The Innovation Forum:
Thinking Beyond Today

The current wave of technology and innovation will challenge all businesses to keep pace and stay ahead. Join us for the Blakes Innovation Forum at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto on November 24, 2016 to:

  • Examine what the future might look like and the impact new technology and innovation may have on business
  • Explore the drivers of change and how companies can benefit
  • Discuss the balancing act between legal and regulatory in the face of innovation
  • See real-life examples of innovation in business
If you would like more information about this seminar, please contact


The automation of work and the digital disruption of business models present today’s companies with both opportunities and challenges. From financial, insurance, retail and manufacturing, and life sciences, the impact of the current wave of technology is being felt in all industries, pushing businesses to adopt creative solutions and entrepreneurial mindsets in order to innovate.

The Blakes Innovation Forum brings together entrepreneurs, academics, policymakers, legal experts and business leaders from a variety of industries. Join Blakes and guest speakers as we outline and discuss some of the biggest issues around innovation, including the latest trends, its impact on business and how others are adapting to rapid change.

Those in attendance will enjoy an afternoon of provocative and inspiring discussion about the opportunities available for those willing to embrace the powerful potential of innovation and technology.

Please note this program is by invitation only.

Mandatory Continuing Education 
This program contains 3 hours and 30 minutes of Professionalism content.

This organization has been approved as an Accredited Provider of Professionalism Content by The Law Society of Upper Canada.



Keynote Speaker

Michael Hyatt
Keynote Speaker

Michael Hyatt is a serial entrepreneur who built two highly successful Canadian technology firms. He ranks as one of Canada’s top entrepreneurs, is a weekly Business Commentator on CBC's The Exchange and Business Panel and was a celebrated “Dragon” on CBC’s Dragons' Den - Next Gen Den. Michael is a Founding Partner of the Rotman School of Business Creative Destruction Lab, a finalist in Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Award, a recipient of the Top 40 Under 40™ and on Georgian Partners’ CEO Board of Advisors.




Ben Alarie
Chief Executive Officer | Blue J Legal

Benjamin Alarie is CEO of Blue J Legal and the Osler Chair in Business Law at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. Professor Alarie researches and teaches taxation law and judicial decision-making, and was awarded the Alan Mewett QC Prize for excellence in teaching by the law school’s graduating class of 2009.

Adam Nanjee
Head of Financial Technology and Innovation | MaRS Discovery District

Adam Nanjee is building Canada to be the next global fintech leader. As head of Canada’s largest financial technology innovations vertical at MaRS Discovery District, Nanjee oversees a national network of several hundred startups, global financial institutions and a global network of innovation hubs in Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, New York and San Francisco.

Jim Orlando
Managing Director | OMERS Ventures

In his role at OMERS Ventures, Jim is responsible for leading investment activities in the North American market focusing on high-growth companies in the technology, media, and telecommunications sectors.

Jack Ott
Senior Vice President, Innovation Partnerships | Intact Financial Corporation

Jack Ott is responsible for building relationships with innovative organizations that can contribute to the realization of Intact Financial Corporation’s strategic plans. These partnerships include emerging technology companies, broker organizations and educational institutions.

Sarah Prevette

Sarah Prevette is the founder of Sprouter and BetaKit and teaches creativity, innovation and design thinking to some of the country’s biggest business leaders. Her new project, Future Design School, is transforming education by fostering entrepreneurship in a classroom setting.

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Jacqueline's practice focuses on all aspects of regulatory compliance in the retail financial services and payments industry at both the federal and provincial levels. 

Dan Sinai
Senior Executive, Innovation |
IBM Canada

Dan works with start-up and scale-up companies across Canada linking them to IBM's Disruptive Technology Platform and their large enterprise customers. He partners with Incubators and Technology Business Accelerators to deliver IBM's innovation and incubation initiatives.

Aron Solomon
Innovation Lead | LegalX

Aron is the Innovation Lead for the LegalX cluster and Senior Advisor for education technology at MaRS. An educator and entrepreneur, Aron has over a quarter century of experience in the business of schools and innovation. Formerly CEO of THINK Global School, Aron is the founder of smartswise and SVbstance, as well as a partner in UNFINISHED.

Dean Tseretopoulos
AVP, Utility Capabilities | Digital Channels | TD Bank Group

Dean leads a product management team in Digital Channels at TD, with a focus on personal financial management (MySpend), enterprise alert services, and automated insights and interaction.

Peggy Van Des Plassche
VP Innovation Engagement CIBC

Peggy and her group lead the charge on external partnerships and innovation management at CIBC. A finance professional by trade, Peggy started working in technology 15 years ago – before Fintech was cool or even a word.

Robert Watson
President and CEO | Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC)

Robert brings his 35 years of experience in the Canadian technology industry to ITAC, a member-driven organization which champions the development of a robust and sustainable digital economy in Canada and serves as a vital connection between business and government.

Rebecca Yu
Head of JLABS @ Toronto |
Johnson & Johnson Innovation

As Head of Johnson & Johnson JLABS in Toronto, Rebecca fosters the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies external R&D engine and supports the innovation community by creating capital-efficient commercialization models that give early-stage companies a big company advantage. Located in the MaRS Discover District, JLABS provides infrastructure, services, educational programs and networks for emerging biotech companies.


Partner | Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Christine is Co-Practice Group Leader of the Blakes Information Technology group. Her practice focuses on commercial transactions involving information technology and intellectual property. Christine has extensive experience in all aspects of information technology law, including outsourcing, systems and software acquisitions, systems and software development, licensing, various ASP and SAAS arrangements, complex services agreements and distribution/reseller agreements.

Partner | Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Cheryl’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, private equity investments and corporate reorganizations. She advises clients in connection with acquisitions and divestitures for both public and private companies, with a particular focus in the financial services, insurance and life sciences industries.



Printer Friendly Version

Registration & Lunch
12:30 - 1 P.M.
1 – 1:10 P.M.
Keynote presentation
1:10 - 2:10 P.M.

The Innovation Imperative:
Leading in a New Era of Change

Speaker: Michael Hyatt

At its core, innovation is about seizing opportunity – which is rarely granted and must be earned. Michael Hyatt is a successful entrepreneur who will talk about the new rules for realizing opportunity and implementing change. He will illustrate how the real opportunity for all of us lies in the “The Golden Era” ahead: our hyper connected world is breaking every conventional business model where disruption is the ‘soupe du jour’. Computing power is still growing exponentially but for the first time artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation will gain traction, leaving no industry immune to change.

Break (refreshments & showcase)
2:10 - 2:30 P.M.
Ben Alarie
2:30 - 2:45 P.M.
Speaker: BEN ALARIE, CEO, Blue J Legal
Live demonstration of Blue J Legal, which uses advances in AI and extensive training by computer scientists and law professors at the University of Toronto.
Panel 1
2:45 - 3:45 P.M.

Drivers of Change:
Innovation in Practice

A review of the latest developments from various industries, with speakers from incubators and innovation hubs/initiatives.

  • Cheryl Satin – Partner | Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
  • Jim Orlando – Managing Director | OMERS Ventures
  • Aron Solomon – Innovation Lead | LegalX
  • Dan Sinai – Senior Executive, Innovation | IBM Canada
  • Dean Tseretopoulos – AVP, Utility Capabilities |
    Digital Channels | TD Bank Group
  • Rebecca Yu – Head of JLABS @ Toronto
Break (refreshments & showcase)
3:45 - 4:00 P.M.
Panel 2
4:00 - 5 P.M.

Supporting Emerging Innovation and Technologies:
Impacts and Considerations

Experts discuss how companies are taking the lead in business innovation while navigating the legal and regulatory issues. The panel will address the challenges that need to be overcome from a regulatory, demographic, psychological and educational perspective.

  • Christine Ing – Partner | Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
  • Adam Nanjee – Head of Financial Technology and Innovation | MaRS Discovery District
  • Jack Ott – Senior Vice President, Innovation Partnerships | Intact Financial Corporation
  • Jacqueline Shinfield – Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
  • Peggy Van Des Plassche – VP Innovation Engagement | CIBC
  • Robert Watson – President and CEO | Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC)
Design Thinking
5 - 5:30 P.M.

Speaker: Sarah Prevette

In this talk, Sarah Prevette shares her ultimate credo and how it can change your business: Creativity as a skill set; entrepreneurship as a philosophy. Innovation can be taught, she says, as long as you embrace the mentality and deftness of the entrepreneur.

Reception - MaRS Atrium
5:30 - 7 P.M.