Marian Cook

Guest Speaker

Facilitation, Innovation and Innovation Ecosystems, Future of Work, Future of Cities

Areas of Expertise

Opener / Closer  •  Moderator  •  Leadership  •  Future of Learning  •  Future Forecasting  •  Exponential Thinking  •  Exponentials  •  Exponential Organizations  •  Disruption  •  Design Thinking  •  Convergence  •  Blockchain  •  Abundance  •  Smart Cities  •  Facilitator  •  Corporate Innovation  •  Future of Work

About Marian

Marian Cook is a seasoned executive, speaker, teacher, and author with over 30 years of experience in helping public and private sector enterprises digitally transform to thrive in the future. She is a trusted advisor to heads of governments and Fortune 500 companies worldwide.
Currently, Marian serves as Principal at Slalom Consulting in Chicago, leading their Emerging Technology and Innovation team focused on Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation, Internet of Things and Blockchain. Marian also serves as Head Learning Facilitator for MIT’s Corporate Innovation and Innovation Ecosystems class, and the Blockchain Certification Program offered on-line by the Sloan School of Management, as well as a guest lecturer at IIT on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Previously, Marian worked for the Governor as the Chief Strategy Officer, Innovation & Technology, for the State of Illinois. There she co-led the creation of a vision and roadmap for a ‘Smart State’ powered by transformation in policy, talent, technology and partnerships in the innovation ecosystem. Illinois is the first state in the United States to have developed such a vision leveraging Smart Cities concepts state-wide. She continues to lead a gubernatorial advisory board composed of heads of innovation from large corporations in the State of Illinois.
The majority of Marian’s career has been in the private sector prior to being asked to join the Governor’s team. She started as a Manufacturing Systems Engineer with IBM, and grew throughout her career into many leadership roles, always at the intersections of technology, business, innovation and what’s next.
She is a frequent and highly rated speaker and learning facilitator on innovation, the future of work, the future of cities, sustainability, regenerative design and many emerging technologies.

Speaking Topics

  • Corporate Innovation and Innovation Ecosystems

    In an increasingly connected and accelerating world, leading corporations are becoming more valuable by reaching outside their boundaries and engaging with the larger innovation ecosystem. Breaking silos to become more innovative is not just an internal effort. Recognizing that the organization itself is a silo, corporations can have powerful and profitable partnerships with incubators, universities, government, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and others. Forward thinking leaders can use the power of open innovation ecosystems to find and launch the next breakthrough idea. In this session, we will delve into questions such as: What is an innovation ecosystem? Who are the major stakeholders and their roles? What are the ways companies can exchange value within an ecosystem? What stakeholders do you think would be valuable to connect with, and why? What is the benefit and value exchange you are looking for? How can we create a culture of sustainable and resilient innovation in your organization?

  • Future of Cities

    The future is urban. As millions migrate to the cities and digital systems become pervasive within them, urban change is going from linear and local, to exponential and global. Within just a few decades, 80% of the world’s population will live in massive, interconnected cities. Accelerating technological change will be more intensive and disruptive. The city is being transformed by smart technologies, changing how it runs and manages public services, and responds with resiliency to emergencies large and small.

    Cities aren’t all about technology however. They are about our social, physical, mental, economic and environmental health. They are manifestations of our humanity. They are innovation ecosystem hubs. In this discussion we will cover important questions such as: What will that future look like? Where can we glimpse it today? How can we prepare for it? What might be the unintended consequences? And how can we get it right?

  • Future of Work

    In this talk, we examine the fundamental meaning of work — starting with a historic look of why humans work, then overviewing key mega-trends (such as technology, demographics, urbanization, climate change) that are disrupting the very norms of work today. The bulk of time is spent on discussing the future of work and its implications to individuals, organizations, governments and society. We explore questions such as: What will work look like in the future? Who will it be done by? Where will it take place? How will organizations attract, retain, develop talent in the future? What can organizations do to prepare for the future now? How can we build resiliency in our workforce? We conclude with practical insights to equip attendees to rethink and reshape their role in the future of work.

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