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13 Things We Learned at Innovation Day

by Brightworks Marketing Team - March 17, 2017

Once a year, Brightworks hosts a complimentary one-day conference for clients, staff and industry friends.

Brightworks Innovation Day isn’t your average ad-industry conference. It’s a truly inspiring experience thanks to its consistently diverse line-up of smart, talented, creative and just plain interesting people. It’s our way of saying “thank you” to clients and staff, and it serves as a source of creative inspiration throughout the year.

This year’s event took place March 1st at Toronto’s Design Exchange – and it just may have been the best one yet! Talks covered a variety of topics ranging from leadership to robots and everything in between. Check out our recap below!



Speaker 1: Drew Dudley | Founder & Chief Catalyst, Day One Leadership 


The talk: Everyday Leadership

The takeaway: We need to redefine leadership. We’ve made leadership about changing the world when it’s really just about changing one person’s understanding of the world.

The quote: “Recognize that simple doesn’t mean little.”


Speaker 2: Chakameh Shafii | CMO, TranQool


The talk: The Persona Crisis

The takeaway: Everyone has an online persona and a private persona. Marketers are appealing to people’s inauthentic online behaviour rather than their true values.

The quote: “We’re marketing to the wrong people.”


Speaker 3: Ted Graham | Head of Open Innovation, General Motors


The talk: The Uber of Everything: How the Freed Market Economy is Disrupting and Delighting

The takeaway: A whole generation is being conditioned to a “Freed Market Economy” way of life centred upon exponential inventory (things we own but don’t use and can lend out), trust (communities with verified ratings) and profit (customer value/surge pricing).

The quote: “By 2020, more than 50% of the workforce will be freelance (aka have a ‘side hustle’).”


Speaker 4: Rahul Raj | CMO & Startup Advisor 


The talk: Solve for Happy by Finding Your Work Tribe

The takeaway: The people you engage with shape your happiness. We need to recognize the importance of choosing who you work with and finding your work tribe.

The quote: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”


Speaker 5: Eric Beynon | President, Sustainable Growth Co.


The talk: Lessons from the CarbonXPRIZE: How to Drive Innovation to Solve the World’s Challenges

The takeaway: The CarbonXPRIZE competition asks innovators around the world to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. Its success shows that people are inherently competitive, re-framing a question can encourage big thinking and a simple question can be a powerful magnet for innovative ideas.

The quote: “People are built to compete.”


Speaker 6: Jason Reid | Co-Founder & CEO, Giftagram

Jason Reid

The talk: Giftagram: Making it Easy to Be Thoughtful

The takeaway: The Giftagram app lets you send great gifts from your smartphone. By studying global gifting trends and curating their gifts thoughtfully, they’ve grown rapidly in popularity.

The quote: “We deliver happiness.”


Speaker 7: Jared Ficklin | Futurist + Creative Technologist, Argodesign


The talk: Form Follows Me

The takeaway: Computer technology has evolved from simple “command/control” functions to having “intelligence/collaboration” capabilities. As we put more and more faith in computers to make our decisions, ethics becomes increasingly important.

The quote: “Did you really wish someone a ‘happy birthday’ if Facebook presented you with the button to do so?”


Speaker 8: Nick Parish | President, Americas, Contagious


The talk: What’s Contagious Now: Machine Learning and Humanized Computing

The takeaway: Machine learning is increasingly making its way into the sharing economy – and it’s created the biggest business opportunity in history.

The quote: “If you can create data, you can use machine learning.”


Speaker 9: Robert Lendvai | CMO, Flixel Photos


The talk: Photography Has Evolved: Learn How Cinemagraphs Have Transformed Digital Marketing

The takeaway: People are visual by nature – now more than ever. Flixel software lets you create eye-catching “living photos” that generate incredible online engagement rates.

The quote: “Still images don’t hold our attention like they used to.”


Speaker 10: Shauna Levy | President & CEO, Design Exchange


The talk: The Future of Design

The takeaway: So many of the world’s biggest challenges are design problems. When design, innovation and technology come together, incredible things happen.

The quote: “This is the new definition of design.”


Speaker 11: Alexandra Reeves & Anna Melnyk | Founders, EmojiHealth


The talk: Ifs, Nos and Bots

The takeaway: The majority of teenagers don’t actively manage their health. EmojiHealth is a messaging platform that sends the right messages to teens at the right time to encourage better health management.

The quote: “A lot of teens would rather talk to a messaging bot than their doctor.”


Speaker 12: Sarena Ally | CMO, Bunz


The talk: Future Markets and the Business of Barter

The takeaway: Bunz is so much more than a marketplace to trade things. The trades may be the catalyst – but it’s the real-life connections that make it a thriving community.

The quote: “People are still good. Superheroes are among us.”


Speaker 13: Daniel Lerner | Instructor, NYU


The talk: Passionately Successful

The takeaway: Success does not equate to happiness. If you want to be happily successful, you need to cultivate a harmonious passion based on doing something for yourself rather than doing it for other people.

The quote: “Choose easy. Work hard.”


So there you have it! 13 amazing speakers. 13 fascinating talks.

You can learn more about our speakers at and see photos from the day on the Brightworks Facebook page.

Have questions about the day? Don’t hesitate to get in touch – we always love meeting new people!


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