2 days, 16 speakers, practical inspiration and plenty of surprises!
Register for Spark Toronto
Day 1 – June 7
Telus Room
Day 2 – June 8
Telus Room
Telus Room
Telus Room
08:00 - 08:40
Registration and Networking

The first 80 registrants will get a copy of Andrew Guy’s fantastic Work Your Words book. Here are the directions for getting to the Science Centre. Sparkers of Change will be roaming around the venue to help you get situated if it’s your first time here!

08:40 - 08:45
Welcome Message
08:45 - 09:45
Are You Listening to the Whispers of Your Heart?

Are you looking to grow, expand, and learn new things? Are you ready for a little more adventure in your life or work? Are you ready to spark change? Then, I have only one question for you:

Are you listening to the whispers of your heart?

In this session, dive into your soul’s deepest calling and discover if you are answering its call. Learn the art and science of following your heart and treading the path of serendipity, open-heartedness, and non-linear discovery.

It will not only enhance your personal life, it can enliven and transform your professional career.

Vikas Narula
Founder, Keyhubs
09:45 - 10:00

We’ll have a barista station because we believe conferences should stop serving bad coffee.

10:00 - 10:30
Create widespread change with minimal strategic effort. Surpass the tipping point by leveraging your key influencers

Leading multiple and often continuous change initiatives requires change leaders to resiliently manage their time and energy while creating widespread change that sticks in the organization. Change leaders can achieve that goal by strategically focusing their energy on a select few influencers. In doing so, leaders can help create compelling movements for change across organizational levels that are driven by the critical mass who were empowered to create change despite the cultural and financial limitations of the organization.

Sandeep Auija
Change Strategist and Speaker
10:30 - 11:00
The Future is Open: Open Systems Thinking


Open Systems thinking is a theory, a way of being, as well as a proven change process to help hierarchical organizations to re-design themselves and move toward cooperative and more equitable models of working, relating, leading and continuously learning together. “Control and predict” is a leadership and governance style that is quickly revealing its limitations, especially among technical teams developing complex, knowledge-based virtual solutions. So what are the alternatives?
Tracey Peever
11:00 - 11:15

We’ll have a barista station because we believe conferences should stop serving bad coffee.

11:15 - 12:15
Building a more adaptive and humane workforce

Mark Raheja is a founder of August — an NYC and London-based organization design and transformation consultancy that partners with large institutions to help change the way they lead, organize and work.

Inspired by a deep commitment to reinventing organizations, Mark is sought out by leadership teams around the world as a speaker, advisor and coach. For over fifteen years, he has worked closely with Fortune 500 leaders — including at Google, Chanel, GE and PepsiCo — helping them transition to a faster, more adaptive and human operating model.

Beyond his ongoing participation as a keynote in the Lean Startup speaker series, and recent talks at Creative Mornings and EDIT in Toronto, Mark recently co-designed and taught a masterclass in Responsive Organization Design which was refined through workshops at Harvard and Yale.

Mark Raheja
12:15 - 12:45

Special thanks to The Food Dudes for supplying lunch! Menu coming soon, if you have any allergies, let us know!

12:45 - 13:00
Lean Coffee

Don’t worry, for those who’d prefer to not talk to anyone, sessions will resume 1:00pm, but just in case you’d like to keep the energy going, and you’re a fast eater, join us for Lean Coffee!

13:00 - 13:15
A Surprise!

If you’ve been to spark before, you know our surprises are awesome! Plus we don’t want people slipping into food comas after lunch!

13:15 - 13:45
Crushing Learning Cultures and Creating Learning Legacies

With the advancements in technology that have allowed us to deep dive into how the brain learns, the ways in which we develop, integrate and create organizational learning, is taking a massive shift. In this session, come along to experience the evolution in the ways that this Learning Pirate is taking training and development from a corporate culture to a legacy.

This talk will engage the curiosity of the audience as we journey through past adventures in learning to create a map for the legacies of the future. Leave pondering why a shift from learning cultures and activities to building in a legacy, just may be the journey you’re looking for.

Lauren Waldman
Learning Pirate
13:45 - 14:15
Multiple Intelligence Theory in Agile Environments

Agile teams are always working to discover how they can work best together. By exploring Dr. Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence, we can discover new ways of understanding our teams. With this understanding, we can better adjust how we work to improve teams.

Thank you to Stuart for being this year’s Emergent Speaker!

Stuart Oakley
Agile Coach and 2018 Spark Emerging Speaker!
14:15 - 14:30

We’ll have a barista station from Espresso Bella because we believe conferences should stop serving bad coffee.

14:30 - 15:00
Trust the Unknown

After almost 20 years working in big corporates, I have experience that I hope to inspire you with, into the direction of deep down, what we ALL already know. We are fascinated with big corporate change and often get blinded and overwhelmed with scale, but is change in big corporates really different from change in smaller organizations? Finding your groove as a change agent is hard. Sometimes we’re trained into framework, or process based thinking, and sometimes we need to rely on what our soul is guiding us towards. Soul? Yes. Every change agent has a soul, groove, mantra and principles they live by, so let’s not ignore that, but tap into it to elevate big corporate change to a new level.

Tabitha Cooper
Chief Communicator
15:15 - 16:00
Shift your culture into innovation mode with visual thinking

Alan Kay, who invented the notebook computer, famously said, “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” From Leonardo Da Vinci to Ralph Waldo Edison, inventors, scientists and innovators have used visual thinking to imagine, design and create the world as we know it today. Learn how you can inject visual thinking to help shift your organization into innovation mode!

Dave Gray
Author of Gamestorming, Liminarl Thinking, Creator of the School of Possible
08:00 - 08:40
Registration and Networking

It’s quite possible someone would have proposed a lean coffee session, or something else during registration on day 2. Such is the nature of Spark! That said, there will still be fantastic coffee thanks to Espresso Bella!

08:45 - 09:45
Break the habit and learn how to innovate in the moment

Laura will demonstrate how routine and established patterns get in the way of solutions and innovation. This session is about breaking that routine and introducing a thinking process designed to help people come up with fresh ideas. Ideas that will enable people, teams and organizations to steer toward opportunities and away from threats, therefore…Driving Agility.

We believe that every great idea begins in the moment.

This interactive and experiential session will show there are many times in our day-to-day work, that we are confronted with a challenge, but we miss the opportunity. We either are blinded by the challenge or we label them as an obstacle and select a reaction from the archives. This space between the stimulus and the reaction is the moment. It is a moment that requires a new mindset. We can be either reactive or creative. How we react is determined by our perspective. Do we see this new world as one with opportunities, or endless obstacles? If we encounter change and are reactive, there will be a very high price to pay. If an individual can become aware of the moments in their work and see the opportunity in the moment, then we can drive agility, be adaptive, remain relevant and stay ahead of dynamic change.

Laura Goodrich
Innovator, Speaker, and Coach
09:45 - 10:00

We’ll have a barista station from Espresso Bella because we believe conferences should stop serving bad coffee.

10:00 - 10:30
The Fishbowl of Perspective

Change’ – whether in personal life or in the professional walk of life – can be looked at with different lenses. Every individual’s lens is different for a different context. Every individual’s roles are different too and that allows them to take decisions accordingly. This means perspective is quite important. And that is the only thing we sometimes have control over.

Every other day we juggle with different balls of data, process, logic, creativity, structure, emotion. So the question that comes to mind is – is there a right or wrong perspective in a specific context of change? Does a perspective really matter when it comes to change especially in today’s VUCA world?

With this very interactive session, I hope we can spark a change in ourselves by

  • Drawing on our hidden creativity and talent
  • Looking through varied perspectives with ‘Visual Change Karaoke’
  • Allowing our minds to dance to the complexity of change around us and
  • Learning to deal with such varied perspectives and ‘designing’ our way forward together

Sarika is the 2017 Spark Award winner as she attended Spark the Change Toronto by robot last year!

Sarika Kharbanda
2018 Spark Award Winner!
10:30 - 11:00
Innovation, autonomy, mobility – An Experiment in Public Sector Staffing!

In 2016, Natural Resources Canada launched a pilot to test a new cloud-based model for workforce mobilization and Canada’s Free Agents was born with an initial 10 employees.  Today we have scaled to almost 60 Free Agents across three federal departments.

Our model offers employees who have been pre-screened for innovation attributes the freedom to find work that matches their skills and interests AND supports managers to rapidly hire those employees in a low-risk manner, in order to fulfill their short-term project needs.

Join Helen to hear stories of success and failure from our experiment in employee autonomy, mobility, and system change.

Helen Daniels
Talent Manager, Canada’s Free Agents
11:00 - 11:15

We’ll have a barista station from Espresso Bella because we believe conferences should stop serving bad coffee.

11:15 - 12:00
Exploring and Orchestrating Organizational Change

When you ask your colleagues, “What are you working on right now?” you will likely receive a wide array of answers: from addressing a short-term tactical issue to enabling a strategic initiative or company-wide pivot. Despite the prolific use of the phrase, “right now” does not have a common definition and is not a standard unit of measure for time.

That widely varying concept of what constitutes the present is of critical importance when exploring and orchestrating organizational change. This session will suggest principles for transitioning from the often emotionally fraught implementation of discrete transformations to a culture of continuous, coherent, value-informed change at every level (and time horizon).

Cat Swetel
12:15 - 12:45

Special thanks to The Food Dudes for supplying lunch! Menu coming soon, if you have any allergies, let us know!

12:45 - 13:00
Lean Coffee
13:00 - 13:15

If you’ve been to Spark before, you know our surprises are always awesome! Plus after lunch we don’t want people sinking into food comas!

13:15 - 13:45
Scaling Innovation Culture

Sarah and Ali will offer perspectives on what it’s like trying to be innovative when you are a small organization, and how to scale that as a company becomes bigger. Sarah has experience trying to scale that same innovation in multi-billion dollar organizations and together with Ali, they will talk through the challenges and solutions they’ve discovered that work.

Sarah McMullen
Director of Product Management
Ali Asaria
CEO, Tulip Retail. Founder,
13:45 - 15:00
The Epic Game Event

The afternoon of Day 2 will feature a couple of breakout sessions that you’re free to roam around and visit! In the past we’ve had drumming, Lego Serious Play, singing, and more and we believe the power of play and creatively has been lost in our work environments.

The Future of Work – Empathy, Failure, and Play at Work

Are you worried about the rise of robots and automation? Some jobs will be safer than others, and the skills that everyone will need can be seen in those jobs. If you’d like to learn more about why Empathy will be the #1 Job skill in 2020, why the way we respond to failure matters more than ever, and why playing at work is more than fun, come check out this talk by Ryan! Ryan will bookend an epic session on the value of empathy, failure and play at work. We will have 4 breakout sessions where attendees can try various hands-on exercises designed to help you move change forward in your organization. Then participants will have the opportunity to take the stage and show what they learned!

Drawing Together – Co-Creating Change without Words

A group of people talking around a whiteboard is an effective way to capture and share ideas across a team. Imagine how much richer the conversation is when everyone on the team has a marker in their hand and is actively contributing! Drawing is a thinking tool rather than an artistic endeavour: if you can hold a marker, you can quickly learn the skills needed to put your ideas on paper and share them with others.   In this hands-on activity, we will warm up with some basic doodling skills practice and then do a simple yet very powerful exercise to capture and share our visions for change.


Topaasia – A Game to Help Teams Jumpstart Their Performance

In keeping with our theme of experiments, Jussi Galla will join us via robot from Finland and Jason Little will co-facilitate a game called Topaasia. Is your agile transformation stuck? Are you ignoring your customers? Is your change stuck? Topaasia is a game that guides people through diverging and converging quickly in order to get to action. In this session, we’ll focus on customer experience where the players decide to choose the most interesting problems, most frustrating problems, strong areas to celebrate, or weak areas we want to improve on.

Ellen Grove
Agile Coach, and Lego Serious Play Facilitator
Ryan Burwell
Instructions Designer, and Educator
Jussi Galla
The Finnish Game Guy
15:15 - 16:00
Work Your Words: Finding Your Pathway To Personal Success

Discover how to build courage, dream bigger, live label-free, and find your area of “giftedness” to change your life now. Both failure and success are product of the mind; therefore, your limitations exist only by the way you think, and your world is created through the words you speak. Changing your thinking changes your words, and right-speaking changes your way of living. “YOU” have the power to change “YOUR LIFE.” No more excuses!

Andrew Guy
Author, International Speaker, and Leadership Coach
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Special Guests

We are pleased to have donated 5 tickets to The Knowledge Society which is a school dedicated to helping 13 – 17 year old become technical leaders!

Send Your Team

This year we offered Send Your Team Packages and would like to thank the following companies for sending their teams to Spark Toronto!