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Perspectives | Issue 10

Navigator’s folio of ideas, insights and new ways of thinking

It’s Time to Accelerate

April 29, 2022
Jaime Watt
Jaime Watt | Executive Chairman
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Acceleration is a tricky thing to capture. Whether it be in a chemical reaction or a speeding car, it confounds the naked eye to measure the pace of change. Depending on the point of origin and direction of travel, it can cause intense excitement or profound anxiety. For better or worse, it is the essence of disruption on the road to creation.

When trends accelerate, our world transforms — and this has never been clearer than it is right now. The pandemic has poured kerosene on the flame of invention, bringing new ideas to the fore and hastening transformations already underway.

Thankfully, for all the heartache and hardship of the past two years, there is something to celebrate. Our truly shared experience has redefined our priorities. It has forced us to reconsider our assumptions about big questions. Most of all, for those who can meet the challenge, it has created opportunities for exponential success. Any winning race car driver knows a crash — when all the other cars brake — is the moment to accelerate, not slow down. That is what we have done at Navigator.

So, this edition of Perspectives is different. Our colleagues wanted to focus on the ideas that have taken off since 2020, and how they are reshaping our world.

In some cases, change has raised unanswered questions, as we found when examining how a prevailing consensus on climate action belies a gulf of disagreement on the ideal approach to transition. For others, acceleration has promoted dormant priorities to the vanguard of action, as in the amplified role of mental health in addressing the Great Resignation. The same is true of Quebec’s childcare program emerging as a model for rebuilding a more resilient and inclusive Canadian economy.

In every case, we set out to provide a snapshot of a major trend accelerated by our pandemic era. In doing so, I hope we have sketched a portrait of our future — with some advice on what we’ve learned.

The biggest takeaway for me? Put your foot on the gas and embrace the pace of change. Acceleration is here to stay and this moment of disruption can either be a cradle or a death knell. So, lean into change. It’s how we’ve approached 20 years of Navigator — and how we’ll approach many more. We should not let the momentum of this moment fade because for all its challenges, we will be better for it. After all, who would let a good crisis go to waste?

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About the author:

Jaime Watt
Jaime Watt | Executive Chairman
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Jaime Watt is the Executive Chairman of Navigator and a bestselling author. He specializes in complex public strategy issues, serving both domestic and international clients in the corporate, professional services, not-for-profit, and government sectors.

Widely regarded as Canada’s leading high stakes communications strategist, he is a trusted advisor to boards of directors, business and professional leaders as well as political leaders at all three levels of government across Canada. Jaime has led ground-breaking election campaigns that have transformed politics because of their boldness and creativity.

Jaime has been involved in corporate governance education and thought leadership throughout his career and regularly provides expert opinion in challenging governance situations. He is an adjunct faculty member of the Directors Education Program, jointly developed and administered by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He is also a guest lecturer for a variety of Rotman School programs, and the Ivey School of Business at Western University.

Currently, Jaime is the Chancellor of OCAD University. As well, he serves on the board of University Health Network, the Literary Review of Canada, CANFAR and the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

He is a past president or chair of the Canadian Club of Toronto, the Albany Club, Casey House – Canada’s pioneer AIDS hospice, Canadians for Equal Marriage, Canadian Human Rights Campaign and Canadian Human Rights Trust among others. Additionally, he is a past director, trustee or governor of many organizations including the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation, Stratford Festival, TD Bank Private Giving Foundation, Clean Water Foundation, Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, and the Canada Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington D.C.

In his board leadership activities, he has frequently been elected to strategic planning, audit, succession planning, search and crisis management committees.

Deeply involved with efforts to promote equality and human rights issues, he was the inaugural recipient of Egale’s Lifetime Achievement Award and has been awarded the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals for service to the community. He recently received Out on Bay Street’s Leader to be Proud of Award. Jaime has been elected to the College of Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, is a Toronto Heritage Companion, and was named one of Toronto’s most influential citizens.

A highly regarded speaker, Jaime often appears as a public affairs commentator in the media. He is a regular contributor to all CBC platforms across Canada and writes a weekly column for The Toronto Star.

Jaime’s debut book, What I Wish I Said: Confessions of a Columnist, is a national bestseller and is already in its second printing. You can find it online and in bookstores nationwide.

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