CATALYST 2022: Day 2 Highlights

Day 2 at CATALYST 2022 was filled with great insights from a variety of industry thought leaders.

The presentations included: a sneak preview of CMC-Canada’s soon to be released Industry Report by Nik Nanos, an exploration by Marguerite Fleming of some great tools to be more innovative in your workplace, advice from leading consultants on how we can manage the rapid rate of change in our industry, and the value of being a Certified Management Consultant (CMC).


Session 1: Nik Nanos – CMC Industry Report 2022 Sneak Preview

“Positive Vibes” is a great summary of the health of the consulting industry in Canada, but there are trends we need to worry about:

Nik Nanos provided an insightful walkthrough of the key insights from the upcoming Industry Report,  explaining the methodology used and the study results. Nik was joined by Eva Maxwell and Husam Sha’ath to discuss key findings in the report and what the industry report says about the future of Management Consulting.

1. Global findings: The Management Consulting industry is one of the largest industries in the world:
a) Growing, but growth is slowing
b) Primarily 2 types of firms: small niche firms and very large firms, formed by acquisitions. There are almost no firms that fit into the mid-sized firms.

2. In Canada, 59% of those surveyed are independent consultants.

3. The data on the number of full-time consultants in a firm stands out: the mean or average is 202, but the median is 1. This reflects the extreme size differences in the consulting organizations: the large national and international firms compared to the niche consultant.

4. The industry is healthy and growing - a positive result that demonstrates the ability of management consultants to adapt to the changing environment faced by their clients. But growth is not as dramatic as it was in 2011 and 2013.

5. Firm performance in the coming year is expected to be positive: 52% of respondents expect improved performance. But this enthusiasm is tempered by the linear trend line from 2011 to 2022: 68% said this in 2011 versus 52% saying this today.

6. What is the future of the management consulting sector? Two out of three respondents in the industry report see major opportunities in the next 3 years: only 1 of 5 respondents expect negative results.

7. The top driver of change to the sector is expected to be aging / retirement.

The Industry Report will be available for purchase soon, attendees will be sent a link to purchase a discounted copy!


Session 2: Marguerite Fleming – Using Innovation to Lead Change
Traditional brainstorming is one of the biggest challenges to getting to great ideas that we know of, says Marguerite Fleming. We must have a more innovative approach to idea generation.

What is a working definition of innovation? “The ability to think and act differently to create something that is useful and effective.” Innovation is not something done in a lab: it is part of everyone’s job that gets spread across all parts of the organization.

An innovative idea must have 3 features:

1.Newness (something new and different)
2. Feasible (can do it)
3. Valuable (useful, valuable to the organization)

There are 3 steps needed to use innovation to lead change:

1.Recognize that we are relying on old paradigms
2. Understand what prevents us from thinking creatively
3. Outcomes-driven innovation skill competency

What old paradigms do we face? We need to look at our existing situation and determine what else could we do and look for a Near Sweet Spot.

What prevents us from creative thinking? Cognitive fixedness: we cling to fixed ideas. For example: why do refrigerators look the way they do? Because they evolved from iceboxes … but this isn’t the way a refrigerator needs to look in order to function.  

What are the skill competencies needed to have innovation success? Marguerite explained the innovation model that is used world-wide to help companies plan for innovation: Systematic Inventive Thinking, SIT. SIT’s fundamental findings looked at patterns that existed for long periods of time and how people came up with innovations that stick. The process went from looking at patterns to finding ‘thinking tools’. SIT has 5 thinking tools:

1. Subtraction – the elimination of core components
2. Task Unification – the assignment of new tasks to an existing resource.
3. Multiplication – introducing a slightly modified copy of an existing object into the current system
4. Division – the division of a product and/or its components and randomly rearranging them

5. Attribute Dependency – the creation / removal of dependencies between products and environmental variables

Marguerite also provided simple demonstrations on how two of the tools work: Division and Subtraction.

  • Division Example: H&M changed the order of steps in the shopper’s process, offering the shopper the ability to purchase their item in the change room.
  • Subtraction Example: The recruiting process: what happens if you eliminate steps in the process (e.g., remove hiring, remove interviewing, remove job posting). Answer 2 questions: Should we do it? Can we do it?   

Ford’s quote says it all: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”


Session 3: Marylka Empey and Panelists – Go Local, Go Global

Go Local, Go Global comprised of five different panels, including CMCs and FCMCs from each Institute across Canada. The 5 panels included:

Panel 1: Lean In explored information about CMC, locally and globally, the CMC designation and its value, the organization as well as its scope and reach.

Two panelists, Marylka Empey, FCMC from Ontario Institute (replacing Mike Ennis) and Nancy Lahaie, CMC from Quebec, shared information about the structure of CMC in Canada and internationally. There is a great sense of community across CMC, both locally and globally. CMC-Canada is recognized internationally,  in 40+ countries, evidenced by the fact that at the International Constantinus Award event in Milan in 2016, three Canadian CMC firms won the 3 top awards: BDC advisory won the gold medal; TDV Global Inc. (Mike Ennis’s firm) won the silver medal; and the Clearthink Group also won a silver medal. Canadian firms were chosen from 120 submissions!

The annual Constantinus International Award assess both delivery (consulting firms) and beneficiary (clients), each for their role in carrying out a project and implementing its findings.

Submission deadline for the application form to CMC-Canada is Friday, June 17, 2022 via


Nancy and Marylka also shared why they became CMCs and the value it provides to our clients. One key message: Remember to say that you are a CMC!

Panel 2: Stories on how the CMC has made a difference.  Kaitlin Pianosi, CMC, President, Atlantic Institute, and James Grieve, CMC, President, BC Institute, shared their stories of what the CMC has meant to them. Kaitlin explained how she discovered CMC and stated that “the CMC network has brought me to where I am today”. James mentioned that he found a CMC mentor who helped him become a consultant. James also mentioned the opportunities he sees for collaboration with other CMCs.

CMC-Canada members interested in becoming mentors or mentees, were encouraged to visit our mentorship landing page.

Panel 3: Learn about new flexible options and resources to obtain the CMC. Participants in this panel included: Ola Fadumiye, CMC, Registrar, Manitoba Institute; Chris Harper, CMC, (Alberta), Lead CMC Canada Certification course designer and instructor; and Leah Iszakovitis, the Executive Director and Registrar for the Alberta Institute and Chair of the Registration Committee.

Ola customized the CMC-Canada Pathway and created an interactive tool to help facilitate a candidate’s review of the certification streams. Ola provided an overview of the CMC certification process, the pathway to becoming a CMC, and the interactive tool.

Leah provided an overview of the CMC-Alberta’s Certification Weekend program, a new way that the CMC can be earned in an accelerated manner. The program was successful and it’s now a national program. Learn more on the Certification Weekend landing page.

Panel 4: Leverage your CMC: the significance of the Fellows designation. The two panelists for this session were Dorothy Milburn-Smith, FCMC, from the Ontario Institute, and Valerie Sluth, FCMC, from the Saskatchewan Institute. During this panel, Val and Dorothy answered 3 questions:

1.What is the journey to become an FCMC? They both emphasized the value they saw in the CMC designation – and they both became involved in their institutes, as volunteers and leaders.

2. What is the experience of being an FCMC? In summary, Val and Dorothy mentioned that being an FCMC demonstrates you are recognized for your contribution to the profession and for your consulting expertise. Also, having an FCMC affords opportunities to speak on behalf of the profession, and provide leadership and mentorship.

3. How does one become an FCMC? First, become a CMC. Some ideas shared by Val and Dorothy: make a meaningful contribution to your Institute (e.g., Board Chair, Committee Chair), have a strong management consulting practice and be nominated by a CMC.

Panel 5: Look Forward to opportunities to engage and explore the many benefits of CMC. This panel was led by Marylka Empey and Nancy Lahaie. They provided a recap of the 4 previous panel discussions and also emphasized the need to look forward to find future opportunities to engage and explore the many benefits of CMC. Val’s key message to current and future members: “Get involved!”

Marylka mentioned that when she first joined, she understood the CMC organization gradually as she became involved. Marylka then commented: “I hope listeners (to this presentation) understand the benefits of the CMC and how CMC operates.”

Learn more about the advantages of CMC-Canada Membership


Session 4: Leigh Harris, Jas Anand, and Nisha Shankar – Riding the Waves of Change

The Panelists are all leaders in their organizations: Leigh is Lead Partner, Federal Government at KPMG, Jas is Partner, Financial Crime and National Fraud Leader at EY, and Nisha is Partner, Banking Transformation Leader, Cognizant. The session was an open discussion on three themes:

1. Embracing Future Change and Innovation
2. Workplaces in the Future
3. Technology in the Future

Embracing Future Change and Innovation: some key messages:

  • For Leigh, it is key that you meet clients where they are. Some industries will force us to be innovative. Others have other business needs / considerations.
  • Risk is a key factor to consider. Work with your Risk colleagues.
  • Jas mentioned that Canada is the most targeted nation re: phishing, scamming, and money laundering. Risk management is playing catch-up, which leaves us exposed – it’s something we need to understand and work to mitigate.
  • Nisha cited that Digitization is a major priority. Clients are looking for someone who can take them through the entire process, with expertise to guide them through all the steps.
  • Today’s consultants need to be at the intersection of business and technology.

Technology in the Future
Some key takeaways from this portion of the discussion:

  • Jas mentioned there is a need for advanced analytics that are being done well and competently.
  • Artificial Intelligence is everywhere. But AI will never replace humans.
  • Security and risk management are key. There is a crucial need to protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Don’t give PII that isn’t needed.  Disaggregate jobs. And regulations are needed in this space.
  • Leigh emphasized that we aren’t prepared for the speed at which technology and organizational changes are happening - our regulatory environment is behind where it needs to be.
  • Nisha mentioned that many consultants want to jump onto new leading-edge projects (e.g., crypto, AI, etc). but we aren’t the ‘fast followers’. We need to help clients adopt and use new technology – and ensure they understand the risk associated with the technology.

Workplaces in the Future
Remote working is happening: there is a need to build strong teams across the country. Key items that need to be considered:

  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Employees with disabilities
  • Ensure work-life balance - watch for employee burn-out
  • How to ensure there aren’t biases with how remote employees are treated vs. in-person.
  • The challenges associated with bringing the team together
  • Hybrid environments increase risks: e.g., how to manage confidential conversations, how to control and manage PII, what is needed to be secure at home, etc.
  • Leadership needs to really care about employees and demonstrate this: e.g., emphasize need to disconnect, ensure everyone understands that personal integrity is critical
  • Protection and regulations needed to protect future changes in workplaces. Canada is far behind on this, including ensuring compliance is enforced (Auditor General).


CATALYST 2022 Day 1 Highlights

CATALYST 2022 Day 3 Highlights 


Dorothy Milburn-Smith FCMC contributed to this article