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2018 Innovation Governance Program Recap

by The Directors College Team | Apr 16, 2018

It seems like a long time has passed by since The Directors College held its inaugural Innovation Governance Special Program. In fact it was only this past April that students and faculty gathered in Kitchener Waterloo to tackle this topic.

Led by Dr. Michael Hartmann, Principal Faculty of The Directors College and Jean-Philippe Deschamps, Emeritus Professor of Innovation Management at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland students.

During this two and a half day event students and faculty covered key topics including:

  • Emerging disruptive technologies and navigating digital disruption

  • Innovation and leadership and the role of the board

  • Ethics and innovation and balancing innovation risks and opportunities

  • Strategic approaches and tools and design thinking in the boardroom

For the 14 participants in this pioneering training program, it was an eye-opening two and a half days – from mind-bending technology to the probing insight of thought leaders -- and important to their development as directors.

Recaps from Faculty and Students

We have program recaps to share about this educational experience including: Is your Board prepared for the Digital Age? This post by Dr. Hartmann gives you a behind the scenes look at why watching episodes of Black Mirror, a pre-read assignment for students, helped set the tone for discussions on disruption, digital transformation and innovation.

There were many mind opening conversations stoked by provoking statements including:

 "Within four decades, the human brain will not be able to distinguish between physical and virtual realities" - Alfredo Tan, Chief Digital Innovation Officer, WestJet

“Most directors are of an age that they did not grow up in the world they now have to govern. They actually must go back to school and relearn their jobs.” - Dr. Blair Sheppard, Global Leader, Strategy and Leadership Development at PwC and Dean Emeritus of Duke University's Fuqua School of Business

You can read Dr. Hartmann’s full article and find out what Black Mirror episodes to watch here.

Next, we wanted to share a story about two of the students who attended this year’s Innovation Governance program.


  • Leah Fricke is an Australian lawyer and independent director who came halfway around the world – to Kitchener-Waterloo – to brave the cold inclement Canadian spring to dive into the challenge of innovation to boards of directors. For Fricke it was part of her continuous intellectual and cultural exploration outside her own comfort zone.

  • Judith Athaide, a director and energy industry consultant based in Calgary, sees an onrushing demand for innovation thinking in companies she both advises and serves as a director. “I am finding that all the organizations in which I am involved are seeing the importance of innovation – and how the cycle of innovation is speeding up.” After the program, Athaide spoke for everyone: “I hope it will change my performance as a director.”

Read the full story here The Beach or Innovation Governance?

Congratulations and Thank You

(Innovation Governance for Board Directors Class of 2018)

Congratulations to this year’s alumni from the Innovation Governance for Directors Program (pictured above) and thank you to faculty members and the following program speakers for sharing their insights:.

  • Rob Burgess, Director, Adobe Systems Inc. and Former Chairman, Macromedia Inc.

  • John Dalla Costa, Founding Director at the Centre for Ethical Orientation

  • Philip Evans, Senior Advisor at The Boston Consulting Group and BCG Fellow

  • Lloyd Komori, Former Senior Vice President, Risk Management at OMERS Administration Corporation

  • Barry Libert, CEO, Founder of OpenMatters and Board Member, Digital Advisor of Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.

  • Dr. Blair Sheppard, Global Leader, Strategy and Leadership Development at PwC and Dean Emeritus of Duke University's Fuqua School of Business

  • Alfredo Tan, Chief Digital Innovation Officer, WestJet and Former Facebook Executive

  • Karel Vredenburg, Director, IBM Design

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MORE: Learn about the The Directors College Innovation Governance Special Program here

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