Get out your compass, put away your map

with Marjorie Brans & Kevin Hooper

As government, non-profits, and large businesses evolve and respond to a seemingly ever-changing landscape of disruptive innovation, employees are asked to move swiftly and confidently into new ways of collaborating and meeting their organizational missions, often with smaller and smaller budgets. Proven organizational models offer a “map” by which staff can navigate well-known terrain, but by definition, in uncharted territory, no one has a map; only a compass will tell us if we are headed in the right direction.

Intrapreneurs are an organization’s entrepreneurial leaders known for using their gut and wits to guide them. They know not only how to navigate new terrain, but also to survive and thrive with whatever resources are on hand.

This program stream is for aspiring and practicing Intrapreneurs who want to develop their personal navigational compass.

The framework we will use is the concept of Unlearning. The goal of Unlearning is to challenge deeply-held cognitive biases and cultural assumptions that inhibit meaningful progress toward personal and societal goals. Unlearning invites participants to examine their default concepts, theories, and problem-solving approaches. Once participants develop a sharper problem-solving lens, they are far more confident in making courageous, personal choices and seeing economic, social, and environmental opportunity where others see obstacles.

Among the topics that will be covered are higher-order problem solving, frugal innovation, cognitive flexibility, and interest-based negotiation.

Read Marjorie’s article, Unlearning in a 21st Century Economy: Lessons from a Vietnamese Spring Roll.


Marjorie Brans is Co-Managing Director of the School for Social Entrepreneurs Ontario and Catalyst for the League of Intrapreneurs Canada. She is your average Vietnamese-Chinese-German-Scottish-Irish girl with small-town Southern roots. The Environmental Defence Green Champion of 2017 and Winner of the Spirit of Michael Young Award, she is a serial social entrepreneur and intrapreneur. For the last 20 years, she has obsessively wondered: “Can free market efficiency be reconciled with deep care for the planet and all of its creatures?” Seeking an elusive answer, she has hunted for clues on five continents by consulting to and advising Fortune 500 multinational corporations, venture capital funds, tiny social businesses, and charities including Oxfam America and Harvard Law School.

To recruit fellow explorers for the quest, she (co)founded the School for Social Entrepreneurs Ontario, League of Intrapreneurs Canada, CLARION (Community-Led Action to Resilience in our Neighbourhoods), and PhotoVoice (US).

Despite their tired feet, Marjorie and her co-travelers suspect the answer is “yes.”

Kevin Hooper is a committed community advocate and a firm believer in the “wisdom of crowds.” In his role as Manager of Partnerships and Community Development with United Way Halifax, he is engaged in addressing issues of poverty, housing insecurity, and social equity from a systems level perspective.  Kevin is the father of three spirited children and the inexplicably lucky partner of the most wonderful woman in the universe.

Susan Szpakowski