"Modern democracies can create innovation force fields that favour emergent properties and knowledge, small-world networks, collective action, and, economic and social progress - thereby lowering barriers to permit a higher rate of disruptive innovation, actively disturbing the present in the service of the future."

Dawn Nicholson-O'Brien

Ottawa, Canada

Selected Publications

  1. How to Think Like a Futurist, July 31, 2019 - published by the Ingenium Corporation, Ottawa, https://ingeniumcanada.org/channel/articles/how-to-think-like-a-futurist .

  2. Modernization Bulletin, May 10, 2019 - Meet Modern Thinkers: An Interview with Dawn Nicholson-O’Brien, President and CEO, Celtic Oracle. Ottawa, Statistics Canada.

  3. Thinking Like a Futurist: Navigating Complex Futures, May 8, 2019, Ottawa, executive presentation at the Rideau Club.

  4. Rehearsing for Possible Futures: Digital Architects and Leaders; inaugural presentation for Statistics Canada “Meet Modern Thinkers” series, Ottawa, February 21, 2019.

  5. Series of 12 publications for the Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, January 2017: "Crucial Conversations for Women": 1) The Art of Possibility and Transformational Leadership 2) Who Are You As A Leader in the World? 3) Women and Work-Life Integration 4) Negotiating and Resolving Conflicts 5) EQ and Self-Awareness as a Leader 6) Innovation and Intelligent Risk-Taking 7) Strategy and Vision: Looking Around Corners 8) Strategic Communications and Relationships 9) Values and Culture 10) Powerful Networks 11) Coaching, Mentoring and Teamwork 12) The Future of Canada and Your Leadership. http://sprott.carleton.ca/faculty-research/research-centres/creww/crucial-conversations-women-management/

  6. Inclusive Leadership and 21st Century Talent Management, Ottawa, April 20, 2016.

  7. World-Class Leadership and the DNA of Innovation: Women in Science, Engineering and Technology, Thriving and Leading in NRCan, Ottawa, November 30, 2015; Report.

  8. Reclaiming Civility in the Workplace - Leadership in Action; Environment Canada, Ottawa, November 4, 2015.

  9. Creating an Environment Where Women Can Thrive and Lead, Literature Review for a Study on the Participation of Women in Science and Technology in NRCan, Ottawa, March 31, 2015.

  10. "On Virtuosity"; Interview with Sister Leadership, Ottawa, July 14, 2014.

  11. Contributing editor for leadership book published by Friesen Press, Fall 2014; Own It.

  12. Author of the Institute On Governance publication entitled, "Improving Canada’s Digital Advantage: Achieving Prosperity Through Leadership" (July 14, 2010)

  13. Contributor to article in International Trade Forum Journal, Issue 3, 2008: Strong Women, Strong World, regarding women entrepreneurs, the global marketplace and key partnerships

  14. Article, "Government in the Knowledge Age: How Governments can Lead with Knowledge", November 2008 (Knowledge Management Review)

  15. Contributing author to book by Paul Joyce and Dr. Milner, Lessons in Leadership: the challenges of Public Service Management, published by Routledge Publishers, London, England, 2005.

  16. Book review - Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, “Knowledge Management: A State of the Art Guide,” December 2004

  17. PhD Dissertation - The DNA of Innovation: At the Crossroads of Science, Society and Government, 2003, London, England

  18. Paper for Federal Science and Technology Forum, October 1-3, 2002, "Transforming Federal Science and Technology for the Future: Achieving A Vision of Excellence"

  19. Publication, "Unlocking the World of Canadian Innovation - Innovation Performance, a Global Perspective," June 12, 2001

  20. Paper for the OECD: "The DNA of Knowledge and Innovation: A Canadian Perspective", February 2001

  21. Article - Knowledge Management Review (March/April 2000 – “Government in the Knowledge Age”)

  22. APEX Journal (October 2000 – “Bold strokes of leadership and innovation”)

  23. Paper for Deputy Minister Roundtable, January 2001, An Intelligent Future and a Few Creatures from the Global Swamp

  24. Paper for Deputy Minister Roundtable, February 2001, Unlocking the DNA of Innovation

  25. Contributing author to book, Vision and Revision: Delivering on the Promise of the Information Society and Knowledge-based Economy , Routledge Publishers, London, England in 2002; chapter is called "Beyond 20/20 Vision: Improving the Human Condition - A Canadian Perspective"

  26. Chapter for anniversary book for the Government of Canada’s contribution to The Commonwealth Association of Public Administration and Management, entitled Knowledge Management and Continuous Learning, Spring 2002

  27. Paper for Queen’s University Summit, The Human Side of Knowledge, Leadership and Learning, October, 2002

  28. Paper for the British Government and TFPL, August 2002, Supporting an Innovative Society - Canada’s Innovation Agenda

  29. Contribution to a paper for the World Bank and IMF, for the Government of Canada, The Way Ahead for Argentina

  30. Paper for the South African Government, for the Government of Canada, Mapping Innovation and Innovation Management Across the World - A Canadian Perspective, September 2002

  31. Paper for Singapore on Canadian innovation, October 2002, adapted from the one for South Africa

  32. Articles for Canadian Executive, APEX Journal on the Learning and Innovation Seed Fund - Spring/Summer 2003

  33. Contributor to Canada's White Paper on Pensions

  34. Numerous other publications for various audiences.

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Selected Awards

  • 2011 - received award for work done on trade negotiations and legal frameworks negotiated (Washington, D.C.)

  • 2009 - received commendations for work in support of youth and civic engagement forum, held in partnership with Her Excellency, The Governor General of Canada, at Rideau Hall, with television coverage across Canada; the forum took place on March 3, 2009

  • May 2009 - received commendation for economic trade mission work from Canadian entrepreneurs following a San Francisco, US trade mission focusing on women in business

  • May 2004 - award received for major Youth Engagement initiative and strategy, culminating in a televised event called Rush The Vote - Music Power Summit, Edmonton, Alberta, with the Prime Minister, the Minister for SDC, and with Sony BMG and civic engagement partners

  • September 2003 - nominated for the Michelle C. Comeau Award for Leadership for innovation

  • February 2002 - received award for Summit: “Meeting the Challenge of Innovation in Government” from The Honourable Jocelyne Bourgon, the Clerk of the Privy Council of Canada

  • 2001 - received award for the creation of a Learning and Innovation seed fund, the creation of a Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel of private sector CEOs, and, the design of innovation incubators

  • 2000 - received commendation from the OECD for an international study on knowledge management and transfer, designed and delivered on behalf of Canada, provincial governments and international governments

  • 2001 - received award for creating a speakers' series with Dr. Lester Thurow (launched on November 7, 2000) and other distinguished presenters, called "Serving Canadians in the Knowledge Age"

  • 1999 - nominated for Women of Distinction Award in the private sector by staff, peers, clients at the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada; received “Spark Plug” award

  • 1998 - nominated for Public Service Leadership Award by Treasury Board Secretariat

  • 1997 - won award for Team Canada economic trade mission to Lisbon, Portugal and to Europe

  • 1997 - received commendation from Knowlton Nash and the Foundation's Board of Governors for work in support of the Canadian Journalism Foundation and the Conflict and Justice Committee

  • 1996 - received commendation from The Honourable Fred Mifflin for role in negotiating the Billion dollar Canada-B.C. Pacific Salmon Management Agreement involving the Premier of B.C., Glen Clark, Minister Corky Evans and the US government and various bodies

  • 1996-received commendation from the President of the Canada Safety Council, Emile Therien, for work on "Safe Homes, Safe Streets" initiatives with the Department of Justice

  • 1995 - won Information Services Institute Award for “The Secret of the Silver Horse” – a children’s storybook and program on child abuse and related communications and consultations

  • 1995 - won award for video entitled “Judge for Yourself ” on young offenders and crime prevention, directed while at the Department of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

  • 1994 - received award for work on firearms control policies from the Minister of Justice

  • 1991 - won award from Clerk of the Privy Council, The Honourable Paul M. Tellier, for work on the Persian Gulf War, briefings to Cabinet daily; received commendation from Dan Gagnier

  • 1991 - won the Deputy Minister’s award for Exemplary Service to the Client from John Tait

  • 1990 - won Deputy Minister’s Merit Award from John Tait, Deputy Minister and Deputy Attorney General of Canada, for the government’s abortion policy and legislation

  • 1990 - received award from the Privy Council Office for work in relation to the Standoff at Oka

  • 1983 - Received award for work in support of the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the patriation of the Canadian Constitution

  • 1982 - received award for work on the Government's Green Paper on Pensions and Better Pensions for Canadians

  • 1980s - received awards for work in support of two First Ministers' Conferences on Aboriginal and Constitutional Conferences, including a commendation from Daniel Gagnier, April 12, 1985

  • 1980 - received award for contribution to policy research and writing of a green paper on pensions

  • Canada Permanent Trust Award for creative writing

  • 1977 Gulf Canada Scholarship Winner and University scholarship award

  • 1977 IODE bursary winner

  • 1977 Harry Kitz Award in History

  • 1977 Science Fair Award for work on primates and human DNA

  • 1977 Top Academic Award

  • Exemplary Citizenship Award.


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