Shawn Kanungo

Top 40 Under 40 2016

Photography Curtis Comeau

Age: 32

Job Title: Senior Manager, Deloitte

Why He’s Top 40: He looks at disruption in industry as an opportunity to innovate, and shares his passion with businesses of all kinds

The word “disruption” might have a negative connotation, but not for Shawn Kanungo. Instead, Kanungo says it allows for creativity in the business sphere. Disruptive innovation, he explains, happens to companies when new models arise, sometimes overnight – think Uber competing with taxis. Rather than denigrating these new models, Kanungo works with companies and governments as a senior manager at Deloitte – he pushes for more innovation so his clients can thrive. 

His passion for business began after he experienced a tremendous loss – his father died and Kanungo took over the accounting business two days later. “Now I knew life is short. I was just cruising through until that point,” he says. While working full-time for his current employer, he got his father’s business through tax season and sold it six months later. That’s when he realized his passion was driving business innovation.

He now employs rapid prototyping, crowdsourcing, artificial intelligence, drones and film to keep clients competitive in a technologically savvy marketplace; and his work has garnered an internal award and one where his peers recognized him as one of Canada’s most innovative practitioners. He’s also dedicated to building partnerships, including one with Apple to bring a performance-management offering to the public sector. Kanungo is an incredibly engaging speaker – sharing his knowledge at countless business conferences and non-profits across the country. 

Disruptive innovation is happening across sectors, says Kanungo. And he proves it through The Dip, a podcast he co-hosts with Wang Yip, where they’ve explored disruption in healthcare and fashion, for example, and how technology is shaping these industries.

His passion for innovation colours all his waking hours. He also once co-owned a film group, Nelson Spooner Productions, where he created film shorts and apps for individuals and companies.

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