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futureInnovate team

futureInnovate’s team includes:

Ron McCullough, President and CEO

Ron McCullough began his career with over 20 years of experience in engineering and research management in Space, Communications, Remote Sensing, and Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. At Spar Aerospace Ltd, after being an original member of the Canadarm Team, he combined the Chief Technical and Strategic Planning roles along with corporate responsibility for Government, Investor and Public Relations. He thus gained a special perspective on decision making in uncertain environments. He was the leader on integrating technology into strategic planning and in that context began the collaboration with Clem Bowman which led to the formation of ProGrid Ventures Inc. and its transition in ProGrid Evaluation Solutions.

Dr. McCullough has had extensive experience in innovation, management and decision making at a national level and in particular in building innovative organizations. He was a leader and founder in the formation of a wide range of innovative technology networks including PRECARN Associates, CANARIE, 7 of the original Ontario Centres of Excellence and a number of Networks of Centres of Excellence. These organizations have, over the past two decades, now carried out close to $ 1B of leading edge university-industry collaborative research focused on generating new products and markets for Canada. Here, and in his various roles in two terms on NSERC Council, he was involved in or led the various processes of selecting projects, programs or strategic directions. In 1999, he served as on an advisory panel which provided input to the 1999 report of the Auditor General regarding the characteristics of high performing science based organizations.

As a member of the Ontario Premier’s Council he chaired working groups and task forces which focused on innovation and in particular on how Ontario could create new and innovative initiatives to gain global competitive advantage. As a Vice President of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIAR) he specialized in the dynamics and formation of Innovative Business Enterprises. Over the past fifteen years, Ron McCullough has been involved through various organizations, in initiatives which assess technologies and business opportunities and their ability to provide commercial and societal returns. He has facilitated numerous workshops at the most senior levels in organizations such as DND, NRC, NRCan, the Ontario Centres of Excellence and led the formation of new projects in the Ontario Premier’s Council. He has worked with organizations and regional and provincial governments in creating strategies ranging from turn-arounds to greenfields. In association with the Canadian Science and Technology Growth Fund, he served as an advisor to and assessor of a wide range of companies looking for start-up or mezzanine funding.

Over the past five years, in association with Rob McLean and Bill Swirsky as part of BenchmarkAction Inc. and the futureInnovate team he has been involved in developing leading edge performance management, evaluation and benchmarking frameworks in areas such as innovation systems, organizational governance and intellectual capital. He continues to advise and provide services to a wide range of government agencies and departments regarding innovation, strategy and decision making.

Ron McCullough has served on numerous Boards and Committees, both corporate and advisory, at the national level and has been Chair of a number of these. He is a recognized leader in Canada in innovation and the assessment of technologies and their potential.

Ron McCullough holds a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto, an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University and is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Rob McLean, Vice-President and Chief Innovation Officer

Rob acquired a classic liberal education by accident, emerging from UofT in 1977 with a M.A. in political theory and a guitar. After a detour building a log cabin in the Yukon, he apprenticed as a Chartered Accountant with Clarkson Gordon on the way to becoming a Partner in Ernst & Young’s strategy consulting group in 1989.

In a life-changing jump-shift, he took a two-year assignment in 1991 as Executive Director with Bob Rae’s Premier’s Council, and acquired a lifelong interest in ways to conceptualize and implement positive change in major societal systems. Subsequent activities include:

  • collaborating since 1993 with the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants to influence the context for business and capital markets decisions by re-inventing accounting to encompass a more holistic view of performance, accountability and long-term value creation, as documented in patents filed on behalf of the CICA (co-authored with Rod Anderson), in the forthcoming book FutureReporting, and in TVC® software that is currently under development;
  • 3 years leading a network founded to organize global change projects involving research institutions from developed and developing countries;
  • The Canada We Want, co-authored with former MP John Godfrey, which advocated a new set of National Projects for the 21st century, building on the six Canada undertook from the 1950s through the 1970s that collectively define our society today;
  • embedding the ProGrid® methodology, currently used to allocate over 1/3 of Canada’s research funding, in software that enables organizations to “futuremark” current positioning and capabilities against future requirements;
  • leading thousands of workshops in consulting projects helping organizations of all sizes and sorts deal constructively with strategic challenges.

Rob is currently President of MatrixLinks, which he established in 1995 as a vehicle for his consulting, invention, and software development activities. He is also co-President of BenchmarkAction Inc. (a joint venture with ProGrid Technologies) and co-President of TVC Devco (a joint venture with CaseWare International and the CICA).

Rob’s three children are negotiating their way through university and their initial career stages. A single-handed sailor from the age of seven, he splits his time between a former sheep farm in Northumberland County 100 miles east of Toronto (where he has lived since 1989), and a 1962 wooden Colin Archer ketch based at Saltspring Island in BC.

For more information, please visit Rob’s website at, which includes his full résume and publications.

Bill Swirsky, Chair of the Board of Directors and Chair, Advisory Council

Bill Swirsky is a Chartered Accountant and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario.  He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto (Rotman School of Management) and an MBA from York University (Schulich School of Business).  He is a graduate of the Rotman School of Management’s Director Education Program and has completed the requirements for the Canadian professional director qualification – ICD.D.

After over 30 years of senior responsibilities, Bill retired in 2007 as Vice-President for the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. His leadership and vision created a legacy of thought-leadership papers and products in a broad cross-section of emerging business subjects such as sustainability, environmental accounting/auditing and green-gas emission measurement and disclosure policies; the role of intellectual assets/property in creating the foundation of “the new economy”, innovation as a metric of performance, and the role of corporate governance in oversight of innovation and protection of intellectual capital.

During his tenure he encouraged and then facilitated the background research which led to the invention and subsequent filing of business-methods patents to protect a system to measure and report on the metrics of intellectual assets/capital and the resulting calculation of total value creation (TVC®).

His current independent initiatives focus on collaborations to create new reporting models and conceptual frameworks for enterprise risk management, governance and innovation/value creation.  His involvement in organizational governance includes appointments to a number of Boards of Directors and Board Committees including CanadaHealth Infoway, Griffin Centre, XBRL_Canada, XBRL International Inc, the International Center for Evidence-Based Medicine, the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD Canada), the ICD Corporate Governance College, the Illinois Society of CPAs, the American Institute of CPAs, Canada’s National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy Task Force on Capital Markets and Sustainability. He recently represented the Ontario government as a member of the Board and chair of the Audit Committee of the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, and was recently appointed as a member of the Board of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

Bill is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, symposiums, workshops and seminars on subjects of strategic planning, innovation, risk management, governance design, best practice models for performance measurement and disclosure and strategies for dealing with e-reporting and  e-filing.

Bill has been a leader in applying the value creation and performance concepts and tools with major organizations over the past five years and is an active team member on the GreenFIT Program for the Ministry of Government Services and the Ministry of Research and Innovation, Ontario.