Jerry Boyer, CEO, One Million Acts of Innovation

Jerry is accountable for making the world work better for every person through Innovation. Bringing Innovation to Business, Arts, Social Services, Healthcare and Academia are just some of the opportunities made available by One Million Acts of Innovation under Jerry’s leadership. Enabling people to do their best work is the goal.

An Innovation, Technology and Change Leader – Jerry brings 30 years experience in IT and Business Leadership in several sectors including Pharmaceutical, Consumer Products, Waste Management, Transportation, Non-Profit and Retail.

As Head of IT Canada at GSK over 20+ years, Jerry was responsible for setting the strategic direction of and overseeing the day-to-day IT functions for GSK’s pharmaceutical business in Canada. Jerry is well known for his leadership, vision, and guidance in the delivery of Business and Information Systems, Solutions and Services that maximize business value as well as leading high performance teams with high engagement.

Heavily involved in the community, Jerry serves as a Director and Vice Chairman of the Board for Victoria Park Community Homes Inc, serves on several Advisory Boards and community based organizations, deeply involved in athletic endeavors and continues to be an active performing musician. He is also the proud parent of two young adults and lives with his partner and children in Grimsby, Ontario.


1. Can you tell us a bit about One Million Acts of Innovation and the goals your setting out for the organization?

One Million Acts of Innovation is a global non-profit organization focused on making the world work better for all people through innovation.  We are a global team dedicated to enabling innovation.  We run programs and events, we create and share content – all designed to foster innovation.  We leverage our global network to make things happen.  Its all about people.

In 2015, our work impacted 5000 people’s lives.  In 2016, our goal is to make a positive impact on 1 million people.

2. When you think of the word "innovation" in regards to IT, what does that mean to you?

Innovation can be defined simply as doing something different to get a better result. Innovation is all about people, nothing happens without people.  Innovation needs a healthy environment to grow – meaning that people need to be supported and nurtured in order to innovate. 

There are 5 critical elements to consider:

1.     Leadership – top down communication and incentives

2.     Culture of Innovation – the informal mechanisms

3.     Strategy – alignment to objectives

4.     Function – a formalized accountability

5.     Governance – the ecosystem to measure and align

IT is arguably in the best position to lead innovation in an organization.   Remember the business of IT is still an infant – the first computer was invented in 1938, the internet came to life in 1969, Microsoft 1974, Spreadsheets and Word processors in the 1980’s, world wide web in 1989, ERP systems were born in the 1990’s,  Google 1998, Facebook 2004, Youtube 2005, Uber 2009.  These are just some examples of IT and business model innovation.

IT is in a natural position to continue to lead innovation. 

3. Innovation in any company is key to the success of the organization. Why do you think some companies fall short and often struggle to grapple with the idea?

Startups are well known as innovators.  Large organizations often struggle to innovate. Consider that startups are lean, hungry and can shift on a dime – they have fresh ideas and are talking to everyone that they can to validate the ideas, pivot, mature ideas and their goal is to get to a standard repeatable way of doing business that is predictable, manageable and scalable.   Consider that they are working their way out of being innovative or at least striving to become more predictable.   Large organizations are often trying to build that “start up” innovative energy yet their existing structure and process that they have spent years perfecting, can get in the way.  The 5 critical elements to innovation described in question 2 above will create an “innovation ready” ecosystem.

4. What do you feel needs to be done for Canada to become a true, competitive nation of innovation?

Canada is already a true, competitive nation of Innovation.  By almost every measure, Canada is highly ranked.  That said, there are some areas for improvement and investment.

Benefit from Diversity of ideas – appropriate representation of woman and ethnic populations into the innovation workforce

Invest in Infrastructure to drive Canadian Productivity:

       Connectivity - Enable high speed, high quality connectivity

       Transport and Logistics – moving people and goods efficiently from point A to point B

Bring Innovation to the entire ecosystem and connect all the pieces – Universities, Entrepreneurs, Investors, Venture capital, large Corporations, Government

We invest pretty well in Canadian Start-Up, lets shift new energy and dollars to Scale-Up or supporting the growth and scaling of those start ups we have invested in.

5. What are the outcomes you wish to achieve from your session and what do you want people to be able to take away?

I really want to strengthen Canada’s ability to innovate – I want to leave everyone in attendance with some new thinking, awareness and capacity for innovation.  It’s not that hard and there is lots of innovation going on all around us.

6. What is it that attracted you to CAMSS Canada and what are you most looking forward to?

It’s a great opportunity to spend time, share ideas and network with some of the top IT and thought leaders in Canada.  Canadian productivity and business success is reliant on the successful and innovative use of Technology.  This event is a unique opportunity to learn from and share with the best