Nancy Tennant

Corporate Innovation Officer and Vice President for Margin Realization, Whirlpool Corporation

Nancy Tennant is the chief innovation officer and vice president for Margin Realization for Whirlpool Corporation, reporting to the chairman and CEO.

In this capacity, she is responsible for creating and implementing enterprise strategies that facilitate innovation, leveraged learning, competitive knowledge, and margin optimization. She leads Whirlpool’s innovation practice, transforming Whirlpool into an innovation powerhouse and benchmark, starting in 1999, resulting in top innovation ratings and acclaim from publications such as Fast Company and Fortune and billions in new revenue for Whirlpool.

She also started Whirlpool University, Whirlpool’s award-winning corporate university. She is one of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners (theoretic practitioner) in transforming businesses and nonprofit environments to achieve innovation from everyone and everywhere. Bloomberg Businessweek named Tennant one of the 25 Innovation Champions (IN25) in the world.

As an adjunct faculty member of both the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business since 2003, she teaches innovation and organization change in the MBA programs. In 2013 she cofounded the certification program for innovation mentors (CIMp) at the University of Notre Dame, a groundbreaking program that teaches a new breed of specialists in government, nonprofit, universities, and industry how to lead innovation.

Tennant is the author of numerous articles and the coauthor of two bestselling books on innovation: Unleashing Innovation: How Whirlpool Transformed an Industry (Tennant Snyder & Duarte; Jossey-Bass, Wiley, 2008), and Strategic Innovation: Embedding Innovation as a Core Competency in Your Organization (Tennant Snyder & Duarte; Jossey-Bass, 2003).

She is presently working on a new book about innovation to simplify how to get started in innovation, with a publication goal of 2015. She is the coauthor of the bestselling Mastering Virtual Teams (Duarte & Snyder; Jossey-Bass, 2006, 3rd edition), ranked by Amazon as one of the 50 bestselling team books of all time.

She is a frequent public speaker on the topic of innovation and organization change to level audiences around the world, including United Arab Emirates, China, Brazil, Peru, India, Italy, and the UK.

Tennant received a doctorate in organizational behavior from The George Washington University. She is the president of the board for the first tee of Benton Harbor, a nonprofit organization that offers character development and life skills to at-risk youth through golf.