Lee-Anne McAlear

Lee-Anne McAlear

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Business Innovation Specialist

Lee-Anne is also the founding partner of the Toronto-based innovation and leadership house, CURRENT, and a Director of the International Association of Innovation Professional – the only association offering globally recognized certifications in innovation.

Lee-Anne has worked extensively in the innovation space in over 32 countries (from the USA, Mexico and South America, through Europe, across Asia and down under in Australia) in both the public and private sectors.

She has piloted several global innovation initiatives that have, for example, delivered new approaches to brand revitalization, new methods for delivering patient care and new ways to address customer retention.

In her work at Schulich, she and her team are responsible for designing and delivering programs enhancing the innovation and leadership capabilities of executives and their people. Their programs are consistently among the top-rated at Schulich.

She is not only adventuresome in her approach to business, but she is also an adventurer in life having trekked the Himalayas, scuba-dived the Great Barrier Reef and white-water rafted in India.

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Speaking topics

Business Strategies for the 'Next Normal' Virtual Keynote

There are No Experts of the “Next Normal”

We Need a New Kind of Leader

What will it take to lead Post-COVID? How do we develop completely new business strategies and approaches for the “next normal”?

Even before COVID hit, The World Economic Forum (Job Study, 2022) captured that among the new top 10 skills needed were: Analytical thinking and innovation, active learning strategies (defined as the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn), creativity and initiative, complex problem solving and emotional intelligence.

What does this mean for the new leadership in shaping the next normal? Complexity now reigns. If there were only simple problems and simple solutions, we could thrive with a template and an algorithm. That we are biological beings in an increasingly digital world, means that critical thinking and experts are no longer enough. Experts are always experts of old stuff.

We are all interconnected. Our leaders capabilities to grasp the challenges of connectedness and complexity, to reach out to diverse stakeholders and stimulate new learning, to experiment and to pivot will be essential capabilities in framing our “next normal”.

In this highly interactive and engaging talk, Lee-Anne will build on her years of working globally in different countries, sectors and industries to animate the key leadership principles that will shape our ever-changing Post-COVID reality and our best, next strategies.

Transformation was Necessary Way Before COVID! Virtual Keynote

Winning at Transformation
In this one-hour keynote, using cases and current research, Lee-Anne McAlear, Program Director of the Center of Excellence in Innovation Leadership at The Schulich School of Business, York University, will speak to the leadership and organizational challenges that exist at all levels and the diverse solutions that can be applied.  Building on the work of Dr. Zimmerman and Dr. Glouberman at York University, Lee-Anne will make the case that it is often how we frame the issue or challenge that determines the effectiveness of our innovation initiatives.  She will highlight useful ways to strategically frame, define, visualize, and activate the diverse ambitions embedded in your innovation strategies. And begin to answer the question “How might we ensure our digital transformation is a raving success?”

Innovate Faster, Cheaper and Smarter!

Practically every company innovates and, while we would love to believe that innovation is not a messy business, we know better. Most executives will freely admit that their innovation engine doesn’t hum the way they want it to. In this dynamic and interactive talk, Lee-Anne will describe the ways successful organizations create a reliable, strategically focused innovation function.

Frugal Innovation

It’s not just about doing more with less but doing better with less. The “bigger is better’ approach to innovation is running out of steam for many reasons. Budget-constrained consumers no longer want over-engineered and costly products and services, simplicity is the new design touchstone and employees want to work on projects that matter.

Shake, Rattle and Roll – What Does it Take to Get Your Innovation Engine in Gear?

Every organization is designed to get the results it gets. Savvy leaders shape the culture of their organization to drive innovation and they know its culture that often limits performance. In this engaging, informative and exciting presentation, Lee-Anne will present the five ways to shake, rattle and roll your innovation culture to deliver the results you need.

Ideas Are Not the Problem

Walk the hall of any organization, stop almost any employee and ask them for three ideas that they believe would improve productivity or engagement or growth and stand back. Employees are idea-machines! Ideas are not the problem. The bigger question is how do we access that huge creative potential? Using cases, examples and in-room experiences, Lee-Anne will give you some hands-on ideas on how to best access employee creativity and deliver innovation.

The Positive Turbulence of Change Management

People can be managed; change cannot.  Change is supported, accelerated, resisted or led; but it is NEVER managed. It is by its very nature a non-linear, turbulent business. Change is a creative process. Leading change demands that a team leap into an ‘unpredictable’ future where nothing is certain. It requires a foundation of thoughtful planning, an understanding of the transitional process and, if it is to succeed, heightened creative awareness and action.

Workshop | Improvisation is the Heartbeat of Innovation

In this witty and wise Keynote Deborah Kimmett and Lee-Anne McAlear are a dynamic duo who will teach your organization the tools and mindset you need to go from idea, to implementation to innovation. A 70-90 minute keynote, or 1/2 day workshop this will energize and inspire your team to think and act in a new way.

Video clips

Lee Anne McAlear - Innovation

Lee Anne McAlear - Tips for innovative partnerships

Lee Anne McAlear - The importance of learning how to lead innovation

Speaker testimonials

Lee-Anne McAlear was fantastic! She was there for most of our conference and she met many of our members. Her sessions were very well received. I heard many excellent comments about her presentations. Someone said her session was the best at the conference!

CPA Saskatchewan

Lee-Anne was absolutely excellent, she’s a wonderful person. She bonded with people immediately and set a perfect tone for the event. Her presentation was excellent, it was a diverse crowd, from students to people in their 70’s – and she had everybody in the room captivated the whole way – everyone could identify with it.

Niagara College Administration

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