Claude Legrand

Claude Legrand

Practical Innovation Expert

Can organizations learn to become not just innovative, but sustainably innovative? Claude Legrand, one of North America’s top authorities on practical innovation, provides a clear road-map to embracing an on-going culture of innovation at every organizational level.

The co-author of Innovative Intelligence: The Art and Practice of Leading Sustainable Innovation in Your Organization, Legrand has shown clients―including Munich Life Reinsurance, ING Direct, Staples, Pfizer, Canadian Tire, TD Canada Trust, Novartis, Moneris, and The Bank of Montreal―to think in an innovative manner every time they need to.

Legrand is the Managing Partner of Ideaction Inc., an innovation consulting and learning company which has successfully helped organizations become more innovative for the past 25 years.

Legrand was also the founding Program Director for the Centre of Excellence in Innovation Management at the Schulich Executive Education Centre (part of the Schulich Business School) and the founding Chair of the Association of Innovation Professionals.

Create an Innovating Organization

Innovating is recognized as the key to competitive survival and growth. Despite this awareness, most organizations still find their attempts are hit and miss. Using examples from 25 years of innovation consulting experience, Claude explains why and what organizations and individuals need to do to make it a systematic part of how they operate.

The issue is that what worked yesterday won’t necessarily work today or tomorrow. To stay competitive and meet their growth goals, organizations must rapidly solve increasingly complex problems.

Complex problems aren’t the same as complicated problems. Claude explains how to know which is which and why it matters. He shows why the methods used to solve complicated problems won’t work in a world of instant communication and more and more sophisticated customer expectations.  He provides clear, practical and proven approaches you can use to tackle complex problems effectively.

Claude explains too how leaders influence whether their organization or team is innovative or not and what they can do to create and support the right environment. He helps you understand whether your culture supports or hinders innovating and how invisible processes like HR policies and how Finance sets and manages budgets influence outcomes.

You will gain a clear understanding of what you need to do to foster innovation in your team, department or organization and practical techniques you can implement immediately.

Succeed in a Complex Environment

No one wants to deal with a problem over and over again, yet in many organizations there are always some that keep coming back. Why? Because there’s so much complexity in today’s business environment and few of us have learned how to tackle it effectively.

Some companies have managed to figure out how to stop the cycle of partial solutions and rework and in the process benefit from new growth opportunities. In this presentation, Claude describes how some of his clients addressed the challenge of complexity and made change and innovating part of who they are. He’ll highlight the problems they encountered along the way and how their learning can apply to other organizations.


The audience will gain practical, applicable insights into how to solve complex issues in the demanding day-to-day operations of an established organization, all the way from developing an idea to bringing leadership on board to execution.

Define Your Corporate Ambition

We ask a lot of employees and they ask a lot of us in return. In this rapidly changing world, what they often want is a clear sense of purpose and direction, and the belief that what they do every day is making a difference. This, in theory is the role of strategic planning but often it doesn’t work. There are many reasons why.

Vision and Mission statements can be too generic and fuzzy to inspire employee enthusiasm. Yearly business planning is frequently used as a proxy for strategy because leaders believe the future is too uncertain to be able to plan over a longer horizon. Yet this short-term thinking does not help employees understand why the organization exists and how their decisions and actions make a difference.

An excellent way to address this is to define your organization’s Ambition – the beacon of what you want to be and NOT be in 7 to 10 years. Your Ambition can galvanize your organization or team to fulfil new goals or simply inspire a renewed sense of purpose. Clearer than the usual Missions or Visions, it gives the employees a distinct sense of direction. Properly developed and communicated, it will ensure strategies and decisions are aligned with critical goals and will engage employees by clearly showing them the value of what they do.

Using examples from his strategy work with major Canadian organizations, Claude will show you the power of a corporate Ambition and how to deploy it to every level of the organization.

Claude explains how to create an Ambition that is clear to all, that is specific to your organization and its market and goals and how to align your leadership team, managers and staff.

Innovative Intelligence

How would you feel if you discovered you were only using a fraction of the intelligence of the people who work in your organization? What if you knew that tapping into more of your organization’s collective intelligence would help your organization become more competitive and achieve its growth goals?

Studies of human intelligence suggest that there is more than one form.  Emotional intelligence is one that has gained prominence in the last two decades. But even that will not take organizations to where they want to go in today’s fast-paced knowledge economy. Claude Legrand, co-author with Dr David Weiss of the book Innovative Intelligence, argues that developing and using our innovative intelligence is the key to creating systematically innovative organizations that can challenge and win against increasingly intense global competition.


What is innovative intelligence and how can you tap into your own and that of your organization? In his presentation Claude uses practical examples to explain the power of innovative intelligence and how to use it. Drawing from his 25 year experience of working with organizations of all sizes, he explains how to develop and fully benefit from the innovative intelligence in every individual at every level and in every area of your organization.

This provocative, inspiring and entertaining presentation will leave you with no doubt about the power of innovative intelligence to make your organization more responsive and effective in addressing the increasing complexity of today’s operating environment.

Innovating 101

Duration: 4 hours to a day
Target Audiences: Medium to large groups of executives, managers and employees

Can anyone be innovative? Claude Legrand believes they can. He has proved throughout his career that innovating is a skill everyone can learn. All you need is to understand how innovation happens and to learn some simple techniques that will help you and your team or organization innovate systematically.

In Innovating 101 Claude explains the principles of innovation to large and small teams. In a very practical way, he unlocks the mystery of how innovation happens in organizations, explains how each individual can contribute and teaches techniques to help them innovate every time they need to. He shows how the key to developing effective solutions is in the way the problem is defined. Participants learn in a personally relevant way by practicing on a problem they need to solve in their everyday lives.

The full day course includes training in brainstorming techniques that will deliver implementable ideas every time.


Participants gain a valuable foundation in innovating that prepares them to contribute in situations where they may be called upon to participate in organizational change. They also gain practical experience of some simple tools that they can use to creatively solve problems in their day to day work.

Practical Innovative Thinking

Duration: 2 days
Target Audiences:  Leaders, managers and employees who need to solve complex problems in order to drive business growth. This course is particularly effective for intact teams and new, cross-functional teams, always including their leaders/managers. 

Running a successful team, department, organization or business is all about problem solving. Globalization, technology and instant 24/7 communication have added an unprecedented layer of complexity to the challenges organizations face. As a result, problems today come in two types:

  • Complicated problems that can be solved using analytical thinking. This is the type of problem solving learned in school that relies on tried-and-true methods based on past experience.
  • Complex problems that include multiple variables and a great deal of ambiguity. To be successfully resolved these problems require innovative thinking. Innovative thinking necessitates a very different but very effective approach to complex problem solving. It is not intuitive and needs to be learned.

This practical program teaches what innovative thinking is and provides practical tools and techniques to think innovatively to solve real problems. In addition, participants learn basic team innovation skills to reinforce team effectiveness while practicing the techniques.

Some of the elements of this program are:

Day 1

  • The fundamentals of innovation
  • The problem with thinking
    • Complicated and complex problems and their impact on growth
  • Redefining complex problems
    • Practice

Day 2

  • Effective Idea generation techniques
  • Team innovation skills
  • What will you do differently back at the office?
    • 3 easy things you can do


Managing Innovating Organizations

Duration: 2-3 days
Target Audiences: Leaders and managers who need to develop innovation in their own teams. 


When leaders and managers are asked to commit to innovation, they must clearly understand what is asked of them, and have the tools to integrate innovation into everything they do – from planning to performance evaluation. This matters, because the difference between an innovative and a non-innovative team is the attitude of their manager or leader.


In this program, leaders and managers work on creating the innovation plan for their own team or organization. They define the type and level of innovation they will need and use the Ideaction Innovation process to develop innovative solutions. They learn how to take ownership of innovation initiatives and coach innovative behavior in their team. They acquire practical tools they can use to improve their own management style, model behaviors supportive of innovation and sustain innovation in their area of responsibility.


To root their learning in their actual working environment, participants have the option to conduct a pre-questionnaire in their organization. It evaluates the current, specific issues affecting innovation in their workplace and means the program can be customized to fit the specific needs of the organization. Some of the elements of this practical program are:

  • How innovation happens and what can prevent it
  • The role of the manager in innovation
  • Innovative thinking and team innovation
  • Creation of an innovation plan
  • How to coach innovative thinking skills
  • How to manage the risk inherent in change and innovation


Managers may opt to include their teams in the first two days of the program and spend the third day focusing on managing innovation.


After completing this program managers will:

  • Understand:
    • Their critical role in making their team more innovative all the time.
    • What enables and what prevents innovation in teams.
  • Gain confidence in their ability to coach innovative behaviour
  • Use and learn the basics of innovative thinking as a tool to solve complex problems
  • Be ready to start modelling new innovative behaviours with their teams

Leading Innovation for Executives

Duration: 1 day program
Target Audiences: Leaders who want to make their organization systematically more innovative to generate organic new growth or solve complex problems.

What separates innovative organizations from non-innovative ones? Their leadership. Successful innovation only really happens when leaders at all levels have a practical understanding of the innovation process and know how to foster and sustain an innovating culture. For some it’s instinctive. For the rest it needs to be, and can be, learned.


In this practical, action learning program, leaders learn how innovation really happens, what stops it, and how to lead the shift to a culture that supports sustainable, systematic innovation. The content focuses on the specific challenges leaders face in their day to day operations, the role they need to play and the management behaviours they need to model to make innovation a seamless part of their organization’s culture and structure.


The program can be customized to fit the specific needs of your organization. It includes:


  • How innovation happens and what can prevent it
  • Innovative thinking and how to encourage it
  • The role of the leader
  • How to role-model innovation
  • How to manage the risk inherent in change and innovation
  • Planning an innovative organization


After completing this program leaders will:

  • Understand:
    • The different theories of innovation
    • Their critical role in selecting and implementing the right innovation approach in their organization
    • What enables and what prevents innovation in organizations
  • Gain confidence in their ability to take ownership and coach innovative behaviour in others
  • Learn practical tools to improve their personal leadership style
  • Use and learn the basics of innovative thinking as a tool to solve complex problems
  • Be ready to start modelling new innovative behaviours


Participants have the option to administer a pre-questionnaire that evaluates the specific, current obstacles to innovation in their organization.