Leigh Farlow

Website URL: http://www.artemiscanada.com

23
Nov 2015
Last week we celebrated the Top 20 hottest startups in Canada at the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) conference. It was a packed event with entrepreneurs, investors and industry leaders, all with one thing in common: a relentless passion to support local innovation. It was no surprise that Shopify was named CIX Innovator of the Year, an award given to a Canadian company that disrupts and transforms an industry in profound ways.
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31
May 2015
This year’s Tech Leadership Conference topped the charts. With a focus on visioneering, the main themes were: harnessing the power of introverts; disruptive innovation; design thinking; internet of things; emerging intrapreneurship; and managing innovation in a time of immense change. For those of you who weren’t able to make it, here’s my recap: Iain Klugman started the day off highlighting the tech shifts that have happened in Waterloo Region over the past few decades. We’re in an entrepreneurial driven economy, where Canada and KW are now on the map. The focus remains on fighting the war for talent, connecting with Toronto, supporting startups, and scaling up. Susan Cain, author and co-founder of the Quiet Revolution, was the first keynote and opened our eyes to a topic we don’t often discuss- the power of introverts. This is a game changing trend that we need to pay attention to, as one-third to one-half of our population are introverts. There is no such thing as a one size fits all work environment, so we need to collectively rethink leadership and how we work to appeal to all personality types- introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts. Group brainstorming meetings and open concept workplaces can stifle creativity for introverts, who prefer quiet and solitude to work through problems and generate ideas. Susan encouraged us to open up this conversation- who are the prominent introverts in your organization and how can you support them? If you want to learn more, watch Susan’s TedTalk here. Selecting a break-out session wasn’t easy, with some terrific options, but my imagination was captured by the Design Thinking talk with David Schonthal (Professor at Kellogg and leader at IDEO). He walked us through the cyclical journey of learning about the world, having ideas and turning them into a reality. At the root of this is a deep understanding of human behaviour. We looked at analogies (ie. how is a F1 racecar team similar to an ER trauma team?), talked about going to the extremes and not just looking at the core customer, and designing with empathy in mind. When generating ideas, don’t prejudge or dismiss wild ideas, and view prototyping as a non-linear process. The scrappier the better because you’re launching to learn. In the first of 3 riveting T-5 presentations James Slifierz talked about how his start-up, SkyWatch will revolutionize the space industry, offering modern data solutions for a heritage industry. Loren Padelford of Shopify shared the secrets to his success in hiring sales people (look for traits like creativity, curiosity, a history of success and coachability) while avoiding the shining stars and megalomaniacs. Matt Scobel, leader of the Canon Innovation Lab, shared reasons why innovation and creativity get stifled - but the solution is simple, if managers can let go of control to let great things happen. On the hot topic of the Internet of Things, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (Designswarm) spoke about how grassroots movements in IoT are changing business. Hardware is becoming increasingly simple and inexpensive to access. Learning and design opportunities are everywhere we look. We were challenged to design for what we know, to consider invasiveness of innovations, and to translate IoT data into value for users as well as business. In keeping with the ying-yang conversation of introverts and extroverts, the final keynote Eddie Obeng (educator and author) is likely as extroverted as they come!  He asked what our hopes and fears were for his presentation. The lesson? By vocalizing our fears (ie. boredom, buzzwords, etc) and eliminating these concerns we become more engaged. His thrill ride of a presentation had us roaring with laughter, and challenged our assumptions about organization structure and work in a world that is changing faster than we can learn about it. Now, what’s with The Goat? We’ve all been wondering what Communitech’s new goat mascot is all about. The mystery has been solved, as we were encouraged aspire to be more like goats - climb rocky terrain, be naturally curious, ask questions, and have a taste of everything to get experience. So, go out there and roam!
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15
May 2015
Yesterday, Artemis Canada held a workshop focusing on the Gallup StrengthsFinder approach with our guru on the topic, Omer Aziz. We brought together a group of talented tech leaders, to talk about becoming aware of our strengths and leveraging these talents for both self-development and building successful teams. This was our second workshop on this topic (see our last recap here). This time the focus shifted to actionable takeaways. If you set aside an hour to dedicate to self reflection, here's an exercise that we would like to pass along:

1. Tune into your talents

What are the top 5 strengths that are unique to you? These can be found through the StrengthsFinder assessment. Studies have shown that you will be happier and more productive if you focus on doing the things you love, versus trying to improve your weaknesses.  Once you know your strengths, you'll be able to communicate your talents more effectively as well.

2. Observe strong moments

When you use your strengths, you can achieve what's referred to as 'Flow' . Flow is that trance-like state where you lose track of time and get amazing things accomplished. Think about times when you were in 'Flow' at work. Write down the activities or 'strong moments' that put you into flow. It's a simple exercise that will make you much more aware of where your greatest productivity and enjoyment is. It'll tell you what it looks like when those talents are in action.

3. Analyze and optimize

The underlying patterns in your 'strong moments' are unique to every individual. Once you start to analyze these trends, you can aim to focus on those activities as much as possible. For instance, can you devote a half day agenda to focus on those things that you love doing, and that deliver incredible results? Once you see what puts you into flow you can make sure it happens more often.

4. Start the dialogue

Now that you know your strengths, can communicate them, and can plan your own work in ways that enable you to utilize your talents, bring this insight to your team. Ensure that your leaders know what situations bring out your best performance. Next work with your team to help them identify their strengths. Look for their strong moments and aim to design their work in such a way that they can leverage their talents for at least 50% of their working day.

5. Watch the results

With both you and your team working in Flow, both strategy and execution will improve as your levels of engagement and job satisfaction across the team soar. We've become advocates for this approach, having witnessed how the top tech leaders are both highly self-aware and also keenly focused on working in ways that enable them to exercise their strengths.
 
Article was originally posted on www.artemicanada.com on May 15, 2015. 
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28
Apr 2015
Kathleen Wynne set the tone of the OCE DISCOVERY event in Toronto yesterday with the announcement of the $25M Scale Up Ventures Fund, with matching private investment, to support startups with market success and the ability to grow. The focus of discussion today was around moving beyond startup, and supporting our most promising ventures as they scale to become world leading companies. Eric Ries, pioneer of the lean startup movement, spoke about the need to flip the traditional 20th century blueprint for companies. Instead, he advocated for a focus on accountability, process, culture and people. He talked about how investors care about results, and when they see a great team, great results usually follow. Building a great team is not innate. You'll seem to have super powers if you have the right components - process, the lean approach, rigour and relentless drive. As for his outlook on tech and the investment bubble, Eric's most poignant insight "Winter is coming" caused a collective shiver throughout the crowd. There's been a wave of explosive growth in tech, and Eric cautions entrepreneurs to use their money wisely- on customers. If you continue to add value, the rest will follow. David Roberts, Singularity University Faculty Member, spoke of disruptive innovation and how it's advancing at an exponential rate. Evidence of this are an impressive cluster of health-related startups in attendance. Here are a few that impressed with their potential to both scale up and be disruptive: Cloud DX: The Vitaliti product is a finalist in the highly esteemed Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition. It's a device that captures a variety of vital signs and can diagnose 15 diseases. The future has arrived! InteraXon: The Muse is a brain-sensing headband and app that challenges and trains your brain to reach a point of mindfulness and calm. Already available in retail, this could make for a valuable Mother's Day present. You can buy them here. myHealthSphere: Increasing productivity and engagement in your office could be as easy as saying "Dooo". Their wellness software suggests activities and meditation for you to do while at work. Synaptive: They have developed some game changing neurosurgery products (BrightMatter) to help surgeons better map out the brain with 3D imaging that goes beyond conventional brain scans. We continue to be impressed with the innovation in Ontario, and look forward to see what Day 2 holds at OCE Discovery today!
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20
Apr 2015
As most enterprise and consumer software companies have moved their offering to the cloud, a new profile of IT leader has emerged. Where leaders of IT once needed only to think about internal customers and systems that would reside on employee PCs and in carefully monitored server rooms, this new generation of IT executive must come with a new level of skill and business acumen.

Scope

IT leadership in a sophisticated enterprise Saas business is customer facing, often acting as a liaison with technical peers in customer organizations. He/She is responsible for security, data integrity, system performance, high value transactions and maintaining service levels often for the mission-critical systems of hundreds of clients. The candidates we spoke to are working in various areas of IT, and have experience in Security, Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, Risk Management, Governance, SaaS Operations, Infrastructure and Corporate IT.

Location

The following data was collected from several searches conducted in 2014-2015, and represents candidate salaries from across Ontario.

Vertical

Candidates were in a variety of different industries including: Tech, Finance, Insurance, and Manufacturing.

Getting to the Top

The most effective Saas IT Leaders are able to wear a lot of hats and confidently shoulder significant responsibility for customer systems, data and assets. They need to be masters of client relationships and great advocates for the company’s interests. They have a collaborative leadership style, and can be both strategic and tactical as required. The best thrive in broad roles where they are able to have the autonomy to find solutions and implement them. Want to know more about our Salary Snapshots? Here is a little summary and some disclaimers. Show me the Money – 2014 Salary Snapshots      
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29
Mar 2015
Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best everyday? Last week, we held a workshop that brought together leaders and tech professionals to introduce the concepts behind a strengths-based approach to personal development and managing teams. We discussed the benefit of knowing your natural talents, and using them to get the best from ourselves and our teams. We were fortunate to have Omer Aziz, an expert in the field, lead us through this approach. Here are some of the key takeaways: Find your strengths First off, do you know what your top strengths are? We’re big fans of the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment as a useful tool to discover your top 5 strengths. These are core to who you are and likely won’t change much over time. Focus on strengths vs. improving weaknesses Should you fix your faults, or tune-up your talents? The data is undisputable. Instead of dwelling on the things we’re not great at, we can grow more by emphasizing the things we love to do. The light bulbs started going off and several participants said they felt liberated knowing they should be doing more in their areas of strength and passion, and not stress about their weaknesses. Getting to ‘Flow” When was the last time you felt completely ‘in the zone’ at work, where you lost track of time, forgot to eat lunch, and accomplished unbelievable things? This state of being completely absorbed and at your peak performance is referred to as “flow” (coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi). What’s the key to working in a state of flow? Use your talents and work towards a goal. The trick is figuring out how we can trigger this more often. Using Strengths = Positive Emotions = Better Performance When we are able to use our strengths we are happier and we get better results. When we enable our teams to unleash their strengths, their engagement increases and productivity soars. It’s a simple correlation, but the impact is huge! Is there a dark side to strengths? This was a fascinating revelation for everyone. Every strength has what’s called a “shadow side”, a way it can manifest and be perceived negatively by others. For example, if you have the strength Command you naturally take control and make decisions. This is an incredible talent for a leader but you’re likely seen as intimidating. In creative discussions, your team might shut down and let you take over unless you make efforts to promote a safe collaborative environment. Food for thought Omer left us all with a challenge, and we’ll extend that to you. Try to keep track of your ‘best moments’ every week. Write them down. You’ll notice patterns, and before long you’ll be more in tune with what you love doing. Now, go do more of that and watch what happens.
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20
Nov 2014
The 2014 Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) was incredibly inspiring, and we were happy to be involved as partners for the event.
 We were in great company, among Canada's top tech entrepreneurs, investors, leading companies, and industry partners. It was standing room only for many sessions, with over 500 attendees. The highlight of the day were 5 minute presentations from each of the CIX Top 20. These represented Canada’s hottest innovators, and they did not disappoint!
  Here are some key takeaways:
  • Diverse Technologies: We were amazed by the diversity of the top 20 companies, representing a wide variety of industries such as: medical, manufacturing, energy, imaging, advertising, hospitality and financial. There was a recurring theme around driving actionable insights with big data and analytics, along with a focus on machine learning and the Internet of Things. It was great to see solutions for more mature industries such as utilities and construction, typically not associated with innovation.
  • Wearables = the new “it” thing: This comes as no surprise, but there was a lot of buzz about wearables, with 3 unique companies represented: InteraXon, MightyCast and VitalSines. Keep your eye out for more wearables and richer applications.
  • BIGGER and more established: The CIX panelists discussed how, compared to prior years, these top companies had already reached big milestones. Not only were we impressed at the innovation, but also the customer acquisition, metrics and go-to-market plans that are well underway. Refreshing that innovation is being measured by commercialization and not just technical invention!  WealthSimple, for example, is just 8-weeks old and already picking up a lot of traction for their disruptive investment management platform.
  • Waterloo representing: Alright, we are biased, but we loved hearing the overwhelming praise for Waterloo’s tech community - a reccurring theme throughout the day. Bridgit Inc, a local top 20 winner, represented well, pitching their mobile SaaS solution for managing deficiencies at construction sites.
The day was really about valuable one-on-one conversations and the partnerships, friendships and business opportunities that will continue to unfold after the event. Chris Arsenault, Managing Partner at iNovia Capital said it well, “It’s not about having a contact list, it’s about having relationships.” Overall, there was great excitement for Canada’s growing tech community. It’s amazing what happens when you get that quality and quantity of talent and innovation in the same room. We’re looking forward to attending the event next year, and fully expect to be blown away!
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Artemis Canada – Executive Search

We are a boutique executive search firm exclusively serving Canada’s Innovation Economy.

Our partners are the inventors, builders and leaders who are changing our world, enriching the lives of their teams, strengthening their communities and delivering valuable innovations to global marketplaces.

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"I have worked closely with Kristina for approximately 15 years, reaching out to her whenever we are searching for the hardest to find skills. She understands the industry, she’s smart, she listens to exactly what we need, and she never wastes our time. Kristina, and the Artemis team, deliver time and time again. When we need an external recruiter, I find it hard to work with anyone else!" Pete Devenyi, VP Global Software Dematic

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