My Photo

Thought Leaders


  • Email Address:
  • Website:


Walter Derzko is a consultant, lecturer, business owner, a popular blogger, key note speaker and former Director of the Idea Lab at the Design Exchange in Toronto, Canada. He also teaches a popular Certificate program on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies.

Walter specializes in strategic thinking, business development, emerging technologies, lateral creative thinking, innovation and foresight, Walter works in partnership with inventors, first time entrepreneurs, serial entrepreneurs, engineers, designers, scientists and researchers turned entrepreneur, emerging fast-growth companies, large corporations, Not-for-profits (NFP’s) and government to develop their innovation capabilities, foresight, and anticipatory management skills, He also is an expert and specializes in environmental scanning for business and government, developing novel business models, new products and services and in spotting & “designing” business opportunities with his unique Idea Lab and Opportunity Clinic process. Recent clients include startups in mobile software, nanotechnology, biotechnology, the Ontario Center of Excellence (OCE), VTT in Finland, the Office of the National Science Advisor (ONSA) and Agriculture and Agrifood Canada.(AAFC) in Ottawa, Forrester Research and the Design Exchange in Toronto. Walter’s blogs on Entrepreneurship & Innovation and on emerging “smart” technologies are popular daily destinations for entrepreneurs and managers who need to stay on the edge of innovation.

Personal Bio

I'm a futurist and business development consultant interested in strategic planning and thinking, futures research, emerging smart technologies, scenario planning, issues management, environmental scanning, opportunity recognition and lateral thinking.

I’m now focusing my consulting on futures research and scenario planning- helping clients manage risk and uncertainty in their business/organizational horizon

Formally I was an Associate of CERES, MUNK Center for International Studies, University of Toronto, working on a Scenario Lab project.

Now I teach an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate at the University of Toronto

My Workshops /Seminars:

I offer the following list of workshops inhouse for your organization or from time-to time they are offered publically.

-Technology Assessment for Investment Professionals & High Tech Startups
-Lateral thinking in business
-Developing foresight in your business or industry
-Resolving conflicts and disputes using lateral thinking
-The Opportunity Clinic
-The Idea Lab
-Designing smart products and services that will drive business development forward
-Introduction to Business Development
-Tracking emerging technologies as threats or opportunities for your business

Who would benefit from my workshops or consulting?

+Community Colleges- Continuing Education and Technology Transfer departments

+Universities-Continuing Education and Technology Transfer departments

+Local community Business Incubators

+High Tech startups (on a part time of full time basis)

+Lawyers who work in commercial law and patent law, or accountants who may have startup clients who are in need part time or full time businss development consulting services through referrals

+Various technology associations or industry groups

+Not for Profits ( for strategic planning and scenario development)

+Government departments ( for scenario planning)

+Corporations going through their annual strategic planning cycle

My consulting projects:

The kinds of projects that I’ve worked on can be generally divided into traditional strategic planning, technology transfer and business development

A) Strategic Planning

-Conventional strategic planning, vision mission, strategy, tactics,
-Futures Research
-Viable system modeling (VSM)
-Developing or Revising Business Models
-Stakeholder Analysis
-Issues Management
-Environmental scanning or Horizon Scanning and
-Foresight Development
-Scenario Planning or building
-Managing uncertainty and risk
-Competitive Intelligence
-Developing, evaluating and managing Strategic Alliances
-The Idea Lab
-The Opportunity Clinic

B) Technology Transfer

-From R&D to commercialization and lateral spin-off opportunties
-Intellectual property rights and protection

C) Business Development

-Spotting and Designing opportunity windows
with The Opportunity Clinic
-The Idea Lab
-Arranging for public government or private trade missions
-Sourcing state-of the-art technology
-Identifying clusters of overseas technical expertise and know-how
-Identifying alliance partners and Joint venture partners
-Managing overseas sales and marketing trips, pre-trip planning, medical assistance, visa applications and accompanying the client
-Document translations, interpreters etc
-Sourcing government grants and subsidies
-Linking clients with relevant State Ministries, R & D Facilities, academic institutions, local administration officials, decision-makers and policy-setters
-Fast tracking the business registration process
-Assessing country risk, economic free zones, and tax benefits and savings
-Tracking new government regulations that impact a clients’ business dealings in a foreign country to identify opportunities and mitigate threats
-Collecting market resources on foreign market opportunities
-Sourcing and matchmaking candidates for research collaboration and sourcing out matching government grants
-Sourcing opportunities for two way bilateral technology transfer opportunities
-Conducting negotiations with clients
-Mitigating and diffusing cultural conflicts, misunderstandings and oversights
-Conducting Project due diligence
-Customs and duty issues
-Establishing embassy and trade contacts
-Recruiting scientific and other HR talent

Contact me at

wderzko [at] pathcom (DOT) com or

Walter (DOT) derzko [at] utoronto (DOT) ca

or call me in Toronto 416-819-9667


i'm a futurist and business development consultant interested in emerging smart technologies, scenario planning, and opportunity recognition and lateral thinking