<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3Y47o3CtJmM?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LiIi-lfyyQU?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Leadership and Innovation

Innovation is the new normal.  Are the leaders in your organisation ready to lead in this new ‘Super-VUCA’ world?

Leaders need a new skillset, tools and strategies  to create innovative, relevant, future-ready organisations. Whether you need a conference keynote or an extended program , you’ve come to the right place.

Keynote – Leading in the Innovation Age

The Twenty First Century innovation age requires a new style of leadership. It requires leaders who can harness the collective resources, talents and wisdom of people in the service of organisational innovation. [read more]

Workshop – Leading for Innovation

Without innovative leadership in an organisation, other initiatives will not help it succeed. Learn the art and science of leading for innovation. [read more]

Mentoring – Innovative Leaders Mentoring Program

Succeeding in transitional times such as we are experiencing right now can be very challenging. If you would like some help in mastering the art and science of leading innovation then this program is for you. [read more]

Program – Leading in the Innovation Age

The concept of leadership is going through a fundamental redesign at the moment. That is because we are living in the Innovation Age which it requires a new style of leader. This program develops future-ready leaders who will create future-ready workplaces. [read more]

BookLeading in the Innovation Age: Unleash knowledge, talent and experience to create an innovative workplace.

This refreshingly simple and entertaining book gives leaders the essential skills to unlock the potential of their people in the service of innovation. [read more]


Leading in the Innovation Age

The Twenty First century innovation age requires a new style of leadership. It requires leaders who can harness the collective resources, talents and wisdom of people in the service of organisational innovation. What new skills do leaders now need in a super-VUCA world?  Find out in this entertaining and interactive keynote.

This presentation is based on Dr. Irena’s new book Leading in the Innovation Age. In it she unpacks the seven key leadership meta skills that enable leaders to create high-performing, highly engaged teams and workplaces fueled by innovation and creativity.

Key ‘Take-Aways’ From This Presentation
  • Why the new world of work requires a new style of leadership.
  • What leaders need to do to avoid the perils of the innovation gap.
  • The role of creativity, imagination, life-long learning, entrepreneurialism and big picture thinking in creating the workplace of the future.
  • The greatest risk facing organisations in a VUCA world and how to avoid it.
  • How to create high performing teams excited about innovation.
  • Balancing the need to think global but act local.
  • How to lead so as to unlock the vast reservoirs of potential that languish in most organisations.
  • The role of life-long learning in the innovation age.


“Dr Irena was recently engaged by Department of Transport and Main Roads as the key note speaker for a North Queensland region Technical forum. The conference was themed around Unleashing Potential.  Dr Irena was the ideal person to create the right tone for the forum delegates and to warm our delegates up for the two day forum.  Her powerful and highly effective delivery style was one of the forum highlights.

Dr Irena captivated delegates with her presence by inviting audience engagement in the highly participative and interactive learning journey. She provided insight to the delegates on a range of practical tools and techniques on innovative thinking, and equipped our leaders with the skills that enables them to create more innovative, high performing workplaces. I would highly recommend Dr Irena to any organisation that is seeking to unleash the hidden potential of their leaders and employees by allowing them to explore creativity that feeds innovation, and improves organisational performance.”
A. Cullen, Executive Director, RoadTek – TMR

“Irena adapted her presentations effectively to meet the different requirements of the events for which we engaged her. She has a lively presentation style that blends conceptual information with audience participation and humour. She consulted with us to establish the objectives for each event and tailored her content accordingly. From the Tribunal’s perspective, Irena met our strategic aims of engaging our organisation in more innovative thinking.”
S. Fisher, Executive Officer, Mental Health Review Tribunal


Leading for Innovation: Creating a Culture In Which Innovation Can Thrive

Without innovative leadership in an organisation, other initiatives will not help it succeed. Learn the art and science of leading for innovation.

Learn how to capitalise on the unique wisdom and experiences of your people and challenge unproductive, entrenched mindsets. Create a culture in which innovation can thrive and flourish. Open the channels of communication along which innovation can flow.

In this workshop discover how to use Dr. Irena’s Integrated Innovation Model with its associated tools to liberate the kind of innovative thinking and behaviours that transform a workplace.

Apply proven methodologies to create value for your organisation through innovation.

Key ‘Take-Aways’ From This Workshop
  • Practical steps for engaging people in innovation.
  • Practice in using the tools that will unleash innovation in your organisation.
  • Nurturing the innovation mindset.
  • Why and how to move people from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation for innovation.
  • Insight into the creative process.
  • How to become an expert creative thinker.
  • The 12 elements that create a culture of innovation and how to embed them in your workplace.
  • How to open the channels of communication along which innovation and information can flow.
  • Identifying and dealing with innovation barriers.
  • The leadership practices that liberate innovation.
  • Comprehensive workbook.

What People Are Saying About This Workshop

“Dr. Irena has a presentation style that is engaging and thought provoking. I really enjoyed her ability to articulate the science behind what can be a somewhat ambiguous topic – how to innovate successfully to achieve tangible results.”
Sonya Cristy, Manager (Contracts), TransLink Division, Department of Transport and Main Roads

“Dr Irena Yashin-Shaw is one of the best in this space. She succinctly captures innovation and makes it “real” to leaders. From small “improvement” ideas to big ticket items, Dr Yashin-Shaw takes participants through a range of tools, methodologies and concepts which are readily transferrable into the workplace. The style of her workshop allows for cross-pollination of ideas and experiences which are shared in a constructive and honest manner.”
Kristine Tully, Director, Business Development & Innovation, SmartService Queensland

“The Leading for Innovation workshop delivered by Dr. Irena Yashin-Shaw highlighted to the many managers present that innovation can happen at all levels. It can be for the benefit of a department, section or work group. It is not exclusively the manager’s responsibility to be the innovator. Rather the manager or department head can provide the environment for innovation to happen by removing the barriers and clearing the pathways so that team members have the opportunity to innovate and are ABLE to innovate. The workshop highlighted, for me, the importance of managers being the catalysts for innovation.”
Chief Superintendent Colin May, Director, Regional Operations, Central Region, Queensland Fire & Emergency Services

“The tools, techniques, models and systems Irena teaches are simple to use and make business sense. Really worth the time and effort in attending”.
Connie da Cunha, Manager, TMR

“Throughout the program Irena unpacked a toolkit of effective methodologies and processes that leaders can use when complex problems need to be solved. One key message for me was that there is a role for everyone when it comes to organisational innovation. Great stuff Dr. Irena, I certainly enjoyed it”.
Bryan McSweeney, Principal Advisor (Design Capability Development), Qld Dept of Transport and Main Roads

“From understanding our own innovation mindset to encouraging communication, fearlessness and creativity in others, Irena took us on a journey in how to understand, promote and implement a culture of innovation in our organizations. Peppered with anecdotes and stories, practical examples and interactive group activities, the “Leading For Innovation” course is a thought-provoking and insightful lesson which can be applied practically.”
Jane Dennis, Principal Advisor, Translink

“I am really glad I attended. The content was exactly what I needed. In our department, Innovation, has been a hot topic since early 2012 and I found this workshop has really helped me to move some of my thinking about innovation into action, it has demystified innovation and given good ideas about how to create an innovative work place and build an innovative culture in my organisation. I will be recommending this to my colleagues. This was one of the most engaging workshops I have attended. The presentation style was varied and stimulating, to match the content.”
Terry O’Connor, Regional Director, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, North Queensland


The Innovative Leader Mentoring Program

Succeeding in transitional times such as we are experiencing right now can be very challenging. If you would like some help in mastering the art and science of leading innovation then this program is for you. Each quarter I work with a small number of committed leaders over a 3 month period who want to become confident in leading innovation in order to bring real and tangible results for their team and organisation.

Who is it for?
  • Leaders, emerging leaders and aspiring leaders who want to master innovation and deliver value to their workplace
  • Supervisors and team leaders who want to drive change
  • Influencers who want to implement meaningful innovation in their workplace

This program is a masterful integration of formal and informal learning via different modalities which provides structure and reinforcement around on-the-job application. The result is sustained, embedded and meaningful change.

The focus is on issues that are relevant to you and your organisation that will bring high-value results. The program is fast paced and designed to deliver outcomes as quickly as possible. Participants typically report an exponential return on investment.

You’ll be working with me to learn how to:
  • Shift your mindset and those you work with to be more creative and innovative
  • Tap into your energy and passion for innovation and use that to create more engaged team members/colleagues
  • Unleash your creativity and that of those you work with so that they come up with suggestions to help you drive innovation
  • Find innovation opportunities in your workplace that you didn’t see before
  • Connect with your clients/customers in new ways so they become an unlimited source of innovation
  • Approach innovation in a strategic way for best outcomes for yourself, your team/colleagues and your department
  • Engage those around you in the process so that everyone is happy, willing and able to innovate
  • Use various models and frameworks to scaffold innovation so your efforts get traction quickly and easily
  • Become a creative problem-solver who can confidently tackle ‘wicked’ problems
  • Use systems to bring innovation to fruition over the long term without losing momentum
  • Be more entrepreneurial in your approach to problem-solving, quantifying outcomes and ROI.
  • Develop strategies for persuading and influencing others to adopt innovative ideas that will create a future-ready workplace.
What you can expect

This program ensures a high value return for your organisation.

Leaders and emerging leaders who undertake the program progress at least one rung on the above value model with the corresponding increase in impact and value for their organisation.

By the conclusion of the program people will be either at the Innovation Driver or Innovation Catalyst level depending on the level at which they came in and the nature of the project they undertake in the program.

Innovation Drivers are leaders who are confident about creating positive change. They understand the steps that need to be taken to introduce innovation into their team or workplace and are adept at finding and progressing problems worth solving. They often exponentially return the investment of their enrollment in the program through the efficiencies and increases in productivity delivered through their projects.

Innovation Catalysts are leaders who are able to inspire others to want to be involved with the innovation imperative. They understand how innovation works and how to motivate others. In effect they multiply themselves. They bring transformation to their workplace by being the centres of influence that create multiple innovation drivers. These are the leaders who ensure a workplace becomes future-focused and future-ready. As such they are invaluable within any public sector workplace.

The Process of Innovation

“I found Irena inspiring and practical to work with – she engendered new ways of igniting creativity and innovation and I find that I delve into the toolkit regularly.”
J. Hedger, Director Business Engagement, DSITI.

“I found working with Dr. Irena to be a great opportunity to discover the ‘tools’ that all leaders need to succeed. This program has transformed my thinking about innovation. A good leader must understand what innovation is and how it can be applied in the workplace. Participating in the program gave me the confidence and the support to launch an important, much needed and overdue innovation in my workplace. I highly recommend this program because it enables leaders to action innovation.”
M. Fleming, Business Manager, PSBA

“Leading in a complex and constantly changing environment brings exciting ongoing challenges. Dr. Irena provides very contemporary insights and skills to enable leaders to see where innovation is critical in this new world, and how we can be responsive and adaptable. The program has opened a creative thinking process which has flicked a switch on how I see, and use, innovation. Prior to the program, I didn’t really know how to use the creativity we all have, to engage in a different way with our teams, and help energise us towards clever and smart workforces. I can highly recommend Irena’s program, she is certainly dynamic and very tuned into the needs of the individuals in our program, I found there were many times where the light bulb came on. Our webinars and face-to-face sessions pushed us to think critically about where we were personally and where our teams are at.”
L. Smith Director, Department of Health


“Irena’s programme has been inspirational to me and changed my mindset regarding innovation and creativity. I have stepped outside my comfort zone and taken my team with me.”

G. Ilic, Principal Engineer, TMR“Irena is a powerhouse of energy and a driver of innovative thinking. Working with her is an amazing experience! As a result I have been able to create an environment for my team that allows them to unlock their innovative ideas – ideas that they often didn’t realise how to tap into. My team are inspired to try new things and to look for ideas in new and unexpected ways. I understand now how integral innovative thinking is to the future of how any organisation goes about its day to day business.”
T. Young, Manager, DHPW

“I would definitely recommend the program to other public sector leaders who are motivated to incorporate innovation into their working (and personal) life. The program provides everything from theory, tools to putting it all into practice. But even better, Dr. Irena’s program targets the mindset and cultural components required to establish and grow innovation in an organisation. The tools provided to me through her program are easily incorporated into my daily routine which is great. The program is challenging and provides for continued learning long after it is over.”
K. Batts, A/Manager, DNRM


Leading in the Innovation Age

The concept of leadership is going through a fundamental redesign at the moment. That is because we are living in the Innovation Age which it requires a new style of leader. One that understands the importance of creating workplaces that are vibrant and future-focused, filled with people who are adaptive, life-long learners eager to participate in the innovation imperative.

Part of a leader’s responsibilities is to show people that the world has radically shifted and that to keep doing things the established way is dangerous. Innovation is the new safety net and the riskiest course of action is to NOT innovate.

Who is it for?
  • Leadership teams
  • Project teams
  • Key workplace influencers
About the Program

This program focuses on equipping your leaders with the tools, strategies and experiences to create the Virtuous Circle of Continuous Innovation. It can be between 3 – 9 months in length depending on the depth of the dive you want your leaders to experience. During that time they work through the various components of the model experiencing three stages of development.

The Virtuous Circle of Constant Innovation

Change is inevitable. It is the only constant! Today the world of the Innovation Age is changing faster than ever before. For contemporary workplaces, if managed well, it sets into motion the following ‘Virtuous Cycle’. A ‘Virtuous Cycle’ is a self-propagating chain of events which generate desired results. Here’s how it goes.

  • CHANGE creates shifts in the environment. A changing world means a changing workplace.
  • ADAPTATION is essential in order to function effectively and avoid extinction in this new environment.
    EVOLUTION is the result of adaptation. Done well it equips the inhabitants of the new environment with the new mindset, skillset and practices to succeed.
  • RELEVANCE is the reward for successful evolution as it ensures that the new incarnation is suited to the environment
  • IDENTITY SHIFTS occur in how team members and leaders see themselves as a result of their successful adaptation, evolution and increased relevance. They see that they have the capacity and abilities to rise to whatever challenges come their way. This new identity leads to the final step in the ‘Virtuous Cycle’.
  • CONTRIBUTION to our environment, in this case our workplace, is more effective and at a higher level as a result of the increased confidence that comes with an identity shift. The enhanced contribution, in turn, feeds and fuels the changing environment and the whole process iterates, taking the workplace to ever increasing levels of productivity, effectiveness and performance as a result of being responsive to the changes in the environment.
The Stages
Stage 1 Comfort Zone

The comfort zone represents stability, predictability and safety. People who live in the comfort zone have reached a certain level of competence and are happy to stay at that level without challenging or extending their skills. They are happy to reproduce existing procedures without looking for new ways of doing things or different ways of striving for better outcomes. Consequently, knowledge and skill sets remain relatively static and wedded to rigid mental models that are likely to be out dated. They focus on the past and present rather than the future. This stage corresponds to the Way Follower level of leadership.

Stage 2 Learning Zone

Beyond the comfort zone is the learning zone where people are growing, extending and reshaping skills and experience to take them to a higher level of performance. Leaders at this stage see their knowledge base as malleable not rigid and are prepared to do differently to improve performance. They are adept at leading their teams through the ‘Virtuous Circle’. This stage corresponds to the Way Forger level of leadership.

Stage 3 Innovation Zone

Finally, in the innovation zone people are not just reshaping their skill set, they are transforming it to leverage knowledge in new ways. This requires them to be flexible thinkers who are mentally agile with a preparedness to reinvent themselves and their teams. What’s more they can do it proactively because they keep a close eye on future trends. Consequently, they prevent their teams from becoming mired in reactive responses, living in ‘Groundhog Day’ and using up valuable time and energy just putting out bush fires rather than positioning themselves for the future. This stage corresponds to the Way Finder level of leadership.


This is a comprehensive program that creates future-ready leaders who in turn create a future-ready workplace that is energised, adaptable and relevant.

Contact us to request a consultation session to see if and how this program could be of value to your organisation.

“We engaged Dr Irena Yashin-Shaw to assist us to develop and sustain a culture of innovation in QCT. Dr Yashin-Shaw delivered a program over a 9 month period that consisted of a variety of components which included data collections, workshops, seminars, on-line tools and resources and a series of relevant tasks and projects to build momentum for innovation across the organisation.

The quality of Dr Yashin-Shaw’s work was exceptional. She is an engaging facilitator who ensured that everyone contributed to the issues identified. She has extensive knowledge and understanding of innovation and how to create an environment within an organisation for innovation to thrive. Not only did the participating leaders find the workshops informative, they also found them fun.

There were immediate benefits for the QCT from Dr Yashin-Shaw’s work. The benefits included enhanced communication and relationships across the organisation with much greater willingness of staff to contribute ideas and participate in making innovation happen; thinking differently about the challenges facing the QCT; increased confidence of staff in calculated risk taking and an increased capacity of staff to use different tools and process to develop options for innovative solutions.

Processes were put in place to ensure the longevity of the program and that the innovation momentum is sustained. Participants of the workshops enjoyed Dr Yashin-Shaw’s warm personality and her willingness to ensure their needs were met.“

John Ryan, Director, Queensland College of Teachers