Elaine Dundon, Dean of MEANING University, cofounder of the Global Meaning Institute, creator of MEANINGology®, speaker, and author of three international best-selling books on Innovation and Meaning.
Elaine Dundon is Dean of MEANING University and co-founder of the Global Meaning Institute, with offices in Canada, the United States, and Greece. Her unique background bridges business strategy, brand marketing, innovation management, and meaning. Elaine has held senior leadership positions, including brand management at Procter & Gamble. In 2000, she designed and taught the groundbreaking course on Innovation Management at the University of Toronto, which integrated creative, strategic, and transformational thinking, including a focus on the “human side of innovation.” She is the author of three international best-selling books on Innovation and Meaning, available in over 20 languages: Prisoners of Our Thoughts, The OPA! Way, and The Seeds of Innovation. Now, Elaine is dedicated to leading the Meaning Revolution, advancing MEANING University and MEANINGology®, and encouraging all to feel more alive and reach their full potential by connecting to the deeper meaning and core essence of their work and life, and at a systems level, connecting to the deeper meaning within organizations, communities, and society.
Elaine has always been on a search for deeper meaning. At the early age of twelve, facing her mother’s battle with cancer, she learned that life was fragile and that every situation presents the opportunity to put life’s challenges in perspective and to find meaning in any situation, however tragic.
Following her interest and passion for creativity, new discoveries, and business, Elaine pursued a career in business marketing, including working in brand management at Procter & Gamble. In 1996, Elaine founded The Innovation Group which, at that time, was ahead of the trend and innovative! Elaine laid the groundwork for Innovation Management with a breakthrough organizational culture assessment tool (Innovation Systems Architecture), designed and taught the first Innovation Management course in North America (at the University of Toronto), and wrote a best-selling book, The Seeds of Innovation. She advised many leaders to broaden their approach to innovation beyond their common focus on technology and new products towards the “human side of innovation.” This means first creating innovation mindsets and innovation cultures within organizations and communities as the foundation for success.
With a growing interest in a more humane approach to innovation, work, and, more broadly, life itself, Elaine heeded the call to explore the intersection of Innovation and Meaning. Her quest for deeper meaning first brought her to Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, a center for transformational and metaphysical thinking. Her second phase took her to Greece, where she walked in the footsteps of the ancient Greek philosophers. Elaine also interviewed people throughout Greece, including many elders in the traditional villages, who despite being surrounded by the economic and social crises, were thriving. Through these experiences, Elaine discovered that living and working from the "core of meaning" helped facilitate engagement & resilience, health & well-being, and performance & innovation. Elaine captured these insights in the award-winning book, The OPA! Way: Finding Joy & Meaning in Everyday Life & Work.
In the third phase of her journey, Elaine deepened her understanding of how people, communities, and societies can realize their full potential though meaning, by conducting extensive and exciting new research into the subject. She also recently co-authored the expanded third edition of the international best-selling book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl’s Principles for Discovering Meaning in Life and Work.
Now with interest in leading the emerging Meaning Revolution, Elaine has co-founded the Global Meaning Institute, MEANING University, and MEANINGology® -- all with the goal of helping people connect to the deeper meaning and core essence of their life and work, and at a systems level, connect to the deeper meaning within organizations, communities, and society.