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Disruptive Conversations

Business & Economics Podcasts

Disruptive conversations is a blog series where I record conversations with people who are working to transform or disrupt a sector or system. Sometimes I do in-person interviews, but they are usually online.


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Disruptive conversations is a blog series where I record conversations with people who are working to transform or disrupt a sector or system. Sometimes I do in-person interviews, but they are usually online.




Ep: 101: Rethinking everything you thought you knew about facilitation. A Disruptive Conversation with Adam Kahane.

In this episode, I speak with Adam Kahane about his new book, Facilitating Breakthrough, Facilitating Breakthrough: How to Remove Obstacles, Bridge Differences, and Move Forward Together. In the conversation, several things stood out for me. Here are a few What does it mean to be a facilitator? Many years ago, when I first received training, I thought about this question a lot. Since then, I have taken its meaning for granted. Adam got me to take a second look at the word and its purpose....


Ep: 100: Creating a flywheel? A Disruptive Conversation with Paul Desmarais III.

In this conversation with Paul Desmarais III, we talk a lot about Disruption. In this episode, he shared many unique insights. Here are a few that stood out for me. What is Disruption? Naturally, this podcast has explored the word Disruption and what it means. Paul describes it as adding more people into the majority. He even said it was like growth. This idea that Disruption is about breaking things needs to change. The idea that we are going to dismantle entire industries is not helpful....


S3: Ep. 99: Why we need philosophers in the board room? A Disruptive Conversation with Christian Madsbjerg.

Christian Madsbjerg is a professor at the New School for Social Research in New York City, where he teaches German and French philosophy from the 20th century. He has also founded a company called Red Associates. Red Associates is a Social Science-based or anthropology-based company to advise on human behaviour and how humans make sense of the world, and what is meaningful and important to them from the level of experience. In this conversation, we explore perspectives on the role of social...


S3: Ep. 98: Conversations create a new way of seeing. A Disruptive Conversation with Paul Pangaro

Paul Pangaro has a deep interest in the relationship between machines and people. He describes himself as an interaction designer, pragmatist and practitioner. He thinks, like me, believes if you have a good theory, you can then make progress. Currently, he teaches at Carnegie Mellon in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute there. In this conversation, talk about how conversations help us make sense of the world. Several things stood out for me, and here are just a few of...


S3: Ep. 97: Be a billionaire of influencing positive outcomes. A Disruptive Conversation with Joel Solomon

Joel Solomon is a financial activist and co-founder of a mission venture capital firm called Renewal Funds. He is also the author of The Clean Money Revolution: Reinventing Power, Purpose, and Capitalism. In this episode, we explore many a wide range of topics. Here are some of the things that stood out for me. How do we make money a force for good? The question can seem so simple. It is loaded. In our conversation, Joel and I discuss the notion that money as a force for good should be...


S3: Ep. 96:We build our world conversation by conversation. A Disruptive Conversations with Elizabeth Stokoe.

Elizabeth Stokoe is a conversational analyst. This means she studies conversation in the wild. She looks at real-life conversations works to understand how talk works. Her work focuses on social interactions. What are people doing as they interact? Here are some of the highlights from our conversation. We build our world through social interactions. This may seem obvious, yet so few of us pay attention to the things we do and say daily. I have come to believe that the things we say and do...


S3: Ep. 95: Bringing out the best in others is not a logical endeavour.A Disruptive Conversations with Dr Larry Richard.

Dr Larry Richard is a former Lawyer, who now works to understand what makes Lawyers tick. In our conversation, he shares his findings from his work with lawyers. His major insight is that skills and tools that make Lawyers good at law do not necessarily make them good leaders. In analyzing a variety of personality assessment tools, he found that Lawyers tend to be overrepresented in various traits. For example, when you analyze a population using the Caliper tool, you usually get most people...


S3: Ep. 94:What is the default setting for your conversations? A Disruptive Conversations with Daniel Stillman.

In this conversation with Daniel, you hear from two people who are really fascinated with understanding conversations. We take a practical and philosophical journey thinking about and exploring our current thoughts on conversations. Here are some of the things that stood out for me in this conversation. We are designing conversations all the time. If you have ever asked a friend to read an email, you are about to send. If you thought to yourself “how should I say this?” If you have ever...


S3: Ep. 93: Is it okay to be you in the world? A Disruptive Conversations with Dan Doty.

Dan Doty describes himself as a father, husband, entrepreneur and outdoorsman. He is the co-founder of Everyman. A global organization that brings men together to learn and practice emotional skill sets. Men too can learn to be in touch with the vulnerable parts of life. They can learn to express as fully as possible. This conversation with Dan was an inspiring one. Here are a few of the things that stood out for me. It stops with me. Perhaps the most powerful thing I took away from this...


S3: Ep. 92:To change your life, you need to change something you do every day. A Disruptive Conversation with Liz Elam.

In this episode of Disruptive Conversations, we hear from Liz Elam, founder of the largest coworking conference in the world know as the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC). There are a number of great takeaways. Here are a few of the insights I found helpful. To change your life, you have to change something you do every day. Later in the episode, Liz shares that it took her some time to come to terms with the word alcoholic. She is now 11 years sober. When she said, “to...


S3: Ep. 91: Disrupting Robust Discrepancies. A Disruptive Conversations with Isobel Stevenson.

In this episode of Disruptive Conversations, I interview Isobel Stevenson, Director of Organizational Learning at the Connecticut Center for School Change. The Center is a nonprofit based in Hartford, Connecticut. In this conversation, we discuss a range of topics that span areas like coaching, leadership, evaluation, and even the role of gaming the system. You will need to listen to the episode to understand the last one. Some of the things that stood out for me in this interview...


S3: Ep. 90: Are you being a thought partner. A Disruptive Conversation with Hubert Saint-Onge.

In this conversation with Hubert Saint-Onge we explore a number of big ideas. Below are some of the ideas that stood out for me. Hold back your precocious advice giving. When I asked Hubert about the best lessons he has ever learned, he responded, it is about listening for what is being said? A key part of conversations is listening. Over the years, I have come to understand that listening is probably one of the best leadership skills one can work to cultivate. In this episode, Hubert...


S3: Ep. 89: Disinfect at the source. A Disruptive Conversation with David Burkus.

David Burkus has focused much of work, writing and research on how to not make work suck. A common joke in the world of organizational psychologists. He written books on creativity, networking, teams, teamwork and more recently remote work. In general, he asks, what do we think we know about work? Now that we have some ideas around that, what does the research or evidence say about what we think we know? In really enjoyed my conversations with David. Here are a few things that stood out...


Ep. 31 (Rebroadcast): Don’t confuse invention and innovation. A conversation with John Ruffolo.

In this episode, I interview John Ruffolo former Chief Executive Officer of OMERS Ventures. We explore how many of the entrepreneurs they invest in have a passion for solving a problem. He tells the story of Shopify. One of Canada’s great entrepreneurial stories. John and his team look for founders who care deeply about the problem to be solved. He explains that there is a confusion between invention and innovation. For John, he doesn’t see a lot of new invention, but rather interesting...


S3: Ep. 88: Maintaining a stance of curiosity. A Disruptive Conversation with Peter De Jong.

In this conversation, Peter and I explore how solution-focused conversation has helped to shape his view of the world. This conversation is full of beautiful insights, stories, metaphors and quotable quotes. Here are some of the things that stood out for me in the conversation. Where do we have power and influence in conversations? Peter reminded me of the power we all have in conversation. He uses an example of how someone can complain about the political views of a friend and say...


S3: Ep.87: Change Your World. A Disruptive Conversation with Michael Ungar.

Michael Unger is a professor of social work and is currently the Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. Although he began his career as a family therapist, today he is a researcher and looks at resilience in populations that under stress. He works around the world to try to understand how social and environmental factors help to foster innovation. Below are some of the things that stood out for me in this episode. What...


S3: Ep.86: Disruption starts with inside of the house expertise. A Disruptive Conversation with Aneil Gokhale.

Aneil Gokhale is the Director of Philanthropy at the Toronto Foundation. In this conversation, he and I cover a range of topics related to Philanthropy and the charitable sector. At the Foundation, he and his colleagues are trying to get people to think differently about how they give. In our conversation, we cover a range of inflexion points within the world of giving. Some of the things that stood out for me where: In a blink of an eye, you can be 40 years old and your life has passed by...


S3: Ep.85: Business Models for a better world. A Disruptive Conversation with Sarah Kaplan.

In this episode of Disruptive Conversations, I speak with Sarah Kaplan (PhD). Sarah is an innovation scholar at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She has recently written the book The 360˚ Corporation. Today, Sarah works to explore how ideas from innovation can be applied in a way that helps to create a world of social and economic justice. Although much of her work focuses on gender equality, it is clear Sarah takes an intersectional approach to her work. Here are...


S3: Ep. 84: An approach to better conversations. A Disruptive Conversation with Haesun Moon

Can we change the way people have dialogue? Can we make their interactions better? This is the simple premise of Haesun’s work. Admittedly, we share similar perspectives on the role conversations play and their potential to help people thrive. So often, we blame other people for not communicating well. When we are in fact not listening. Conversations, although we have them every day, are complex. If we are to improve our conversations, we need to be more intentional in how we enter...


S3: Ep. 83: Disrupting performative diversity and inclusion initiatives featuring Stefan Kollenber3

Stefan Kollenberg is a Co-Founder of Crescendo. Crescendo delivers tailored microlearning for every employee inside of Slack. In our conversation, we discuss a number of themes. I really struggled to summarize this conversation but some of the things that stood out for me were: Using existing platforms to deliver a novel solution. Crescendo uses Slack to deliver micro-learning within organizations. I love this idea because it reminds me a past episode with Nick Scott, where he talked...