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tara o'neil

I am a designer, innovation strategist, futurist, an educator and a resarcher. You can just call me a design scientist, passionate about using multidisciplinary approaches to tackle complex problems.


My work is at the intersection of design, strategy, and foresight. I believe that combining creativity with STEM and business is critical to unlocking new ideas and driving innovation.

Innovation really began to take hold during my time  as Chief Creative Officer at a retail design and strategy studio in Toronto. I led multidisciplinary teams to create user experiences across omnichannel formats for financial institutions, grocery stores, home improvement retailers, and fashion brands. It was during this time that understandign how creativity happened wasnt a linear path and that a + b never equalled c. 

I received my Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University in Toronto, Canada. That degree ignited my interest in futures studies combined with innovation and creative thinking leading me to pursue my Ph.D. in Inclusive Design and Creative Technology Innovation at SMARTlab at University College Dublin. My thesis focused on transdisciplinary innovation and using Virtual Reality Time Portals to overcome cognitive biases and unleash creative talent.

Today, I am the Chief Innovation Officer at SMARTlab Niagara, where I 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.

I am  fueled by my belief that innovation is not just about creating something new but something that can positively impact society. As  an entrepreneur I understand the importance of turning abstract ideas into tangible artifacts that can make a difference in people's lives.

As a design scientist, I brings a unique perspective to research, blending creativity with scientific rigour to develop novel solutions that are both practical and imaginative. My entrepreneurial spirit drives me to collaborate with industry partners to ensure that my research has practical applications.

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