Why me?

A Little About Myself


I was grounded in design and design thinking early in my career, at the planning school at the University of Waterloo. By the time I graduated, I had been part of the team that brought the Olympics to Calgary.

As part of a leading architectural firm, I managed the design and development process for retail, arts and scientific projects. I took these design management skills into the public service, modernizing health care administration, creating an award-winning park and community centre, bringing innovative planning solutions to thorny urban issues, and exploring the potential in private-public partnerships, privatization and community development. It is here I met Greg, Neil and some of the other characters whose stories I tell in my talks.

I shifted again, launching an innovation-oriented consulting firm. Projects covered an unlikely array of industries ranging from high-tech industrial controls to low-tech retail, from the largest firms on the planet to the smallest startup and causes imaginable. Over 10 years, I produced innovative results for 3M, HP, FedEx, Oxford Learning, Glegg Industries, a non-Bell telco, telehealth, the Canada Revenue Agency, the Credit Union system in Saskatchewan, and the Canadian Army. The thread that weaves through this enormous variety is my use of a creative process in pursuit of innovation, and combined with my previous era in design management, it is here that I tested and refined what I know about innovation culture, character and capacity.

For the next 10 years, I taught management and communications courses in colleges in Alberta and Ontario. Teaching future innovators and leaders is a special challenge, and those days in class have helped me develop and refine my ability to engage an audience. Along the way, I continued a keen interest in creativity and innovation, blending it with my interest in leadership. In 2012, I completed a graduate degree covering the traditional B-school subjects but focusing on leadership and innovation. This training has added a depth and heft to my life experience in innovation.

Contact James today to learn more

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I believe everyone has the potential to be creative and that every organization has the potential to innovate and excel. In people, that creative capacity often gets covered over, hidden or misplaced and needs to be recovered. In organizations, the capacity to innovate can get lost in the thick of thin things or get stuck in well-intentioned misadventures. I help people and organizations by speaking in public to inspire them, by facilitating training that transforms them, and writing books that guide them.


I speak to corporate and conference audiences and deliver training events. I am hard at work on a book about innovation, and when not serving clients, I serve my community as a school board trustee or relax playing jazz guitar.