Tara O'Neil is an innovation strategist, a futurist and a design scientist passionate about using multidisciplinary approaches to tackle complex problems. Her work is at the intersection of design, strategy, and Foresight. She believes combining creativity with STEM and business is critical to unlocking new ideas and driving innovation.
Tara's journey in innovation began with her role as Chief Creative Officer at a retail design and strategy studio in Toronto. There, she led multidisciplinary teams to create user experiences across omnichannel formats for financial institutions, grocery stores, home improvement retailers, and fashion brands.
Tara received her Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University in Toronto, Canada. Her passion for innovation and design led her to pursue a Ph.D. in Inclusive Design and Creative Technology Innovation from SMARTlab at University College Dublin. Her thesis focused on transdisciplinary innovation using Virtual Reality Time Portals to overcome cognitive biases and unleash creative talent.
Today, Tara is the Chief Innovation Officer at SMARTlab Niagara, where she leads teams of Ph.D. and postgraduate researchers in exploring and developing radical innovation. The lab aims to build resilient communities by finding solutions for vulnerable populations using XR technology, 3D printing, and Foresight.
Tara's work is fueled by her belief that innovation is not just about creating something new but something that can positively impact society. She is an entrepreneur who understands the importance of turning abstract ideas into tangible artifacts that can make a difference in people's lives.
As a design scientist, Tara brings a unique perspective to her research, blending creativity with scientific rigour to develop novel solutions that are both practical and imaginative. Her entrepreneurial spirit drives her to collaborate with industry partners to ensure that her research has practical applications.