Heather Fraser (Keynote Speaker), Co-Founder of Rotman DesignWorks, Professor of Business Design, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Founder and CEO, Vuka Innovation, Inc.
A seasoned strategist, entrepreneur and educator, Heather is a global thought leader in Business Design with a passion for healthcare innovation. She co-founded Rotman DesignWorks with Roger Martin in 2005 and served as its Executive Director through 2012. She has cultivated Business Design as a discipline, designed and delivered MBA student curricula and led innovation programs for over 3,000 executives internationally. Her clients include Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, General Electric and Target, and healthcare teams at Pfizer, University Health Network, Princess Margaret Hospital and Medtronic.
Heather’s work builds on her 25-year track record for insight, innovation and results that combine business acumen and creativity with designing new ways to create value. Her book, Design Works: How to Tackle Your Toughest Innovation Challenges through Business Design, gives a balanced and pragmatic view of how organizations committed to innovation and value creation can infuse design principles and practices into planning and development. Endorsed by Dr. Robert Bell, President and CEO, University Health Network, Business Design “teaches leaders how to engage these principles in tackling chronic problems and initiating change in the public or private sector … and … discusses why these methods are important.”
These principles have been successfully applied to solving a wide range of strategic and tactical challenges, including the redesign of the patient experience at Princess Margaret Hospital’s Chemotherapy Day Unit. In the words of Sarah Downey, Vice-President of PMH at the time, “Business Design allowed us to unlock the creativity of staff and to empower our patients – not just in designing a space – but rather in developing a new patient and staff experience.”
In 2012, Heather founded Vuka Innovation to expand this work beyond the academic realm. As the driving force behind Vuka, she ensures that organizations push their thinking and realize their full capacity to innovate. She continues to be active in public education as Adjunct Professor, Researcher and Business Design Expert in Residence at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.