RBC Disruptors

RBC Thought Leadership, John Stackhouse

RBC Disruptors is an ongoing podcast series hosted by SVP John Stackhouse about reimagining Canada’s economy in a time of unprecedented change. It features thought-provoking conversations with Canadian business and innovation leaders about planting the seeds of a new economy.

RBC Disruptors: Season Two Trailer
Trailer 3 min 20 sec

All Episodes

When others see obstacles, entrepreneurs see opportunities. Nowhere is that more true than the up-and-coming generation of business minds, many fostered through NEXT Canada. The organization gives entrepreneurs a boost through education, mentorship, funding, and access to a strong entrepreneurial network.In this episode of RBC Disruptors, host John Stackhouse speaks with three members of NEXT’s Class of 2020, who have bold goals for reshaping economic and social systems and the environment - which could have wide-ranging impacts for Canada and the world as a whole. They speak confidently, clearly, and urgently about the imperative for better solutions, right now.Myra Arshad is the Founder and CEO of ALT TEX, an intriguing B2B sustainable textile solution. It takes paper and food waste and agricultural by-products and converts them into carbon-neutral, biodegradable fabrics.Natasha Dhayagude is the Co-Founder and CEO of Chinova Bioworks. The company’s focus is revolutionizing the food and preservation process, by developing a natural preservative extracted from the stems of white button mushrooms.Zach McMahon is the Co-Founder and CEO of LUCID, which is building AI music therapy products. It places music at the centre of not only mood-building, but mental health, thanks in part to AI analysis.

Sep 22

36 min

COVID lockdown restrictions have boosted the desire to consume creative content higher than ever. What’s new about this era is where the content is coming from -- a diversity of voices from around the globe, not originally directly linked to traditional publishing firms, production companies, or movie studios. We explore this phenomenon in this episode of RBC Disruptors by looking into the origin story of Wattpad. As co-founder and CEO Allen Lau tells host John Stackhouse, the company was inspired by the desire for a good app for reading on mobile phones. Now, it’s turned into a content powerhouse, with more than 4 million writers uploading stories in 50 different languages. The most promising are turned into books, T.V. shows, and movies, like The Kissing Booth, After We Collided, and She’s With Me, thanks in part to Wattpad’s custom AI engine. It’s a global company with global perspectives, but Lau believes it’s also important to represent Canadian perspectives on the world stage. This episode of RBC Disruptorslooks at a whole new viewpoint on Canadian content.

Sep 15

31 min

It's a branch of molecular biology that humans have been harnessing for centuries, but has come to carry a negative connotation for many Canadians due to concerns about genetically modified organisms: Genomics.A recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that as much as 60% of the physical inputs to the global economy could be produced biologically, with potential savings of up to 4 TRILLION dollars per year. And as Canada works to recover from the COVID crisis, bio-manufacturing is also being billed as a massive opportunity to address issues like the supply chain vulnerabilities revealed by pandemic, as well as our reliance on foreign factories.On this episode of RBC Disruptors, host John Stackhouse sits down with two of the country's top experts on Genomics; Doctor Rob Annan, the President and CEO of Genome Canada, and Doctor Bettina Hamelin, the President and CEO of Ontario Genomics, to learn more about the opportunities presented by the so-called "bio-revolution". He also delves into the regulatory, economic, and ethical barriers that exist, and the risks of being left behind if Canadian entrepreneurs fail to embrace this potentially transformational change.Show notes:The McKinsey Global Institute's report on the Bio-Revolution can be found here:https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/pharmaceuticals-and-medical-products/our-insights/the-bio-revolution-innovations-transforming-economies-societies-and-our-livesJohn also references a previous episode of Disruptors featuring Canadian author Alex Lazarow, called "Beyond Silicon Valley: Why We Need a Global Playbook for Innovation," which was originally released on August 4th, 2020.

Sep 8

37 min

The world is on track to add as many people to cities in the next 40 years as we have in the last 40 centuries. Those new buildings and roads will require a lot of concrete, which historically was an economically and environmentally inefficient building material. However, new innovators are leveraging technology to tackle both of those problems. The challenge they face, though, is around policy and building momentum. Right now, regulations prohibit some concrete manufacturers from innovating, even as more companies are demanding climate action. Key takeaways: City and rural dwellers alike are impacted by inefficient concrete and should advocate for the use of climate-friendly building materials.Climate entrepreneurs like CarbonCure provide solutions that can turn legacy materials into an engine for environmental good. Canada has all the ecosystem support - talent, knowledge, and global connections - necessary to lead the climate entrepreneurship race. What’s missing is policy action and market signals from governments that climate-friendly building materials should be prioritized.

Aug 25

32 min

Following last week’s International Youth Day, Canadian youth might feel like they have few things to celebrate. As one of the hardest-hit groups in the COVID-induced economic decline, they’re faced with a staggering 30% unemployment rate and potential long-term career setbacks. Youth need support more than ever, and the economy needs them. To rebuild, we need to tap into the energy and creativity of young people to reimagine what’s possible. In this episode, we revisit an RBC Disruptors conversation from September, 2019 with Julia Kirouac and Braden Ream, two 20-something founders who decided to start their own ventures. They share how they dove headfirst into their businesses, while also navigating the barriers of being young entrepreneurs.

Aug 18

42 min

Oceans provide safety, a way of life, economic sustainability, and food for the entire planet, yet over 80% of the world’s oceans are unmapped and unexplored. Now, we have the tools and technology to empower true ocean discovery. The limited knowledge we have of oceans has already produced trillions of dollars in economic benefit and insight that led to life-saving medications. With data and a renewed focus on building a sustainable future, the world’s oceans can yet again provide an unparalleled opportunity for growth. Key takeaways: Everyone is impacted when oceans aren’t cared for as food supplies, shipping industries, and national security depend on healthy oceans. Entrepreneurs, academics, and investors should collectively focus their creative energies on thinking about the triple bottom line: environment, community, and profit.  This requires working with and learning from Indigenous communities since much of our coastline is cared for by Indigenous peoples.Canada has the right opportunities and resources to lead in ocean innovation, but what’s missing is a critical mass of advocacy for a sustainable future for oceans. 

Aug 11

29 min

Nearly 10 years ago, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen famously claimed that “software is eating the world.” But today, a new crop of “frontier innovators” are straying away from disrupting existing industries with software in favour of building new industries, improving current innovation models, and addressing market gaps that Silicon Valley ignored. In his new book, Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs--from Delhi to Detroit--Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley, Alex Lazarow interviews more than 200 entrepreneurs from around the world about their challenges, success stories, and what he calls the "frontier," the growing constellation of startup ecosystems, outside of the Valley. On this episode of RBC Disruptors, Alex and John discuss the shift from the equity model in venture capital, what it means to be born global, and the future of innovation in Canada, and around the worldKey takeaways: Founders don’t have to settle for cash-for-equity venture capital, and should explore new models around partnerships or royalties. Every innovator needs to be “born global,” and look at the whole world as a potential market. The Silicon Valley playbook is not the only way to succeed, and founders need to consider how they are building businesses that make an impact, not just a profit.

Aug 4

28 min

To succeed in the post-COVID economy, businesses will need more than just a pivot to digital – they’ll need to lean into and harness data to gain an advantage. As the COVID crisis disrupts traditional business models, it’s more important than ever for companies to understand how to leverage data on user behaviour, sales trends, and other variables to re-position themselves for the future. In this episode, we revisit an earlier RBC Disruptors conversation from February, 2020 with Sam Sebastian, CEO of Pelmorex Corp, which owns The Weather Network, on how firms can capitalize on data to gain an edge and grow their business.

Jul 28

37 min

Building a successful company takes a community, and SkipTheDishes is no different. A Winnipeg success story, the food delivery platform has over 25,000 restaurants in its community. John Stackhouse sits down with SkipTheDishes CEO Kevin Edwards, who shares the founding story of Skip, how the company is helping its restaurant community with a $24 million commitment during COVID-19, and why the company is so focused on building a supportive environment for the next tech success story. Key takeaways: The future of restaurants is a hybrid – the ones that will thrive will draw people in but also reach out to customers and connect with them in unique ways. Restaurants need to become digital natives and harness the power of social to engage their customers.Canada has no shortage of tech talent, but for tech companies to thrive, they need to scale, and to harness the power of data.

Jul 21

25 min

The COVID pandemic has brought everyday life online and made us more reliant on technology than ever. Many of us are working from home and glued to our screens all day, and then Zooming with friends or streaming movies in the evenings. Not to mention our shift to online shopping and ordering food. What effect is all this technology having on us? In this episode, we revisit an earlier but still incredibly relevant RBC Disruptors conversation from June 2019 with Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, a physician and brain scientist at Duke University, on how technology is changing the brain and mind.

Jul 14

37 min

In the midst of a global crisis, getting food from farm to fork has never been more important, and in some ways, more challenging. Nothing has been more essential than keeping Canadians fed and supplied. At the forefront of this is Loblaw, a fourth-generation Canadian company and the largest non-government employer in the country. Through their COVID pivots they are leading the charge on enhancing customer convenience and keeping Canadians safe and stocked up. Instacart is the North American leader in online grocery – they have the largest grocery delivery network in America with more than 500,000 active full-service shoppers. On this episode of RBC Disruptors, John Stackhouse discusses the changes and challenges in grocery commerce with Sarah Davis, President of Loblaw and Nilam Ganenthiran, President of Instacart.Key TakeawaysThe future of grocery will blend digital and in-store experiences. Consumers want to choose their grocery experience, so how can grocers position themselves to deliver digital experiences for the long term?Canadians want to feel connected to their local grocery brand. They want to trust where their food is coming from and know that they have the option to support vendors from within their province. How can grocery brands use this to their advantage?As grocery stores continue to go digital, understanding your consumer has never been more important. How can grocers use consumer data to provide a seamless, end to end experience that enhances the consumer’s relationship with their brand?

Jul 7

30 min

Over the last 153 years, millions of Canadians have spread to every corner of the world. We have been part of major global movements from the birth of Hollywood to the strategy behind modern day peacekeeping. We know that Canadians are going to play a key role in rebuilding the global economy as we look beyond the pandemic. Laura Buhler, Executive Director of the C100, an association of Canadian expats in the Valley that has helped build Canada's tech ecosystem, and Andre Charoo, General Partner of Maple VC and co-chair of the C100, join John Stackhouse on RBC Disruptors to discuss:How we can leverage our population at home and abroad to create strategic opportunities and accelerate the growth of Canada’s tech companies.What Canadian companies need to do to attract global talent. Pay must match ambition.Why large corporations need to invest locally to develop a thriving ecosystem to compete on the global stage. Listeners can learn more about the C100 and its initiatives at https://www.thec100.org/.

Jun 30

28 min

Retail is a massive originator of data, generating 40 terabytes per hour globally. As the industry continues to undergo unprecedented disruption, to survive and continue to thrive in today’s environment, winning retailers are using that data to understand their customers, empower their employees, create intelligent supply chains, and reinvent their business models. Jose Ribau, Executive Vice President, Digital & Innovation at Cadillac Fairview, and four guests join John Stackhouse on RBC Disruptors to explore the future of retail and how malls can compete in a post-pandemic environment.Key Takeaways:The mall of the future will be built on dataOnline shopping may be here to stay, but so too, is a blended model of in-person and online experiencesRetailers and landlords will need innovative approaches to cater to dramatically changed consumer behaviour

Jun 23

29 min

On this episode of RBC Disruptors, John Stackhouse is joined by Valerie Pisano, CEO of MILA in Montreal, and Abhinav Sharma of McGill University to discuss Canadian innovations in AI and machine learning for healthcare delivery, progress in the development of digital contact tracing applications, and the importance of healthcare professionals working hand in hand with technology.Key Takeaways:What will the patient experience look like in 2030?Technology is going to increasingly shape healthcare. But without the human adoption of technology, we'll never see its potentialHow do we navigate data and privacy concerns, while understanding the benefits of these innovations?How can we ensure that Canadian healthcare innovations are global in their ambition?

Jun 16

33 min

COVID-19 pushed Canada into the first recession since the mass adoption of smartphones. Entering 2020, Canada had more than 500,000 businesses that were predominantly analog. The crisis has served as a catalyst for small businesses including traditional businesses to pivot to digital as they closed their doors due to COVID-19. Businesses that will emerge from this crisis stronger, are the ones that changed their strategies through the crisis to reach customers in new ways. In this episode, John Stackhouse is joined by Lori Darlington, VP, Small Business & Strategic Partnerships at RBC and together they examine a series of case studies on small businesses who have pivoted to new strategies to grow through the pandemic. In this episode we discuss:How small businesses can scale coming out of the crisisHow have they used digital to improve the customer experience and reach new customers?What do small businesses need to thrive beyond the pandemic, in terms of capital, support, public policy and consumer behaviour?

Jun 9

33 min

In March of 2020, Canada’s post-secondary institutions moved over 2 million students to online learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the urgency of crisis measures fade to operating in the “new normal”, we are likely to see students demand more from digital-based learning to give them greater flexibility in where, when and how they learn. This collective moment of mass disruption can be seized to move higher education to the digital age. In this episode of RBC Disruptors, John Stackhouse is joined by John Baker, President and CEO of D2L,  Charlotte Yates, Provost and Vice President of Academics at Guelph University, Sophie D’Amours, Rector of Laval University,  Neil Passina, President of Athabasca University and  Andrew Schrumm, Senior Manager, Research at RBC to discuss: How online learning can transform post-secondary education, far beyond the current crisisHow the institutions that will thrive will figure out how to blend technology and socializationThe need to support teachers in transitioning to a brave new worldThe huge opportunity for Canada to leverage our strength in education and scale our digital platforms on a global basis

Jun 1

32 min

Canada has always had a place for talent from all over the world, but post-crisis, will our approach to acquiring global talent need to change? How do we ensure Canadian businesses and workforces are set up for success as the landscape of work has evolved? Innovation and design-centric thinking are key, and for companies of any size, so is building proactive, adaptive and agile teams. On this episode of RBC Disruptors, John Stackhouse is joined by Sheetal Jaitly, Founder and CEO of TribalScale and Eman Faiz, senior product designer at TribalScale to discuss:How do we approach talent acquisition in a post-COVID society?What strengths does the Canadian tech sector bring as we reimagine the economy?Beyond hard and soft skills, what should companies look for in prospective candidates to drive success in a changing landscape?

May 26

26 min

Art has always acted as a mirror to society. Our art changes as things like technology, globalization, and now, a global pandemic drastically alter the way we live our lives. Canada is a hub for creative digital technologies and the arts. In this episode of RBC Disruptors, John Stackhouse is joined by iconic Canadian photographer Ed Burtynsky and his business partner and gaming expert, Vikas Gupta. Together at AVARA Media, they are pushing the boundaries of photography using augmented reality, virtual reality and photogrammetry to create immersive, three-dimensional visual experiences. With people across the globe adjusting to a widely professed “new normal,” a boom in augmented reality and virtual experiences is taking place. In this episode, we discuss:  How is technology transforming the photographic experience?How can Canadian artists and creatives make an impact in a digital-first world?How are augmented reality and virtual reality going to help us better communicate and enhance the human experience post COVID-19?Learn more about Ed Byrtynsky and Avara Media's work here: https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/ed-burtynskys-augmented-reality/?fbclid=IwAR3FLeXduudLrZX1_8MqUq4kDr7gijqru9JTRQXpkFaYznRT3NJsb9UrWowhttps://www.avaramedia.com/ar

May 19

31 min

Canada’s economy has been put on notice. Leading into the COVID crisis, the biggest powers were throwing around their weight, and the world’s smaller countries were beginning to feel it. In a post-COVID economy, small nations will need the savvy of the shrewdest start-ups, and their start-ups will need to be even more on their game. It’s the only way a small country of relatively small businesses can excel in a big world dominated by big platforms. David Skok has a front row seat for this new competition for scale. As the founder and editor-in-chief of The Logic, he’s running Canada’s digital publication focused on the innovation economy, covering companies and creators who are in a race against time. Just like his media start-up. In this episode we discuss:Can the media succeed in Canada without subsidies?What do we need to create ten Shopify's?Is Sidewalk Labs’ exit a victory or defeat for Canadian innovators?   

May 12

30 min

Alberta’s economy will shrink by billions of dollars in 2020 and the unemployment rate is set to exceed 20%. Starting the year with a price war launched by foreign countries, combined with a global pandemic, demand has been decimated and Alberta’s economy is in crisis.In this episode of RBC Disruptors, John Stackhouse is joined by Alice Reimer, Co-Founder of the51 and Site Lead for Creative Destruction Lab and Marty Reed, CEO of Evok Innovations, to discuss the challenges facing Alberta’s energy sector and the steps Alberta needs to take to ensure our energy sector is a critical part of a greener global economy. In today’s episode we discuss:How Alberta technology can transform the future of global energy;The steps Alberta’s energy sector can take to power a cleaner and more competitive economy;How to foster a culture of innovation in Alberta to create exportable IP, attract top talent, and diversify the energy sector and economy.News clips provided from: 1. Edmonton Journal, April 15, 2020Full length clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KziURItutQU 2. Global News, April 24, 2020Full length clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MAhjng6x5E 3. Global News, March 25, 2020Full length clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nqt8HS7WJo

May 5

21 min

In today’s episode of RBC Disruptors, we are joined by Alex Benay, Partner, Digital and Government Solutions at KPMG, former CIO of Canada and one of the world's 100 most influential people in digital government, and Hillary Hartley, Ontario's first Chief Digital and Data Officer, to discuss how governments have pivoted to push out billions of dollars in support to Canadians through the COVID-19 crisis almost entirely through digital channels – and what that could mean for a digital government of the future. In today’s episode we discuss:How the government rapidly shifted to a digital-first approach during the COVID-19 crisis;How governments can seize this opportunity to rethink Canada’s digital infrastructure in a post-COVID world;The need for government to re-think their models, and adopt a major shift in mindset toward speed and user centricity.

Apr 28

27 min

For today’s episode of RBC Disruptors, we’re kickstarting our new season with Michael Serbinis and Janet Bannister.  Mike is a serial entrepreneur, and founder of League, a Toronto startup focused on providing a digital alternative to traditional health insurance.  Janet is the managing partner of Real Ventures, a Montreal-based VC firm. She’s also the first woman to head a major VC outfit in Canada. In today’s episode we discuss:Steps that every business needs to consider to overcome this pandemicThe future of work in Canada, and how we can use technology to transform a lot of processesThe impact this crisis will have on our ecosystem and how we can prepare for a very different futureSign up for the RBC Disruptors email newsletter at: rbc.com/disruptors. If you like our show, please subscribe and leave a 5-star review!

Apr 21

33 min

The data economy in Canada is worth more than $200 billion. Over the past two years, more data has been created than ever before. And, while Canadian companies invest $40 billion a year in data, many believe that Canada is falling behind its peers when it comes to collecting and leveraging data. So what’s holding us back? On RBC Disruptors, meet former Google exec Sam Sebastian, CEO of Pelmorex, the Canadian data giant behind The Weather Network that connects with 60M users globally each month. Sebastian and John Stackhouse discuss: - How Pelmorex is using AI and machine learning along with location, weather and behavior data to create bespoke insights for their clients - The tension between protecting user privacy and new product innovation - How companies can successfully collect and use data without eroding public trust Sign up for the RBC Disruptors email newsletter at rbc.com/disruptors.

Feb 28

37 min

Today on RBC Disruptors, John Stackhouse sits down with two Torontonians who are working to ensure black entrepreneurs have access to more opportunities in the city’s thriving tech sector. They discuss the challenges unique to Canadian black entrepreneurs, the barriers they face getting their ideas off the ground, and why companies that invest in diversity and inclusion tend to be more successful. Isaac Olowolafe Jr., who heads a Toronto-based asset management firm, is the founder of Dream Maker Ventures – a venture capital fund that invests in diverse founders from marginalized communities. He’s joined by Abdullah Snobar, the Executive Director of the DMZ – a tech incubator at Ryerson University. Dream Maker Ventures and the DMZ raised $1M to launch the Black Innovation Fellowship – a program addressing the lack of diversity in the startup ecosystem. In light of Black History Month, Isaac and Abdullah called for Canadians to consider the importance of access and championing of black innovators. Increased opportunity and visibility will be key in advancing black entrepreneurship in the digital economy.

Feb 21

36 min

On New Year’s Eve, BlueDot—a Toronto technology company aiming to fight epidemics using AI—saw something concerning. By the next day, BlueDot had alerted its clients of the possible outbreak of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China—days before the World Health Organization. On RBC Disruptors, meet Dr. Kamran Khan, a Canadian physician and entrepreneur using AI and Big Data to create an early-warning system for infectious diseases. Khan and John Stackhouse discuss: How BlueDot’s early warning system detected the 2020 coronavirus ahead of everyone else Why Canada is a challenging environment for healthcare innovation How societies struggle in 2020 to contain infectious diseases despite a wave of new technologies Sign up for the RBC Disruptors email newsletter at rbc.com/disruptors.

Feb 13

40 min

In the age of automation, we are undergoing a skills shift. By 2022, 54% of frontline workers will need significant reskilling. Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify joined us on RBC Disruptors to discuss how they are revolutionizing the way companies retrain their frontline workers

Nov 2019

35 min

By 2035, Canada’s senior citizens will make up 23% of the country and a shortage of 199,000 long-term care beds will exist if action is not taken. Canada’s health care system has a big problem to solve: how to fundamentally changing the way we care for seniors.  Mike Wessinger of PointClickCare and Michelle E. DiEmanuele of Trillium Health Partners joined RC Disruptors to explore how to address the silver tsunami with technology.

Oct 2019

32 min

Peoples’ viewing habits are shifting dramatically, with the rise of streaming services and mobile viewing – yet, digital isn’t stopping live entertainment from drawing crowds. Cameron Bailey and Joana Vicente – the co-heads of the Toronto International Film Festival joined the 50th episode of RBC Disruptors to speak to the power of audience in an age of digital experience.

Oct 2019

27 min

Technology is transforming the vote. Shuman Ghosemajunder, CTO of Shape Security and former click fraud czar at Google joined us on RBC Disruptors to discuss what technology is doing to democracy, and how technology can fix it.

Sep 2019

38 min

The changing nature of work is keeping millennials and gen Z up at night. In a tech-driven economy, the path to success is no longer clear -- so young people are taking control. On this episode of RBC Disruptors, two young entrepreneurs joined us to explain why they founded their companies—and why others should follow in their footsteps. This episode's guests are Julia Kirouac, Founder & CEO of NudFud, and Braden Ream, Founder & CEO of VoiceFlow.

Sep 2019

42 min

Automation is changing the nature of food production. In part two of this mini-series, John Stackhouse visits the dairy operation of Matt and Jaclyn Walker in Muir, Ontario, two food producers that define Farmer 4.0; entrepreneurs experimenting with technology and innovating the business model of farming. With their robotic milking machine, they are able to shift their focus to cultivating data, problem-solving and improving animal health. For more on Farmer 4.0, see rbc.com/farmer4

Aug 2019

22 min

Agriculture is undergoing a skills revolution. In part one of this mini-series, John Stackhouse discusses the findings of a new RBC report, Farmer 4.0, with Andrew Schrumm, its lead researcher, and how agriculture can thrive in the age of automation. Unfavourable demographics and disruptive technologies in the industry magnify the skills challenge ahead for the 2020s, in which Canada has the opportunity to feed an ever expanding global population. For more on Farmer 4.0, see rbc.com/farmer4

Aug 2019

31 min

There is a shift happening in retail. Angela Ahrendts, former SVP of Retail at Apple and CEO at Burberry joined us on RBC Disruptors to discuss the trends she's seen from her time at two iconic global brands and to share her vision for the future of retail.

Jul 2019

43 min

Technology is disrupting the brain. Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, a physician and brain scientist at Duke University highlighted that 8%-10% of people in North America show signs of a serious addiction to the Internet and gaming - on this special episode we turned our minds inward - Murali shares his perspective and research on how technology is changing the brain and mind.

Jun 2019

37 min

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are moving at a staggering pace but big hurdles remain to dreams like self-driving cars and personalized medicine. What are the risks, opportunities, and timelines? John Stackhouse is joined by the Head of Borealis AI and Chief Scientist Officer at RBC, Foteini Agrafioti, and key experts including Layla el Asri (Microsoft Research), Jean-Francois Gagne (Element AI) and Natalie Cartwright (Finn AI) to discuss the massive potential – and the societal and ethical implications – of artificial intelligence.

Jun 2019

33 min

When Ritual CEO Ray Reddy was a product manager at Google, he learned a trick from Larry Page: the toothbrush test. If you can use a product twice a day, it will become habit-changing. A ritual. Reddy took this premise and applied it to the last frontier of digitization: the local market. At its core, Ritual is about connecting the physical and digital worlds by monetizing the local, in-person experience. He joined us at the last RBC Disruptors event to share how he’s working to make lines a thing of the past, allowing customers to place orders ahead of time.

Apr 2019

40 min

Global shipping ushered in the modern economy — but in 2019, it still has a 19th-century problem: too much paperwork. With growth in global trade contracting, there is tremendous pressure to find efficiencies. At our latest RBC Disruptors, we took our show on the road to Halifax to talk about the future of shipping with Karen Oldfield, who is tasked with making Halifax the most tech-savvy port on the Eastern seaboard, and Todd Scott, who is at the forefront of simplifying global trade with Blockchain technology.

Apr 2019

38 min

The most common question people ask their voice tech assistant isn't “How's the weather?" Not anymore. Today, it's “Alexa, will you marry me?" With 80,000 skills and growing, marriage is maybe the one thing Alexa can’t do. This year, the smart speaker industry will grow to be worth an estimated $7 billion, and demand could potentially surpass that of smartphones. Al Lindsay, a Canadian voice tech pioneer and Amazon’s VP of Alexa Engine Software joined us at the last RBC Disruptors to share his insights into a voice-first world.

Apr 2019

25 min

Hauling away other people's junk, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? founder Brian Scudamore has seen it all: a mountain of escargot shells, a naked man and $400,000 in cash hidden under the floorboards. A lifelong entrepreneur, he’s also seen what it takes to succeed in business — and how failing is vital to learning how to get things right. At the last RBCDisruptors, Scudamore spoke about being willing to fail and the leadership lessons he’s learned along the way.

Mar 2019

35 min

John Chen didn't set out to be The Turnaround Guy. He just played to his strengths. He’s had plenty to fix at BlackBerry, the iconic Canadian tech company he took over as executive chairman and CEO in 2013. BlackBerry’s CEO & Executive Chairman says he’s driven to do what others think isn’t possible. He spoke at the last RBC Disruptors about trade tensions between the U.S. and China, the future of mobile devices and how artificial intelligence is changing cybersecurity.

Jan 2019

32 min

Spin Master was founded in 1994 by three friends fresh out of university. They had early hits with the Earth Buddy and Devil Sticks; but it’s when they started investing heavily in R&D that their toy company took off. Today it’s one of the top five toy companies in the world, with sales exceeding $1.5 billion last year. Ronnen Harary, their Co-Founder and Co-CEO joined us at the last RBC Disruptors to share more of their story, and innovation lessons learned along the way.

Dec 2018

26 min

Dan Schulman is President & CEO of Paypal, a worldwide online payments system that supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods like cheques and money orders. He spoke with RBC CEO Dave McKay at the recent RBC Capital Markets Technology, Internet, Media and Telecommunications Conference in New York City to discuss how Paypal transformed to a customer champion company, changing their strategy from product to platform.

Nov 2018

27 min

When it comes to business transformation, Patrick Pichette has seen it all. The former chief financial officer at both Google and Bell Canada has over 25 years of financial and operating expertise and has led world-class companies like McKinsey and Sprint Canada to break through the complexities of hyper growth, and to execute large, transformative programs. This episode is live from RBC’s National Market Leaders Conference.

Nov 2018

29 min

It's hard to talk about Stewart Butterfield without getting into his unorthodox path to the heights of tech. The Canadian entrepreneur spent his early childhood without electricity, taught himself to code, and studied philosophy at Cambridge before falling into a tech career that’s now pitting him against Microsoft and Google. Butterfield’s biggest business success, Slack, is a corporate communications tool aimed at reducing some of the 269 billion emails sent around the world each day. He joined us at the latest RBC Disruptors.

Oct 2018

26 min

Millions of people have turned to wearables to track their steps, monitor their heart rate and sleeping patterns, and more. For many of us, the fitness tracker is a constant companion. Should tracking our mental health be any different? This was the theme of the latest RBC Disruptors in advance of Mental Illness Awareness Week. This episode's guests are former Olympian and mental health advocate Silken Laumann, Sam Duboc of BEACON and Dan Seider of Stigma.

Oct 2018

27 min

With traditional career paths in flux, some millennials are choosing entrepreneurship and staking their future on themselves. At a special RBCDisruptors session for RBC's summer interns, three young entrepreneurs explained why they took the plunge—and why others should follow in their footsteps. This episode's guests are Emma Harris, 25, whose company Healthy Pets focused on telemedicine for pets; Emily Bland, 23, who co-founded SucSeed to build hydroponic grow tanks in remote communities; and Daniel D’Souza, 22, who helped found inclusion-training startup Crescendo.

Sep 2018

28 min

Netflix is maybe the biggest disruptor of them all. Ten years ago, the company made most of its money sending DVDs by mail. Now, it’s bigger than Disney—the most valuable media company on earth. Jessica Neal is head of talent at Netflix, and it’s her job to maintain the company’s culture of innovation. This episode is live from the C2 conference in Montreal.

Aug 2018

27 min

It's the secret that drives Silicon Valley’s best: the growth mindset. It’s about failing fast, learning fast, and growing fast. PagerDuty's Jennifer Tejadahas built a growth mindset into her company. She tells us about filling out the CARD: the candour, ambition, resilience and diversity that are common to every great growth company.

Jul 2018

23 min

Canada’s tech sector needs more swagger. That’s according to Shopify COO Harley Finkelstein, who says part of his company’s runaway success has been the ability to sell itself—to customers and to potential employees. After hiring 200 people from 50 countries over the past two years, Shopify is looking to add thousands more in its Ottawa HQ and around the world. To meet those needs they’ve partnered with Carleton University on a new degree program, are supporting coding camps for kids in elementary and high schools, and are making Canada a destination for international talent.

Jun 2018

26 min

When others see obstacles, entrepreneurs see opportunities. Nowhere is that more true than the up-and-coming generation of business minds, many fostered through NEXT Canada. The organization gives entrepreneurs a boost through education, mentorship, funding, and access to a strong entrepreneurial network.In this episode of RBC Disruptors, host John Stackhouse speaks with three members of NEXT’s Class of 2020, who have bold goals for reshaping economic and social systems and the environment - which could have wide-ranging impacts for Canada and the world as a whole. They speak confidently, clearly, and urgently about the imperative for better solutions, right now.Myra Arshad is the Founder and CEO of ALT TEX, an intriguing B2B sustainable textile solution. It takes paper and food waste and agricultural by-products and converts them into carbon-neutral, biodegradable fabrics.Natasha Dhayagude is the Co-Founder and CEO of Chinova Bioworks. The company’s focus is revolutionizing the food and preservation process, by developing a natural preservative extracted from the stems of white button mushrooms.Zach McMahon is the Co-Founder and CEO of LUCID, which is building AI music therapy products. It places music at the centre of not only mood-building, but mental health, thanks in part to AI analysis.

Sep 22

36 min

COVID lockdown restrictions have boosted the desire to consume creative content higher than ever. What’s new about this era is where the content is coming from -- a diversity of voices from around the globe, not originally directly linked to traditional publishing firms, production companies, or movie studios. We explore this phenomenon in this episode of RBC Disruptors by looking into the origin story of Wattpad. As co-founder and CEO Allen Lau tells host John Stackhouse, the company was inspired by the desire for a good app for reading on mobile phones. Now, it’s turned into a content powerhouse, with more than 4 million writers uploading stories in 50 different languages. The most promising are turned into books, T.V. shows, and movies, like The Kissing Booth, After We Collided, and She’s With Me, thanks in part to Wattpad’s custom AI engine. It’s a global company with global perspectives, but Lau believes it’s also important to represent Canadian perspectives on the world stage. This episode of RBC Disruptorslooks at a whole new viewpoint on Canadian content.

Sep 15

31 min

It's a branch of molecular biology that humans have been harnessing for centuries, but has come to carry a negative connotation for many Canadians due to concerns about genetically modified organisms: Genomics.A recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that as much as 60% of the physical inputs to the global economy could be produced biologically, with potential savings of up to 4 TRILLION dollars per year. And as Canada works to recover from the COVID crisis, bio-manufacturing is also being billed as a massive opportunity to address issues like the supply chain vulnerabilities revealed by pandemic, as well as our reliance on foreign factories.On this episode of RBC Disruptors, host John Stackhouse sits down with two of the country's top experts on Genomics; Doctor Rob Annan, the President and CEO of Genome Canada, and Doctor Bettina Hamelin, the President and CEO of Ontario Genomics, to learn more about the opportunities presented by the so-called "bio-revolution". He also delves into the regulatory, economic, and ethical barriers that exist, and the risks of being left behind if Canadian entrepreneurs fail to embrace this potentially transformational change.Show notes:The McKinsey Global Institute's report on the Bio-Revolution can be found here:https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/pharmaceuticals-and-medical-products/our-insights/the-bio-revolution-innovations-transforming-economies-societies-and-our-livesJohn also references a previous episode of Disruptors featuring Canadian author Alex Lazarow, called "Beyond Silicon Valley: Why We Need a Global Playbook for Innovation," which was originally released on August 4th, 2020.

Sep 8

37 min

The world is on track to add as many people to cities in the next 40 years as we have in the last 40 centuries. Those new buildings and roads will require a lot of concrete, which historically was an economically and environmentally inefficient building material. However, new innovators are leveraging technology to tackle both of those problems. The challenge they face, though, is around policy and building momentum. Right now, regulations prohibit some concrete manufacturers from innovating, even as more companies are demanding climate action. Key takeaways: City and rural dwellers alike are impacted by inefficient concrete and should advocate for the use of climate-friendly building materials.Climate entrepreneurs like CarbonCure provide solutions that can turn legacy materials into an engine for environmental good. Canada has all the ecosystem support - talent, knowledge, and global connections - necessary to lead the climate entrepreneurship race. What’s missing is policy action and market signals from governments that climate-friendly building materials should be prioritized.

Aug 25

32 min

Following last week’s International Youth Day, Canadian youth might feel like they have few things to celebrate. As one of the hardest-hit groups in the COVID-induced economic decline, they’re faced with a staggering 30% unemployment rate and potential long-term career setbacks. Youth need support more than ever, and the economy needs them. To rebuild, we need to tap into the energy and creativity of young people to reimagine what’s possible. In this episode, we revisit an RBC Disruptors conversation from September, 2019 with Julia Kirouac and Braden Ream, two 20-something founders who decided to start their own ventures. They share how they dove headfirst into their businesses, while also navigating the barriers of being young entrepreneurs.

Aug 18

42 min

Oceans provide safety, a way of life, economic sustainability, and food for the entire planet, yet over 80% of the world’s oceans are unmapped and unexplored. Now, we have the tools and technology to empower true ocean discovery. The limited knowledge we have of oceans has already produced trillions of dollars in economic benefit and insight that led to life-saving medications. With data and a renewed focus on building a sustainable future, the world’s oceans can yet again provide an unparalleled opportunity for growth. Key takeaways: Everyone is impacted when oceans aren’t cared for as food supplies, shipping industries, and national security depend on healthy oceans. Entrepreneurs, academics, and investors should collectively focus their creative energies on thinking about the triple bottom line: environment, community, and profit.  This requires working with and learning from Indigenous communities since much of our coastline is cared for by Indigenous peoples.Canada has the right opportunities and resources to lead in ocean innovation, but what’s missing is a critical mass of advocacy for a sustainable future for oceans. 

Aug 11

29 min

Nearly 10 years ago, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen famously claimed that “software is eating the world.” But today, a new crop of “frontier innovators” are straying away from disrupting existing industries with software in favour of building new industries, improving current innovation models, and addressing market gaps that Silicon Valley ignored. In his new book, Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs--from Delhi to Detroit--Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley, Alex Lazarow interviews more than 200 entrepreneurs from around the world about their challenges, success stories, and what he calls the "frontier," the growing constellation of startup ecosystems, outside of the Valley. On this episode of RBC Disruptors, Alex and John discuss the shift from the equity model in venture capital, what it means to be born global, and the future of innovation in Canada, and around the worldKey takeaways: Founders don’t have to settle for cash-for-equity venture capital, and should explore new models around partnerships or royalties. Every innovator needs to be “born global,” and look at the whole world as a potential market. The Silicon Valley playbook is not the only way to succeed, and founders need to consider how they are building businesses that make an impact, not just a profit.

Aug 4

28 min

To succeed in the post-COVID economy, businesses will need more than just a pivot to digital – they’ll need to lean into and harness data to gain an advantage. As the COVID crisis disrupts traditional business models, it’s more important than ever for companies to understand how to leverage data on user behaviour, sales trends, and other variables to re-position themselves for the future. In this episode, we revisit an earlier RBC Disruptors conversation from February, 2020 with Sam Sebastian, CEO of Pelmorex Corp, which owns The Weather Network, on how firms can capitalize on data to gain an edge and grow their business.

Jul 28

37 min

Building a successful company takes a community, and SkipTheDishes is no different. A Winnipeg success story, the food delivery platform has over 25,000 restaurants in its community. John Stackhouse sits down with SkipTheDishes CEO Kevin Edwards, who shares the founding story of Skip, how the company is helping its restaurant community with a $24 million commitment during COVID-19, and why the company is so focused on building a supportive environment for the next tech success story. Key takeaways: The future of restaurants is a hybrid – the ones that will thrive will draw people in but also reach out to customers and connect with them in unique ways. Restaurants need to become digital natives and harness the power of social to engage their customers.Canada has no shortage of tech talent, but for tech companies to thrive, they need to scale, and to harness the power of data.

Jul 21

25 min

The COVID pandemic has brought everyday life online and made us more reliant on technology than ever. Many of us are working from home and glued to our screens all day, and then Zooming with friends or streaming movies in the evenings. Not to mention our shift to online shopping and ordering food. What effect is all this technology having on us? In this episode, we revisit an earlier but still incredibly relevant RBC Disruptors conversation from June 2019 with Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, a physician and brain scientist at Duke University, on how technology is changing the brain and mind.

Jul 14

37 min

In the midst of a global crisis, getting food from farm to fork has never been more important, and in some ways, more challenging. Nothing has been more essential than keeping Canadians fed and supplied. At the forefront of this is Loblaw, a fourth-generation Canadian company and the largest non-government employer in the country. Through their COVID pivots they are leading the charge on enhancing customer convenience and keeping Canadians safe and stocked up. Instacart is the North American leader in online grocery – they have the largest grocery delivery network in America with more than 500,000 active full-service shoppers. On this episode of RBC Disruptors, John Stackhouse discusses the changes and challenges in grocery commerce with Sarah Davis, President of Loblaw and Nilam Ganenthiran, President of Instacart.Key TakeawaysThe future of grocery will blend digital and in-store experiences. Consumers want to choose their grocery experience, so how can grocers position themselves to deliver digital experiences for the long term?Canadians want to feel connected to their local grocery brand. They want to trust where their food is coming from and know that they have the option to support vendors from within their province. How can grocery brands use this to their advantage?As grocery stores continue to go digital, understanding your consumer has never been more important. How can grocers use consumer data to provide a seamless, end to end experience that enhances the consumer’s relationship with their brand?

Jul 7

30 min

Over the last 153 years, millions of Canadians have spread to every corner of the world. We have been part of major global movements from the birth of Hollywood to the strategy behind modern day peacekeeping. We know that Canadians are going to play a key role in rebuilding the global economy as we look beyond the pandemic. Laura Buhler, Executive Director of the C100, an association of Canadian expats in the Valley that has helped build Canada's tech ecosystem, and Andre Charoo, General Partner of Maple VC and co-chair of the C100, join John Stackhouse on RBC Disruptors to discuss:How we can leverage our population at home and abroad to create strategic opportunities and accelerate the growth of Canada’s tech companies.What Canadian companies need to do to attract global talent. Pay must match ambition.Why large corporations need to invest locally to develop a thriving ecosystem to compete on the global stage. Listeners can learn more about the C100 and its initiatives at https://www.thec100.org/.

Jun 30

28 min

Retail is a massive originator of data, generating 40 terabytes per hour globally. As the industry continues to undergo unprecedented disruption, to survive and continue to thrive in today’s environment, winning retailers are using that data to understand their customers, empower their employees, create intelligent supply chains, and reinvent their business models. Jose Ribau, Executive Vice President, Digital & Innovation at Cadillac Fairview, and four guests join John Stackhouse on RBC Disruptors to explore the future of retail and how malls can compete in a post-pandemic environment.Key Takeaways:The mall of the future will be built on dataOnline shopping may be here to stay, but so too, is a blended model of in-person and online experiencesRetailers and landlords will need innovative approaches to cater to dramatically changed consumer behaviour

Jun 23

29 min

On this episode of RBC Disruptors, John Stackhouse is joined by Valerie Pisano, CEO of MILA in Montreal, and Abhinav Sharma of McGill University to discuss Canadian innovations in AI and machine learning for healthcare delivery, progress in the development of digital contact tracing applications, and the importance of healthcare professionals working hand in hand with technology.Key Takeaways:What will the patient experience look like in 2030?Technology is going to increasingly shape healthcare. But without the human adoption of technology, we'll never see its potentialHow do we navigate data and privacy concerns, while understanding the benefits of these innovations?How can we ensure that Canadian healthcare innovations are global in their ambition?

Jun 16

33 min

COVID-19 pushed Canada into the first recession since the mass adoption of smartphones. Entering 2020, Canada had more than 500,000 businesses that were predominantly analog. The crisis has served as a catalyst for small businesses including traditional businesses to pivot to digital as they closed their doors due to COVID-19. Businesses that will emerge from this crisis stronger, are the ones that changed their strategies through the crisis to reach customers in new ways. In this episode, John Stackhouse is joined by Lori Darlington, VP, Small Business & Strategic Partnerships at RBC and together they examine a series of case studies on small businesses who have pivoted to new strategies to grow through the pandemic. In this episode we discuss:How small businesses can scale coming out of the crisisHow have they used digital to improve the customer experience and reach new customers?What do small businesses need to thrive beyond the pandemic, in terms of capital, support, public policy and consumer behaviour?

Jun 9

33 min

In March of 2020, Canada’s post-secondary institutions moved over 2 million students to online learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the urgency of crisis measures fade to operating in the “new normal”, we are likely to see students demand more from digital-based learning to give them greater flexibility in where, when and how they learn. This collective moment of mass disruption can be seized to move higher education to the digital age. In this episode of RBC Disruptors, John Stackhouse is joined by John Baker, President and CEO of D2L,  Charlotte Yates, Provost and Vice President of Academics at Guelph University, Sophie D’Amours, Rector of Laval University,  Neil Passina, President of Athabasca University and  Andrew Schrumm, Senior Manager, Research at RBC to discuss: How online learning can transform post-secondary education, far beyond the current crisisHow the institutions that will thrive will figure out how to blend technology and socializationThe need to support teachers in transitioning to a brave new worldThe huge opportunity for Canada to leverage our strength in education and scale our digital platforms on a global basis

Jun 1

32 min

Canada has always had a place for talent from all over the world, but post-crisis, will our approach to acquiring global talent need to change? How do we ensure Canadian businesses and workforces are set up for success as the landscape of work has evolved? Innovation and design-centric thinking are key, and for companies of any size, so is building proactive, adaptive and agile teams. On this episode of RBC Disruptors, John Stackhouse is joined by Sheetal Jaitly, Founder and CEO of TribalScale and Eman Faiz, senior product designer at TribalScale to discuss:How do we approach talent acquisition in a post-COVID society?What strengths does the Canadian tech sector bring as we reimagine the economy?Beyond hard and soft skills, what should companies look for in prospective candidates to drive success in a changing landscape?

May 26

26 min

Art has always acted as a mirror to society. Our art changes as things like technology, globalization, and now, a global pandemic drastically alter the way we live our lives. Canada is a hub for creative digital technologies and the arts. In this episode of RBC Disruptors, John Stackhouse is joined by iconic Canadian photographer Ed Burtynsky and his business partner and gaming expert, Vikas Gupta. Together at AVARA Media, they are pushing the boundaries of photography using augmented reality, virtual reality and photogrammetry to create immersive, three-dimensional visual experiences. With people across the globe adjusting to a widely professed “new normal,” a boom in augmented reality and virtual experiences is taking place. In this episode, we discuss:  How is technology transforming the photographic experience?How can Canadian artists and creatives make an impact in a digital-first world?How are augmented reality and virtual reality going to help us better communicate and enhance the human experience post COVID-19?Learn more about Ed Byrtynsky and Avara Media's work here: https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/ed-burtynskys-augmented-reality/?fbclid=IwAR3FLeXduudLrZX1_8MqUq4kDr7gijqru9JTRQXpkFaYznRT3NJsb9UrWowhttps://www.avaramedia.com/ar

May 19

31 min

Canada’s economy has been put on notice. Leading into the COVID crisis, the biggest powers were throwing around their weight, and the world’s smaller countries were beginning to feel it. In a post-COVID economy, small nations will need the savvy of the shrewdest start-ups, and their start-ups will need to be even more on their game. It’s the only way a small country of relatively small businesses can excel in a big world dominated by big platforms. David Skok has a front row seat for this new competition for scale. As the founder and editor-in-chief of The Logic, he’s running Canada’s digital publication focused on the innovation economy, covering companies and creators who are in a race against time. Just like his media start-up. In this episode we discuss:Can the media succeed in Canada without subsidies?What do we need to create ten Shopify's?Is Sidewalk Labs’ exit a victory or defeat for Canadian innovators?   

May 12

30 min

Alberta’s economy will shrink by billions of dollars in 2020 and the unemployment rate is set to exceed 20%. Starting the year with a price war launched by foreign countries, combined with a global pandemic, demand has been decimated and Alberta’s economy is in crisis.In this episode of RBC Disruptors, John Stackhouse is joined by Alice Reimer, Co-Founder of the51 and Site Lead for Creative Destruction Lab and Marty Reed, CEO of Evok Innovations, to discuss the challenges facing Alberta’s energy sector and the steps Alberta needs to take to ensure our energy sector is a critical part of a greener global economy. In today’s episode we discuss:How Alberta technology can transform the future of global energy;The steps Alberta’s energy sector can take to power a cleaner and more competitive economy;How to foster a culture of innovation in Alberta to create exportable IP, attract top talent, and diversify the energy sector and economy.News clips provided from: 1. Edmonton Journal, April 15, 2020Full length clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KziURItutQU 2. Global News, April 24, 2020Full length clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MAhjng6x5E 3. Global News, March 25, 2020Full length clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nqt8HS7WJo

May 5

21 min

In today’s episode of RBC Disruptors, we are joined by Alex Benay, Partner, Digital and Government Solutions at KPMG, former CIO of Canada and one of the world's 100 most influential people in digital government, and Hillary Hartley, Ontario's first Chief Digital and Data Officer, to discuss how governments have pivoted to push out billions of dollars in support to Canadians through the COVID-19 crisis almost entirely through digital channels – and what that could mean for a digital government of the future. In today’s episode we discuss:How the government rapidly shifted to a digital-first approach during the COVID-19 crisis;How governments can seize this opportunity to rethink Canada’s digital infrastructure in a post-COVID world;The need for government to re-think their models, and adopt a major shift in mindset toward speed and user centricity.

Apr 28

27 min

For today’s episode of RBC Disruptors, we’re kickstarting our new season with Michael Serbinis and Janet Bannister.  Mike is a serial entrepreneur, and founder of League, a Toronto startup focused on providing a digital alternative to traditional health insurance.  Janet is the managing partner of Real Ventures, a Montreal-based VC firm. She’s also the first woman to head a major VC outfit in Canada. In today’s episode we discuss:Steps that every business needs to consider to overcome this pandemicThe future of work in Canada, and how we can use technology to transform a lot of processesThe impact this crisis will have on our ecosystem and how we can prepare for a very different futureSign up for the RBC Disruptors email newsletter at: rbc.com/disruptors. If you like our show, please subscribe and leave a 5-star review!

Apr 21

33 min

The data economy in Canada is worth more than $200 billion. Over the past two years, more data has been created than ever before. And, while Canadian companies invest $40 billion a year in data, many believe that Canada is falling behind its peers when it comes to collecting and leveraging data. So what’s holding us back? On RBC Disruptors, meet former Google exec Sam Sebastian, CEO of Pelmorex, the Canadian data giant behind The Weather Network that connects with 60M users globally each month. Sebastian and John Stackhouse discuss: - How Pelmorex is using AI and machine learning along with location, weather and behavior data to create bespoke insights for their clients - The tension between protecting user privacy and new product innovation - How companies can successfully collect and use data without eroding public trust Sign up for the RBC Disruptors email newsletter at rbc.com/disruptors.

Feb 28

37 min

Today on RBC Disruptors, John Stackhouse sits down with two Torontonians who are working to ensure black entrepreneurs have access to more opportunities in the city’s thriving tech sector. They discuss the challenges unique to Canadian black entrepreneurs, the barriers they face getting their ideas off the ground, and why companies that invest in diversity and inclusion tend to be more successful. Isaac Olowolafe Jr., who heads a Toronto-based asset management firm, is the founder of Dream Maker Ventures – a venture capital fund that invests in diverse founders from marginalized communities. He’s joined by Abdullah Snobar, the Executive Director of the DMZ – a tech incubator at Ryerson University. Dream Maker Ventures and the DMZ raised $1M to launch the Black Innovation Fellowship – a program addressing the lack of diversity in the startup ecosystem. In light of Black History Month, Isaac and Abdullah called for Canadians to consider the importance of access and championing of black innovators. Increased opportunity and visibility will be key in advancing black entrepreneurship in the digital economy.

Feb 21

36 min

On New Year’s Eve, BlueDot—a Toronto technology company aiming to fight epidemics using AI—saw something concerning. By the next day, BlueDot had alerted its clients of the possible outbreak of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China—days before the World Health Organization. On RBC Disruptors, meet Dr. Kamran Khan, a Canadian physician and entrepreneur using AI and Big Data to create an early-warning system for infectious diseases. Khan and John Stackhouse discuss: How BlueDot’s early warning system detected the 2020 coronavirus ahead of everyone else Why Canada is a challenging environment for healthcare innovation How societies struggle in 2020 to contain infectious diseases despite a wave of new technologies Sign up for the RBC Disruptors email newsletter at rbc.com/disruptors.

Feb 13

40 min

In the age of automation, we are undergoing a skills shift. By 2022, 54% of frontline workers will need significant reskilling. Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify joined us on RBC Disruptors to discuss how they are revolutionizing the way companies retrain their frontline workers

Nov 2019

35 min

By 2035, Canada’s senior citizens will make up 23% of the country and a shortage of 199,000 long-term care beds will exist if action is not taken. Canada’s health care system has a big problem to solve: how to fundamentally changing the way we care for seniors.  Mike Wessinger of PointClickCare and Michelle E. DiEmanuele of Trillium Health Partners joined RC Disruptors to explore how to address the silver tsunami with technology.

Oct 2019

32 min

Peoples’ viewing habits are shifting dramatically, with the rise of streaming services and mobile viewing – yet, digital isn’t stopping live entertainment from drawing crowds. Cameron Bailey and Joana Vicente – the co-heads of the Toronto International Film Festival joined the 50th episode of RBC Disruptors to speak to the power of audience in an age of digital experience.

Oct 2019

27 min

Technology is transforming the vote. Shuman Ghosemajunder, CTO of Shape Security and former click fraud czar at Google joined us on RBC Disruptors to discuss what technology is doing to democracy, and how technology can fix it.

Sep 2019

38 min

The changing nature of work is keeping millennials and gen Z up at night. In a tech-driven economy, the path to success is no longer clear -- so young people are taking control. On this episode of RBC Disruptors, two young entrepreneurs joined us to explain why they founded their companies—and why others should follow in their footsteps. This episode's guests are Julia Kirouac, Founder & CEO of NudFud, and Braden Ream, Founder & CEO of VoiceFlow.

Sep 2019

42 min

Automation is changing the nature of food production. In part two of this mini-series, John Stackhouse visits the dairy operation of Matt and Jaclyn Walker in Muir, Ontario, two food producers that define Farmer 4.0; entrepreneurs experimenting with technology and innovating the business model of farming. With their robotic milking machine, they are able to shift their focus to cultivating data, problem-solving and improving animal health. For more on Farmer 4.0, see rbc.com/farmer4

Aug 2019

22 min

Agriculture is undergoing a skills revolution. In part one of this mini-series, John Stackhouse discusses the findings of a new RBC report, Farmer 4.0, with Andrew Schrumm, its lead researcher, and how agriculture can thrive in the age of automation. Unfavourable demographics and disruptive technologies in the industry magnify the skills challenge ahead for the 2020s, in which Canada has the opportunity to feed an ever expanding global population. For more on Farmer 4.0, see rbc.com/farmer4

Aug 2019

31 min

There is a shift happening in retail. Angela Ahrendts, former SVP of Retail at Apple and CEO at Burberry joined us on RBC Disruptors to discuss the trends she's seen from her time at two iconic global brands and to share her vision for the future of retail.

Jul 2019

43 min

Technology is disrupting the brain. Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, a physician and brain scientist at Duke University highlighted that 8%-10% of people in North America show signs of a serious addiction to the Internet and gaming - on this special episode we turned our minds inward - Murali shares his perspective and research on how technology is changing the brain and mind.

Jun 2019

37 min

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are moving at a staggering pace but big hurdles remain to dreams like self-driving cars and personalized medicine. What are the risks, opportunities, and timelines? John Stackhouse is joined by the Head of Borealis AI and Chief Scientist Officer at RBC, Foteini Agrafioti, and key experts including Layla el Asri (Microsoft Research), Jean-Francois Gagne (Element AI) and Natalie Cartwright (Finn AI) to discuss the massive potential – and the societal and ethical implications – of artificial intelligence.

Jun 2019

33 min

When Ritual CEO Ray Reddy was a product manager at Google, he learned a trick from Larry Page: the toothbrush test. If you can use a product twice a day, it will become habit-changing. A ritual. Reddy took this premise and applied it to the last frontier of digitization: the local market. At its core, Ritual is about connecting the physical and digital worlds by monetizing the local, in-person experience. He joined us at the last RBC Disruptors event to share how he’s working to make lines a thing of the past, allowing customers to place orders ahead of time.

Apr 2019

40 min

Global shipping ushered in the modern economy — but in 2019, it still has a 19th-century problem: too much paperwork. With growth in global trade contracting, there is tremendous pressure to find efficiencies. At our latest RBC Disruptors, we took our show on the road to Halifax to talk about the future of shipping with Karen Oldfield, who is tasked with making Halifax the most tech-savvy port on the Eastern seaboard, and Todd Scott, who is at the forefront of simplifying global trade with Blockchain technology.

Apr 2019

38 min

The most common question people ask their voice tech assistant isn't “How's the weather?" Not anymore. Today, it's “Alexa, will you marry me?" With 80,000 skills and growing, marriage is maybe the one thing Alexa can’t do. This year, the smart speaker industry will grow to be worth an estimated $7 billion, and demand could potentially surpass that of smartphones. Al Lindsay, a Canadian voice tech pioneer and Amazon’s VP of Alexa Engine Software joined us at the last RBC Disruptors to share his insights into a voice-first world.

Apr 2019

25 min

Hauling away other people's junk, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? founder Brian Scudamore has seen it all: a mountain of escargot shells, a naked man and $400,000 in cash hidden under the floorboards. A lifelong entrepreneur, he’s also seen what it takes to succeed in business — and how failing is vital to learning how to get things right. At the last RBCDisruptors, Scudamore spoke about being willing to fail and the leadership lessons he’s learned along the way.

Mar 2019

35 min

John Chen didn't set out to be The Turnaround Guy. He just played to his strengths. He’s had plenty to fix at BlackBerry, the iconic Canadian tech company he took over as executive chairman and CEO in 2013. BlackBerry’s CEO & Executive Chairman says he’s driven to do what others think isn’t possible. He spoke at the last RBC Disruptors about trade tensions between the U.S. and China, the future of mobile devices and how artificial intelligence is changing cybersecurity.

Jan 2019

32 min

Spin Master was founded in 1994 by three friends fresh out of university. They had early hits with the Earth Buddy and Devil Sticks; but it’s when they started investing heavily in R&D that their toy company took off. Today it’s one of the top five toy companies in the world, with sales exceeding $1.5 billion last year. Ronnen Harary, their Co-Founder and Co-CEO joined us at the last RBC Disruptors to share more of their story, and innovation lessons learned along the way.

Dec 2018

26 min

Dan Schulman is President & CEO of Paypal, a worldwide online payments system that supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods like cheques and money orders. He spoke with RBC CEO Dave McKay at the recent RBC Capital Markets Technology, Internet, Media and Telecommunications Conference in New York City to discuss how Paypal transformed to a customer champion company, changing their strategy from product to platform.

Nov 2018

27 min

When it comes to business transformation, Patrick Pichette has seen it all. The former chief financial officer at both Google and Bell Canada has over 25 years of financial and operating expertise and has led world-class companies like McKinsey and Sprint Canada to break through the complexities of hyper growth, and to execute large, transformative programs. This episode is live from RBC’s National Market Leaders Conference.

Nov 2018

29 min

It's hard to talk about Stewart Butterfield without getting into his unorthodox path to the heights of tech. The Canadian entrepreneur spent his early childhood without electricity, taught himself to code, and studied philosophy at Cambridge before falling into a tech career that’s now pitting him against Microsoft and Google. Butterfield’s biggest business success, Slack, is a corporate communications tool aimed at reducing some of the 269 billion emails sent around the world each day. He joined us at the latest RBC Disruptors.

Oct 2018

26 min

Millions of people have turned to wearables to track their steps, monitor their heart rate and sleeping patterns, and more. For many of us, the fitness tracker is a constant companion. Should tracking our mental health be any different? This was the theme of the latest RBC Disruptors in advance of Mental Illness Awareness Week. This episode's guests are former Olympian and mental health advocate Silken Laumann, Sam Duboc of BEACON and Dan Seider of Stigma.

Oct 2018

27 min

With traditional career paths in flux, some millennials are choosing entrepreneurship and staking their future on themselves. At a special RBCDisruptors session for RBC's summer interns, three young entrepreneurs explained why they took the plunge—and why others should follow in their footsteps. This episode's guests are Emma Harris, 25, whose company Healthy Pets focused on telemedicine for pets; Emily Bland, 23, who co-founded SucSeed to build hydroponic grow tanks in remote communities; and Daniel D’Souza, 22, who helped found inclusion-training startup Crescendo.

Sep 2018

28 min

Netflix is maybe the biggest disruptor of them all. Ten years ago, the company made most of its money sending DVDs by mail. Now, it’s bigger than Disney—the most valuable media company on earth. Jessica Neal is head of talent at Netflix, and it’s her job to maintain the company’s culture of innovation. This episode is live from the C2 conference in Montreal.

Aug 2018

27 min

It's the secret that drives Silicon Valley’s best: the growth mindset. It’s about failing fast, learning fast, and growing fast. PagerDuty's Jennifer Tejadahas built a growth mindset into her company. She tells us about filling out the CARD: the candour, ambition, resilience and diversity that are common to every great growth company.

Jul 2018

23 min

Canada’s tech sector needs more swagger. That’s according to Shopify COO Harley Finkelstein, who says part of his company’s runaway success has been the ability to sell itself—to customers and to potential employees. After hiring 200 people from 50 countries over the past two years, Shopify is looking to add thousands more in its Ottawa HQ and around the world. To meet those needs they’ve partnered with Carleton University on a new degree program, are supporting coding camps for kids in elementary and high schools, and are making Canada a destination for international talent.

Jun 2018

26 min

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