Cafe X

Café X will bring together faculty, staff, students and the broader community, to cultivate and develop “blue sky” thinking about topical issues and leading edge ideas. Invited speakers will share experiences in exciting innovative areas that will spark discussion, provoke debate and elicit thoughtful ideas.



Featuring ...

John Bandler

John Bandler
McMaster University and Bandler Corporation

Creativity in the Real World: Champions, Detractors and What Certain Gurus Would Rather You Didn’t Know

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

McMaster University, ETB room 535

Café X will be open for business for one hour, starting with a presentation, followed by questions and answers. Refreshments will be available at the start and conclusion of the event.

Free admission, however seating is limited. Registration required

Register here »

Experts give expert advice. Right? And gurus champion new revelations. Closer to home, teachers teach what’s in your best interest, and your peers share their knowledge. So you’re creative, a budding expert, a fresh entrepreneurial spirit. You need a small word of encouragement, an acknowledgment that you’re on the right track. Who doesn’t? Caveat emptor. Often, experts wield their clout to misdirect, authority figures offer flawed pronouncements, and your peers hinder you. Paradoxically, the more virulent the response, the louder the ridicule, the more insistent the rejection, the more likely you’ve stumbled onto something big, something disruptive. You may find that the more enthusiastic you appear, the greater the opposition. You’re challenging assumptions, upsetting the status quo. Experts, gurus, teachers and peers may be driven by fear, envy, rivalry and more, and so suffocate rather than nurture your creativity. Conflicts of interest lurk in the hidden recesses of all advice—even this advice. You’re vulnerable: to failure, to shame. So learn how to read and manage confirmation bias, first impressions and subtext. Stand firm. Make that breakthrough. It’s likely staring you in the face. And soon, you will be that guru, that expert, that teacher, and that peer facing that next creative upstart.

About John Bandler:

John Bandler is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, McMaster University, directing research in the Simulation Optimization Systems Research Laboratory. He is President of Bandler Corporation.

He studied in England at Imperial College of Science and Technology and received his B.Sc.(Eng.), Ph.D. and D.Sc.(Eng.) degrees from the University of London. He is a Life Fellow of the IEEE and Fellow of several societies: the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Engineering Institute of Canada, and the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

John has published 500 technical papers and contributions to books. He served on editorial and review committees, and has been guest editor of several special issues. At McMaster he has been Chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.

He holds the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society’s 2004 Microwave Application Award and its 2013 Microwave Career Award—both awarded to a Canadian for the first time. In 2012, he was honored by a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and by IEEE Canada’s 2012 A.G.L. McNaughton Gold Medal.

John was President of Optimization Systems Associates Inc., which he founded in 1983 and sold to Hewlett-Packard Company in 1997. Based on his work, advances such as design with tolerances, yield-driven design, and electromagnetic optimization—once academic fantasies—are now taken for granted by microwave engineers. His software implementations into commercial CAD tools have impacted high-frequency and microwave design initiatives world-wide.

In 1993, John discovered “space mapping.” Ensuing algorithms have been adopted by design portfolios across the entire spectrum of engineering, enabling high-fidelity design of devices and systems at a cost of only a few high-fidelity simulations. In “Have you ever wondered about the engineer’s mysterious ‘feel’ for a problem?” IEEE Canadian Review, no. 70, pp. 50-60, Summer 2013, John writes: “It is ironic that the very same generic process [space mapping] is as easy to explain to your next-door neighbor as it has proved difficult for an expert to explain to a fellow expert in the next cubicle.”

Active in artistic, literary, and theatrical endeavors, John’s work includes a novel, a screenplay and nine stage plays. He contributed to Theatre Burlington’s 2010 multiple-award-winning production of Breaking the Code—the story of Alan Turing—and received the Western Ontario Drama League adjudicator’s special award for (Greek language) dialect coaching.

John’s plays have received public readings at Theatre Aquarius, the Players’ Guild of Hamilton, and the Dundas Little Theatre. He is author and executive producer of Christmas Eve at the Julibee Motel, 59 Minutes in the Maxwell Suite, and author, director and executive producer of That The Multitude May Live, all performed at Hamilton Fringe Festivals. Watch out for his science fiction play The Trial of Naomi Verne at the Hamilton Fringe Festival in July, 2014.

His rump session at the 2012 IEEE International Microwave Symposium on “Human Aspects of Communication and Persuasion: First Impressions and Subtext” is available on His 2013 McMaster seminar on “From Creativity to Success via Risk and Setback: An Insider’s Perspective” is available on McMasterUTV. On February 2, 2014, he spoke at the TEDx McMaster U Conference on “Explain Less, Predict More.”

Upcoming ...

Jay Reilly, Purdue University - March 13 or 27, 2014 (TBC)

Past ...

Eugene Roman, Chief Technology Officer, Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited - January 2014

Jordan Banks, Managing Director and Head of Global Vertical Strategy Facebook Canada - November 2013

For event information, please contact Terry Milson,, 905-525-9140, ext. 27391.