Duncan Wardle has ideas that are out of this world. Literally…
The former Vice President of Innovation & Creativity at The Walt Disney Company, Duncan Wardle spent his 25-year career at Disney developing some of their most innovative ideas and strategies. Ideas that would forever change the way the company expands its impact, trains its employees, and solves problems creatively.
What sort of ideas? Instead of asking “How Might We … make more money?” Duncan asked “What If there are no lines in the Disney Parks? No gates at the entrance? No reception desks? No lines for favorite attractions to pay for F&B.”
Fast forward to Disney’s Magic Band, piloted and rolled out across Walt Disney World, eliminating the need to check in at the hotels, waiting to get into a Disney park, lines to ride, etc. Disney’s Magic band has resulted in record revenues and essentially created an open source monitoring of consumer likes and dislikes, informing all future products and services.
“Duncan made a deal to send the one and only Buzz Lightyear up on NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery”
Duncan and his team were tasked with leading the creative process for LucasFilms, Pixar, Marvel, Disney Imagineering, Disney Parks and ESPN. Realizing that innovation and creativity were not inherent traits, but
something that could be taught and learned, Duncan founded the Innovation Catalyst Team. This team was used to teach employees across all the Disney properties how to develop their own “thinking toolkit,” which would enable them to strategically and repeatedly create moments of innovation within their business units.
The program was a massive success, and during Duncan’s tenure, the group trained over 5,000 professional and executive Disney cast members. Participants walked away from Duncan’s program with the ability to think more audaciously when solving challenges and create innovative new storylines, products and services throughout the entire Disney universe.
While Duncan loved the challenge of running the creativity and innovation teams at the world’s most creative company, he understood that his ability to successfully teach others to develop an innovation and ideation toolkit was something that could have a massive impact for people and organizations across the globe. And so, he left to launch his creative consulting company id8, which has
“Participants walked away from Duncan’s program with the ability to think more audaciously when solving challenges”
quickly become one of the top innovation consulting firms in the world, and in the process, has allowed Duncan to share his creative consultant services and innovation workshops to thousands of employees and executives at companies such as Ford, McKinsey, Coca-Cola, NBA, Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Forbes.
With an infectious energy and playful collaboration, Duncan pushes executives and their teams to overcome preconceived ideas, act more audaciously, and develop their own innovation “light switch”, which is a method to activate their creative brain and access the ideas that turn ordinary companies into industry leaders.
On July 5, 2019, I was honoured and humbled to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration from my Alma Mater, Edinburgh Napier University. The Doctorate was given “In recognition of Duncan’s global and unique approach to design thinking and his dedication to Disney where he spent 30 years leading the innovation and creativity team.” The award was presented at the University’s graduation ceremony. For the full story visit bit.ly/EdNDunc
American Citizen Award
Presented at the White House in 2008 for my services to my fellow immigrants for creating a United States Citizenship ceremony on Main Street USA at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom for 1000 new U.S. citizens and their families on July 4, 2000
Hons. MBA Hons. PHD
Awarded on July 4, 2014 by the Chancellor and Dean of Edinburgh Napier University at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland. I was honored to give the commencement speech at my alma mater that day surrounded by family and friends going back many, many years. I even wore my old Rannoch School uniform.
Duke of Edinburgh Award
Presented at Hollywood Palace in the presence of H.M Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1981.
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