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  • 5 Takeaways from the 2023 NEXT Business Growth Summit

5 Takeaways from the 2023 NEXT Business Growth Summit

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Through our daily work with our clients, we hear and learn about the successes and the challenges of doing business in this rapidly changing environment. 

The NEXT Business Growth Summit brings together experts across industries to host workshops and panels that help clients look ahead, adopt best practices, and thrive in today’s business climate. 

Here are 5 key takeaways from this year’s Summit: 

1. You can use “healthy friction” to promote better decision-making and positive change. With 50% of managers pushing out difficult conversations for at least a month, Bradley Daye of Placemaking 4G explains that avoidance can make the situation worse. Daye suggests working toward humanizing the workplace by challenging our own biases. By getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, we can use healthy friction to promote better decision-making and positive change.   

2. The right systems are pivotal, and so is preventing turbulence. Jonathan Dunnett of Enable Leaders spoke on achieving success through systems, explaining successful teams and organizations are the ones that smooth system ‘noise’ with compelling direction, strong structure, and supportive context.  

3. We can’t look to the past to predict the future of ESG risks. Nancy Foran of ESG Partners shares that risks around ESG are unprecedented. Foran dove into risk assessment noting that according to the World Economic Forum, 8 of the top 10 global risks are related to ESG. Some of these risks include: 

  • Natural disasters and extreme weather events 
  • Failure to mitigate climate change 
  • Large scale environmental damage incidents 
  • Cost of living crisis 
  • Natural resource crises 

4. Successful strategic planning relies on five key elements. Sally Ng of the Wallace McCain Institute guided attendees through strategic planning identifying five key elements for success and three areas where many organizations fail:  

Key Elements 

  • Develop vision and mission 
  • Align objectives, themes and processes 
  • Research, gather, synthesize and build 
  • Communicate and implement the strategy 
  • Evaluate and take corrective action 


  • Not facing the problem head on and getting stuck in the ‘comfort’ trap  
  • The inability to choose and focus – a goal is not a strategy  
  • Underestimating the relationships and mental states of those involved 

5. Investing in technology is the best strategy to overcome a labour shortage. That’s the good news. The bad news is 70% of digital transformations fall short on their objectives. Chris O’Shea of BDC spoke about how organizations can adapt for better technology adoption results. O’Shea noted organizations fall short due to setting high unreasonable objectives and a lack of engagement among employees. There are two important organizational considerations when adopting technology: 

  • How much technology you are already using  
  • How engaged your team is to adopt new technology and try new things 

Support is available for companies adopting technology including the Export Development Program (EDP) and the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP).

In summary, the trends we saw this year for successful growth include prioritizing “humanizing the workplace,” sustainable development, and investing in technology and automation. We look forward to continuing the discussions at the 2024 NEXT Business Growth Summit. 

Couldn’t attend this year’s NEXT Business Growth Summit? You can catch up on all the panels and workshops here 


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