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Dr Robert

Innovation, Resilience & Decision Making


Robert Kay is Australia's most sought after keynote speaker on governance and innovation. He is also a renowned social researcher having interviewed hundreds of CEOs and Directors from Australia’s leading corporates.

With a career that has continuously moved between industry and academia, Robert’s perspective is based on a rare mix of practical experience and rigorous academic research.

Robert believes, that understanding what makes organisations tick is not something you can achieve through a simple survey. You need to get inside the minds of its decision makers to identify the patterns of behaviour that make a difference.

His keynotes distill his observations into clear messages that he communicates through the innovative use of video and emotion charged stories. You don’t forget the lessons you learn through stories and you won’t forget Robert’s presentations either. Furthermore his presentations provide the audience with a simple yet powerful language to talk about the complex challenges of governance and innovation.

Robert’s presentations have changed the way leadership teams look at themselves, their organisations, and innovation in general providing ongoing value long after the event.

Current work

Executive Director of globally recognized think tank - Incept Labs, and an Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University,

Previous experience

Positions: He was formerly the Head of Strategic Innovation at Westpac Banking Corporation; a Senior Lecturer in Information Systems and Organisational Development at UTS, and a Research Analyst for Bovis Lend Lease.

Study: Over the last 5 years he has been commissioned to undertake multiple studies of senior leaders, covering issues as wide ranging as organizational resilience, the relationship between governance and performance and a world-first comparison between public and private sector approaches to innovation. In combination these studies have led to powerful insights about how organisations can deal with disruption, the role of trust, and approaches to change that lead you to question the way you think about organisations.

Talking Points

Decision Making for Growth

Why is it so difficult for decision-making groups to pursue growth opportunities and innovate? This presentation takes the audience on a journey through sociology, psychology and neuroscience to explain why groups struggle to pursue new opportunities and how they can overcome these challenges. All presentations involve the use of innovative video production to support the story telling and illustration of research outcomes.

CEO Perspectives on Organisational Resilience

This presentation reports on the results of research with 51 CEOs from both private and public sector organisations (including three of the top 10 ASX listed organisations in Australia), on the factors that drive organisational resilience. The most important of these is trust. The presentation involves stories from the Gulf war and the massacre in Norway to take the audience on a journey that powerfully illustrates the ways in which trust is created and destroyed in modern organisations.

CEO Perspectives on Innovation

What does a CEO mean when they say they want to innovate? This presentation reports on world first research that provides a direct comparison between styles of innovation in the private and public sectors. Twenty-five private sector CEOs and 18 Commonwealth Departmental Secretaries were intervewed. The presentation involves different stories of public and private sector innovation to illustrate the difference between the two contexts and the factors that lead to success.

Educating for the Future

Are we preparing our kids for the future or are our education systems preparing them for the past? This presentation combines ground breaking research on education transformation and teaching to describe what's needed to move education systems from the world of Education 1.0 we have today, to the Education 3.0 our kids need for the future. Based on almost 1000 classroom observations of teachers across multiple systems, and interviews with hundreds of educators, Robert will challenge your assumptions about what schooling is and what it can be.
Robert, we have just gone over all the past 10 years conference evaluations and have determined that your session has rated the highest ever at 4.88. I can't thank you enough for all the work you put into the presentation. AICD

The highlight of the day. Rob's presentation was the perfect blend of solid content presented in an engaging style.

Future Forum

Robert certainly met up to my expectations and exceeded those of the audience; I received great feedback from the attendees (some 50 individuals) who commented on how they loved his style, his ability to get right to the real issues without messing around the edges and his dry humour.

Knowledge Management Roundtable

Rob's presentation on attitudes to risk management was clear and interesting; he confidently handled many questions from the floor in a considered way resulting in one of our most successful forums.

Institute of Actuaries
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