implemented conflict management processes. Earlier he worked in international relief and community-led, market-driven development with Mercy Corps in South and Central Asia. Earlier in his career, Usmaan worked on various conflict management projects and initiatives with organizations such as the Conflict Management Group (CMG) in Cambridge and The Carter Center. 


Usmaan is a professional member of the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP) and the Project Management Institute (PMI). Usmaan is also a member of the Adaptive Leadership Network (ALN), which seeks to advance the framework and teaching methods for leadership developed at the Harvard Kennedy School. He has a Certificate in Advanced Design Thinking from IDEO. Usmaan received his BA in Archaeology and Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, where he also pursued studies in Political Science. He received his Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University with a focus on international negotiation and conflict resolution and public international law.