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MBA students go to the source to learn about problem-solving and culture-building

Podcast project showcases technology and innovation leaders with ties to Calgary
April 10, 2017

Faced with coming up with an original final project idea for an entrepreneurship course in the Haskayne School of Business, five graduate students decided to explore innovation.

Their podcast series, Dare to Innovate YYC, features interviews with four technology leaders who discuss innovation from a Calgary perspective. The four present refreshing, diverse, sometimes surprising viewpoints on how they achieved their professional goals and how they define success.

“The purpose of doing a podcast was for us to hear first-hand about the successes and failures of real-world innovators within the technology space and relating it back to the course concepts,” says Peter Mitchell, a second-year MBA student.

“I think what we’ve learned is there is a lot of activity in Calgary in the innovation space and the opportunities for students are endless if you look,” Mitchell adds. The other students who helped produce Dare to Innovate YYC were Lindsey Snell, Clara Clorey, Christina Pidlaski, and Joshua Malate.

Building a culture of innovation

One of the tech leaders interviewed, Adam O’Donnell, principal engineer at Cisco, speaks about the need to build a culture in technology companies that fosters innovation and grows this type of environment from the beginning.

“Building a culture where we don’t let each other fail, where we don’t blame and where we take responsibility for our actions — that’s what allows and empowers people to still take risks and create something really impactful,” O’Donnell says in the podcast.

Importance of problem-solving

A theme throughout the interviews is finding the best problem-solving techniques to support innovation. David Gluzman, co-founder and president of BlackSquare Inc., shares his enthusiasm for tinkering and physically producing things to understand the impact of not only idea generation but also how to execute.

David Martin, co-founder of Nureva and SMART Technologies, describes the importance of absorbing information, through reading and learning from the world around you.

When asked what advice she could offer students, Nancy Knowlton, who also co-founded Nureva and SMART Technologies, suggests university students consider joining a technology startup. “Startups allow students to gain more responsibility earlier in their careers and that can be very powerful. You may miss the close mentorship piece, but the independence allows you to learn quickly and adapt.”

To listen to the full podcast, Dare to Innovate YYC is available to download on SoundCloud.

About the Haskayne MBA program

Technology and Innovation Management is an entrepreneurship course offered through the Haskayne School of Business MBA program. The Haskayne MBA program is built on a foundation of academic excellence and real-world expertise. It is ranked among the top BETTER WORLD MBAs by Corporate Knights, a prestigious global ranking which names MBA programs that best equip graduates with the “ability to change the world for the better.” For more information on this program, visit

Technology and innovation leader David Gluzman is the co-founder and president of BlackSquare Inc. In his podcast interview, he talks about the importance of tinkering and physically producing things to understand the impact of not only idea generation but also how to execute.
Photo Credit: Lindsey Snell, for Haskayne School of Business

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