Dr. Nancy Tennant

Faculty Lead

Faculty Lead
Innovation Academy University of Notre Dame 1400 E. Angela Blvd South Bend, IN 46617
Notre Dame, IN 46556

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Dr. Nancy Tennant, CEO of Innovation Universe®, is a practitioner, professor, consultant, and best-selling author in innovation, leadership, and organizational change. As one of the world's leading experts in transforming companies through innovation, she offers a unique blend of theory and practice in her courses and workshops. Businessweek once named Nancy to its IN25 list, designating her one of the top 25 innovation champions in the corporate world.

Nancy is the Vice President Emerita, Innovation and Leadership, at Whirlpool Corporation, where she reported to two chairmen of the board/CEOs for more than 20 years. She was instrumental in transforming the culture of Whirlpool so that the company could achieve innovation from everywhere and everyone. 

Nancy was one of the co-founders of our Certified Innovation Mentor Program at Notre Dame and continues to facilitate our learning experiences, including custom programs and Innovation Action Boot Camp. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where she is co-developing an innovative Leadership Studio MBA course that teaches leadership agility throughout career transitions. She is a frequent speaker to C-level audiences around the world, including Dubai's International Innovation Forum, Copenhagen’s Innovation Roundtable® Summit, Hamburg’s DRDS Design Research & Design Strategy Conference, Brazil's ANPEI, Kuwait’s Innovation Universe Workshop, London's Financial Times workshops, Harvard University, Penn State University, Wharton School of Business, and NASA.

Her most recent book, Transform Your Company for the Innovation Universe: FRAME | GENERATE | EMBED | LEAD (Moonfish Press, 2019), is equal parts thesis, practicum, and memoir informed by her decades of learning and teaching innovation within companies. Other publications include . . .

  • Unleashing Innovation: How Whirlpool Transformed An Industry (Snyder, Nancy Tennant, and Duarte, D.L., 2008, Jossey-Bass/Wiley)
  • “The 5 Requirements of a Truly Innovative Company.” (Hamel, Gary and Tennant, Nancy, 2015, Harvard Business Review)
  • Strategic Innovation: Embedding Innovation as a Core Competency in Your Organization (Snyder, Nancy Tennant and Duarte, D.L, 2003, Jossey-Bass/Wiley)
  • Mastering Virtual Teams: Strategies, Tools, and Techniques that Succeed (Duarte, D.L., and Snyder, Nancy Tennant, 1999 & 2006, Jossey-Bass/Wiley)


Nancy received her bachelor's degree in sociology and her master's degree in industrial relations from West Virginia University. She earned a doctorate in organizational behavior/human resource development from the George Washington University with the dissertation "Global Integrating Mechanisms and Global Dominant Logic: Managers' Perceptions of Global Integration."