Duncan Wardle

  • Former Head of Innovation and Creativity at Disney
  • Founder of iD8 & innov8

As Head of Innovation and Creativity at Disney, Duncan and his team helped Imagineering, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and Disney Parks to innovate, creating magical new storylines and experiences for consumers around the globe.

As founder of iD8 & innov8 he now brings his extensive Disney experience to audiences around the world using a very unique approach to Design Thinking, that not only places the end user at the core of the creative thinking process, but also looks in new and usual places to uncover insights for innovation, helping people capture unlikely connections, leading to fresh thinking and disruptive ideas.

Delivering a series of keynotes, workshops and ideation forums, his unique Design Thinking process helps companies embed a culture of innovation into everyone’s DNA.

Duncan is a multiple Ted X speaker and contributor to Fast Company Magazine. He teaches Master Classes at Yale, the University of North Carolina, Duke University, and the University of Florida. In 2008 he received the American Citizen of Choice Award at the White House. In 2014 he was awarded an Hons. Doctorate from Edinburgh University in Scotland. He also holds the Duke of Edinburgh Award presented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

 

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In one word I would explain Duncan’s creativity training as transformative. One day with Duncan created more than a year of conversation and fresh approaches to brainstorming throughout our agency.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Duncan Wardle
  • Orlando Magic
  • TEDx Lady Bird Lake
  • International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions
  • Pacific Gas and Electric
  • Princess Cruises
  • Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  • Carstar
  • Path to Purchase Institute
  • Coyne PR
Keynote - The Theory of Creativity | TEDxAUK [17:52] - Get Sharable Link
Explore Duncan Wardle's Talks
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Think Different

In his over 25-year career at the world’s most innovative organization – The Walt Disney Company – keynote speaker Duncan Wardle learned many important things about building a profitable business and winning creative culture. The most important? If you want to be different, you have to think differe ...

In his over 25-year career at the world’s most innovative organization – The Walt Disney Company – keynote speaker Duncan Wardle learned many important things about building a profitable business and winning creative culture. The most important? If you want to be different, you have to think different.

As one of the most impactful creativity speakers, Duncan leans on his experiences as the Head of Innovation & Creativity at Disney to take audiences on a journey. Throughout Think Different, they’ll be given a unique set of Innovation Tools and Techniques – the same ones Duncan used with teams inside the Disney organization. These include the breakthrough “What If” creative thinking tool, made famous by Walt Disney himself, who used it to pivot his company from simply an animation house to an entertainment and theme park pioneer.

After this immersive crash course from the acclaimed creativity keynote speaker, your organization’s ability to mine for creativity and innovation will be drastically improved. In the end, your audience will leave with an actionable set of steps they can take to immediately start reshaping your company’s culture, creating a space where innovation thrives, and teams are encouraged and rewarded when they think different.

Embedding Innovation Into Everyone’s DNA

Innovation is not something that happens by chance. It’s the result of building an environment in which it can thrive. Duncan Wardle knows a thing or two about fostering an environment of innovation. During his time as the Head of Innovation for a company known for redefining pretty much every indus ...

Innovation is not something that happens by chance. It’s the result of building an environment in which it can thrive.

Duncan Wardle knows a thing or two about fostering an environment of innovation. During his time as the Head of Innovation for a company known for redefining pretty much every industry they touch – The Walt Disney Company – Duncan’s decades of success weren’t merely a matter of luck or chance. No, his results were a direct reflection of his ability to create an innovative culture, and ensure that everyone on his teams were put in a position to let their inner creativity run wild.

In his Embedding Innovation Into Everyone’s DNA keynote, Duncan will share the exact steps and strategies used to create such an environment. Your team will learn how to create safe spaces for taking creative risks, ensure everyone on your team is empowered and thinking like an entrepreneur, and transition from the ideation stage into action. He’ll also share a creative problem-solving tool called “What Else,” which will prime your organization to discover innovative ideas each and every time you set out to tackle a challenge.

In the end, your team will walk away from this keynote with a fresh outlook on their day to day tasks, and be ready to approach them with new levels of creative thinking, allowing innovation to flourish.

Customer Experience Magic

The best brands in the world don’t thrive simply because of their great product or service. They thrive because of an unrelenting passion and focus on customer experience. Throughout Customer Experience Magic, creativity keynote speaker Duncan Wardle will show your audience what can happen when your ...

The best brands in the world don’t thrive simply because of their great product or service. They thrive because of an unrelenting passion and focus on customer experience.

Throughout Customer Experience Magic, creativity keynote speaker Duncan Wardle will show your audience what can happen when your organization transitions from a product-centric focus to a customer-centric one, and the steps you’ll need to take to get there. He’ll share a famous real-world example from his time as the Head of Innovation and Creativity at The Walt Disney Company, where they found themselves facing challenges brought on not by their direct competitors, but by retail behemoth Amazon, whose lightning-fast fulfillment and delivery systems drastically changed how long consumers were willing to wait to be served.

As Duncan walks your audience through this example, he’ll share the exact steps they took to turn this problem into a massive opportunity, and how they used it to reshape the way Disney serves its theme park guests, creating a whole new echelon in customer experience. A new level of experience that’s frequently deemed to be “magic” by their guests.

By the end of this interactive presentation, your audience will have developed a whole new understanding of customer experience, and will be able to reframe all the challenges facing your organization, finding those unique opportunities to create some customer experience magic.

Workshop

  Duncan Wardle works with individual client companies to deliver bespoke solutions, including keynotes and workshops. Below is just one example summary of a successfully delivered workshop. Design Thinking, The Disney Way – Every wanted to know how Walt Disney came up with the idea for a D ...

 

Duncan Wardle works with individual client companies to deliver bespoke solutions, including keynotes and workshops. Below is just one example summary of a successfully delivered workshop.

Design Thinking, The Disney Way – Every wanted to know how Walt Disney came up with the idea for a Disneyland, or how Pixar created a cullture that empowers creativity? Or perhaps found yourself amazed at how some companies develop killer insights that enabled them to break into major new categories. Building on some 25 years of experience with The Walt Disney Company, most recently as Vice President of Innovation and Creativity, Duncan Wardle creates an engaging keynote/workshop presentation that will not only answer these questions but leave you with a new set of easy to use tools, to enable you to take on your challenges in new and different ways that deliver tangible results.

The Keynote/Workshop presentation will include the following Creative Behaviors and Innovation Tools:

The Creative Behaviors

Nurturing – this behavior is all about growing an idea together so it evolves to become “our idea” vs “my idea,” which is key to prevent the idea getting diluted, stuck or killed as it moves to execution.
Playfulness – here the audience will learn to focus on how to get into the right Brian State required for Innovation & Creativity at work.
Telegraphing – this behavior will help set the audience up for success in creating the right environment for ideation, whether it’s an Expansionist or Reductive thinking session.
Intuition – this is all about helping people dial up empathy for your consumer and ensuring that all the ideas they develop are embedded in Consumer Truth.
Mindfulness – this behavior shows people how to move between their conscious and unconscious brain to develop “Moon Shot” Thinking.
Curiosity – is all about helping people understand the importance of unplanned collaboration and how best to get new stimulus into their lives to develop new ideas.
Bravery – the final Creative behavior for the Keynote/Workshop will focus on the need to be Brave and take smart risks by skilling them with a series of tangible Innovation Tools to give them the confidence to be Brave.

The Innovation Tools

What If? – by asking what if the Rules didn’t apply, learn how you can get out of your River of Expertise and think differently by challenging sacred cows.
Where Else? – looking around the world of innovation to see where else your challenge has already been solved and borrowing back the underlying principles to help solve your challenge.
Who Else? – using different perspectives to come at your challenge from a completely different angle.
How Else? – rewording your challenge to get people’s minds to a different place.
Storyboard – here the audience will learn how to land a complete idea that engages both introverts and extroverts.
Naive Observers™ – leverages the brain power of the most unlikely sources to get you out of your “River of Expertise” to come up with new and unique ideas.
Wheel of Wonder™ – a tool that helps identify ideas that are embedded in consumer insight and most likely to drive the business.

Deliverables

Participants will learn:

  • How to use unique Creative Behaviors instilled @ Disney to established a culture that embraces innovation & creativity.
  • How to use Design Thinking Innovation Tools to “Think Different.”
  • How to integrate all three key learning styles; visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
  • How to engage both extrovert and introverted thinkers.
  • How to lead a variety of Energizers to move the team into a Creative Brain state for ideation.
  • To develop a common language around Innovation & Creativity moving forward.

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Biography

As Head of Innovation and Creativity at Disney, Duncan and his team helped Imagineering, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and Disney Parks to innovate, creating magical new storylines and experiences for consumers around the globe.

As founder of iD8 & innov8 he now brings his extensive Disney experience to audiences around the world using a very unique approach to Design Thinking, that not only places the end user at the core of the creative thinking process, but also looks in new and usual places to uncover insights for innovation, helping people capture unlikely connections, leading to fresh thinking and disruptive ideas.

Delivering a series of keynotes, workshops and ideation forums, his unique Design Thinking process helps companies embed a culture of innovation into everyone’s DNA.

Duncan is a multiple Ted X speaker and contributor to Fast Company Magazine. He teaches Master Classes at Yale, the University of North Carolina, Duke University, and the University of Florida. In 2008 he received the American Citizen of Choice Award at the White House. In 2014 he was awarded an Hons. Doctorate from Edinburgh University in Scotland. He also holds the Duke of Edinburgh Award presented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.