Fleming College

skip navigation

Fleming Innovation Conference


Fleming College’s Organizational Development Team welcomed faculty, staff and community partners to the Kawartha Trades & Technology Centre on Wednesday, March 7 and Thursday, March 8 for the first ever Innovation Conference. Participants also included guests from Trillium Lakelands District School Board and Georgian College.

More than 100 participants attended to learn how to develop innovative thinking, creative mindsets and adaptability, which are required qualities needed to thrive in the 21st century.

“The Innovation Conference was a huge success, we are so proud of the outcome” said Human Resources Consultant Lynn Watson. “All of the speakers and workshop leaders exceeded our expectations and we feel very motivated to apply their lessons into our work.”

The Innovation Conference kicked off with keynote speaker Dr. Gerard Puccio from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State.

“Creativity is the ability to modify self-imposed constraints,” said Dr. Puccio, encouraging the audience to think without judgement. “Don’t think with the brakes on,” he explained.

According to Dr. Puccio, creative thinking helps with problem solving, innovation, collaboration, and more. He went on to explain “future-proof careers” – careers least likely to become automated – and said the qualities of these careers are that they require creative problem solving, adaptability, and social intelligence.

Following the keynote, Fleming’s Vice-President Academic Judith Limkilde moderated a panel discussion featuring Paul Downs, Past President of Nexicom Inc.; John Gillis, CleanTech Innovation Specialist at the Peterborough Innovation Cluster; Hajni Hos, Executive Director at the New Canadians Centre – Peterborough; and Dr. David Laude, Chemistry Professor and former Academic Administrator at the University of Texas at Austin.

The panellists discussed how they use innovative and creative thinking in their fields. Many also praised the college for their contributions to the community. Ms. Hos thanked Fleming College for its help and support of newcomers in Peterborough, and Mr. Downs commented on the significant number of Nexicom staff who are Fleming graduates.

“50% of our staff are from Fleming,” said Mr. Downs. “I don’t know what the magic is that you do here, but they come and they are all eager to learn […] They have an inner desire and drive to continue to learn and grow within the company.”

After the panel discussion, participants had the opportunity to interact with the Fleming Innovation in Action display, which showcased innovative ideas and achievements of staff and students. The display reflected how Fleming College currently encourages creativity and innovation.

In the afternoon, participants enjoyed professional development workshops led by Dr. Puccio (“Creative Leadership”), Marysia Czarski (“Creative Problem Solving”), Tara McDonough (“Leadership Dimensions”), and Dr. Laude (“Student Success: Building community across diverse student populations).

Dr. Laude returned for the second day of the conference to dive deeper into student success and retention, delivering a keynote speech on “The Student Centered Campus,” sharing experience as both a faculty member and an administrator at the University of Texas at Austin.

“When I walk across campus, how many doors can I open and walk in?” said Dr. Laude, explaining how a student feels a sense of belonging on campus. Dr. Laude went on to explain how to change a culture on campus and how to get new ideas to catch on within a culture.

After Dr. Laude’s presentation, Fleming’s Learning Design and Support Team took over to further explore innovation in their afternoon panel workshop focused on Best Practices for Supporting International Students.

While no date is currently set for 2019, Fleming’s Organizational Development Team looks forward to hosting a second Innovation Conference in the future.