Paradoxically, while colleges and universities are the epicentres of research breakthroughs that upend paradigms and transform our world on a daily basis, they are simultaneously bastions of centuries-old academic culture that resist political tides and fashionable trends. Collegial self-governance, peer review, and consensus-driven decision-making have helped ensure academia’s longevity, but have also created some of the most cautious, conservative, and risk-averse organizations in modern society. A community of perfectionist, sharp-witted, independent thinkers can derail any change initiative with endless research questions and infinite debate, and will be merciless in their criticism of failed experiments. To avoid career-limiting moves, too many campus professionals opt to keep their heads down and avoid rocking the boat – but in turbulent times, the boat is already rocking: institutions need to embrace innovation and stay nimble and flexible just to survive, not to mention thrive, in the years ahead. It is necessary, but not sufficient, for a handful of senior administrators to possess an entrepreneurial, innovation mindset; colleges and universities must unlock the creativity and drive of staff, faculty, and students across the entire campus for an innovation culture to be sustainable. Diverse perspectives need to be brought to bear on challenges and opportunities, from under-represented and international voices, as well as external communities and industry partners. Incentives, resources, policies, and risk tolerances may need realignment. Every campus needs its innovation ecosystem to be humming like a well-oiled machine.

Summit Speaker

Ken Steele

President and Chief Futurist, Eduvation

Ken Steele is Canada’s best-known higher ed futurist, speaker, facilitator, and consultant in branding, marketing and innovation. His unique perspective has been shaped by award-winning careers as a Shakespeare scholar and instructor, technology consultant, brand strategist, market researcher, serial entrepreneur, and de facto journalist. Ken delivers keynotes and workshops to a broad range of audiences hundreds of times a year, from boards and senior administration to student groups, concerned parents, and Canada’s most powerful CEOs. He sits on eCampus Ontario’s Virtual Learning Advisory Committee, and has consulted with hundreds of colleges and universities – from New England to New Zealand.

Some 30,000 viewers and readers have come to know Ken as a definitive source of breaking news, bright ideas, strategic foresight and thoughtful insight, through several newsletters and his podcast Ten with Ken. Last Fall, Ken launched a new, forward-looking virtual community, Eduvation Circles, to provide real-time news, resources, livestreams and more – and to keep us engaged in an ongoing conversation.

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Technology Track

Session Format
Keynote Speaker Presentation (60 minutes)