Paul Levy, a senior fellow at University of Brighton—Centre for Change, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, and the founder of Rational Madness Theatre Company, FringeReview and CATS3000:“Jack is an innovation consultant who walks the talk. He is constantly innovating his own business activity, its design and aims. He is ‘the person’ to talk to for large group interventions, for whole system change and innovation. I attended a five day Open Space conference that Jack facilitated. It set me on a new path in life. Jack is highly committed and skilled, challenging and truly creative. Jack thinks deeply about innovation and transformation. He has developed a range of propositions about innovation which can lead to new insights on the topic. He understands creativity and innovation and has developed practical ways to develop innovativeness in organisations. Jack’s views tap into the wild and the wonderful as well as the rational. He likes to shake things up, and to help that shaking to happen quickly. He doesn’t mess about! You won’t always find it easy working with Jack because he is one of that rare breed – an authentic agent of change and innovation who is prepared for things to get harder before they get easier.”
Dr. James Wilk MA Oxf, MSc Oxf, PhD, FCybS, University of Oxford; Research Director and Managing Partner, Interchange Research:“For three decades Jack has been the go-to walking encyclopaedia of the very best and most innovative management and organization theory. He is second to none in comparing, contrasting, and critiquing models, explaining complex management thinking simply and memorably, and turning ideas into effective practice. A sophisticated thinker of this calibre and breadth of knowledge who is also a skilled practitioner, is these days something of a rarity.”
Angus Jenkinson, formerly Professor of Integrated Marketing at University of Bedfordshire; latterly the founder of Thinking and The Centre for Thinking Futures:“I have worked with Jack Martin Leith for 20 years. He has one of the most brilliant, penetrating, erudite, and practical minds I know. With his exceptional experience of innovation, large group work and organisation development, he is a terrific partner for clients and consultancies with major projects.”
Dr. Math Kohnen, formerly a member of the Group Strategy unit at Royal Dutch Shell and a vice president at Shell GameChanger:“Jack worked with the Shell GameChanger team to design and deliver innovation workshops in Rijswijk, Netherlands (with a large group of first assignees); in Moscow, Russia (with scientists from a range of scientific institutions); in Trondheim, Norway (with academics from Norwegian University of Science and Technology); and in Ascot, UK (with academics from Imperial College and Wageningen University, along with members of Shell’s Water to Value team). His understanding of the issues, passion for innovation and down-to-earth approach made a valuable contribution to GameChanger.”
Tom Bourner, Emeritus Professor of Personal and Professional Development,“I’ve known Jack Martin Leith since 1995 when he taught the Creative Problem Solving module of the MA in Managing Change at the University of Brighton.
University of Brighton, UK:
His workshops were very well received by the participants (most of them managers in the private and public sectors), who appreciated Jack’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the field of creativity, innovation and change, and his provocative yet supportive style of facilitation.
We brought Jack into the team because of his special expertise in the field and it would be true to say that the rest of the staff team learned a great deal from Jack about creative problem-solving and how to develop it in managers.
These are what I perceive as some of his main strengths as a professional practitioner:
I have always been struck by how quickly he turns ideas in actions.
He very quickly ‘gets’ new ideas and their significance – and has a questioning approach to whatever he encounters.
He is master of a wide range of professional practices: creative problem solving, large-scale collaborative meetings, business transformation etc. I dislike the term jack of all trades because it comes with an unspoken ending and master of none. In Jack’s case, I would end with and master of many.
Willingness to go against the grain
He is willing and able to take an independent position even if he offends conventional wisdom or faces peer pressure.
He has a remarkable ability to bounce back from setbacks.
He has a clear sense of who is, his strengths and his values; this gives him confidence in his decisions and actions.
Bottle (a.k.a. courage)
This is clearly related to some of the other strengths mentioned above. If I was in a tight corner, Jack is one of the main people I’d want on my side.
Jack lives by his own words – i.e. he walks his talk.
For me this is an expression of his integrity which is something that characterises both his professional practice and his personal life.”
Watch the video of Jack’s five-minute Ignite talk, Enriching the world: Is it good business practice? given in 2010 at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol, in front of an audience of 200 people. The 20 slides accompanying the talk auto-advance every 15 seconds, and Jack just about managed to keep up with them.
Download Jack Martin Leith: the story so far (pdf, one page)