Dr Robert Kay

... innovation, disaster management, and risk.

Dr Robert Kay is a Co-founder and Executive Director of Incept Labs, and was appointed an Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University in 2013.

Dr Robert Kay was formerly the Head of Strategic Innovation at Westpac Banking Corporation; a Senior Lecturer in Information Systems and Organisational Development at the University of Technology Sydney; and, a research analyst at Bovis Lend Lease.

Over the last couple of years, he has been commissioned to undertake multiple studies of senior leaders. These include a study on CEOs’ perspectives of Organisational Resilience; a world first comparison between public and private sector leaders in relation to innovation; and, an examination of the circumstances under which good governance leads to better performance, commissioned by the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

With a career that has continuously moved between industry and academia, Robert is also a sought after speaker, having been a keynote at the last two Australian Institute of Company Directors conferences. His presentations use an innovative combination of video and storytelling to illustrate complex ideas in simple and practical ways.

Robert holds a 1st Class Honours Degree in Systems Thinking and a PhD on the application of biological systems theories to improving organisational learning and resilience.

The highlight of the day. Rob's presentation was the perfect blend of solid content presented in an engaging style.

Future Forum

Rob's presentation on attitudes to risk management was clear and interesting; he confidently handled many questions from the floor in a considered way resulting in one of our most successful forums.

Institute of Actuaries

Wow. How good was that? Thought provoking and fascinating. Excellent use of stories to explain the key concepts and very well presented.

SOPAC 2015

Robert, we have just gone over all the past 10 years conference evaluations and have determined that your session has rated the highest ever at 4.88. I can't thank you enough for all the work you put into the presentation.

AICD 2014 Annual Conference

I am as much in awe of the information presented as I am of Robert's ability to find references to past events to exemplify the points he is making. That is truly impressive research

AICD 2015 Annual Conference

Speaker Topics

CEO Perspectives on Innovation
CEO Perspectives on Organisational Resilience
Decision Making for Growth

Topic Synopsis

CEO Perspectives on Innovation

What does a CEO mean when they say they want to innovate? This presentation reports on world first research that provides a direct comparison between styles of innovation in the private and public sectors. Twenty-five private sector CEOs and 18 Commonwealth Departmental Secretaries were intervewed. The presentation involves different stories of public and private sector innovation to illustrate the difference between the two contexts and the factors that lead to success.

CEO Perspectives on Organisational Resilience

This presentation reports on the results of research with 51 CEOs from both private and public sector organisations (including three of the top 10 ASX listed organisations in Australia), on the factors that drive organisational resilience. The most important of these is trust. The presentation involves stories from the Gulf war and the massacre in Norway to take the audience on a journey that powerfully illustrates the ways in which trust is created and destroyed in modern organisations.

Decision Making for Growth

Why is it so difficult for decision-making groups to pursue growth opportunities and innovate? This presentation takes the audience on a journey through sociology, psychology and neuroscience to explain why groups struggle to pursue new opportunities and how they can overcome these challenges.

All presentations involve the use of innovative video production to support the story telling and illustration of research outcomes.


If you would like to discuss how Incept Labs can help you ask the right questions, shape your future, or innovate for the road ahead, please contact us with the form below. We will be in touch with you within 5 days.

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