Inventory of the
Don Simpson fonds

Inventory #F0592

The digitization of this finding aid was made possible - in part or entirely - through the Canadian Culture Online Program of Canadian Heritage, the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian Council of Archives.


Fonds/Collection Number:F0592
Title:Don Simpson fonds
Dates:[190-?]-2011, predominant 1960-1999
Extent:36.07 m of textual records
306 photographs
1 photograph album
26 posters
8 CDs
7 DVDs
11 computer diskettes
16 audio cassettes
1 audio tape (0.6 cm)
21 video cassettes
11 objects: baseball hats, buttons, etc.
Biographical Sketch/
Administrative History:
Donald (Don) George Simpson is a Canadian innovator and mentor in organizational development who has worked as an educator, historian, businessman, Third World aid administrator, researcher, consultant and entrepreneur, in more than 70 countries worldwide. Simpson was born in 1934 in Weston, Ontario (west Toronto), and grew up in Sudbury and Mimico, a suburb west of Toronto. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Western Ontario (UWO), and then taught high school science and history at Sir Adam Beck Secondary School in London, Ontario, from 1957 to 1965. In 1957, Simpson married Marion Henderson of London. Together they had four children: Janice, David, Christine and Craig. Simpson completed a Master of Arts in History in 1965, writing on British imperialism in Africa; he then began teaching comparative education at UWO's new Althouse Faculty of Education, at the same time working on his Ph.D. on Ontario black history, finished in 1971. Simpson was one of the creators of the African Students Foundation, which brought 300 Africans to Canada in the 1960s for a university education. He was also a co-founder and executive secretary of Canadian Crossroads Africa from 1960 to 1965. Crossroads took him to Nigeria in 1960 and Ethiopia in 1963 on volunteer work placements; then, from 1967 to 1968, he and his family lived in Ghana when Simpson served as the first regional director in West Africa for Canadian University Services Overseas (CUSO). Having returned to Canada, during the 1970s Simpson regularly worked "on loan" away from the Althouse Faculty of Education for other agencies, including CUSO, Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and UWO's new Office of International Education. At the latter, he was involved in the creation of a computerized Cross-Cultural Learner Centre designed to educate Canadians, particularly volunteers for overseas service, about the developing world. Simpson has also worked with Canada's First Nations, co-chairing the Southern Support Group for the Dene Nation in the Northwest Territories (1974-1977); sitting on the executive of the National Coalition against the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline (1977); mentoring at CBC North as the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation was formed (1980); and serving on various review committees on Native education and education in the Canadian North, among other activities. In 1983, Simpson joined the Centre for International Business at UWO, then became Director in 1985. He then formed two consulting firms: Kanchar International, to foster business collaboration between Canada and Africa; and Salasan Associates Inc., to build leadership and human resource capacity in First Nations and international settings. In 1990, Simpson accepted the position of Vice President and Director of the Banff Centre for Management in Alberta. It was in Banff that Simpson created the International Institute for Innovation, or Triple i. Incorporated in 1993, the Triple i changed from a non-profit organization to a private company, with several reincarnations and parent companies. By 1999 it had evolved into the Innovation Expedition (IE). Simpson was Chief Explorer from the beginning. Having first applied its trademarked Challenge Dialogue Process to a public roundtable process in Alberta, IE went on to apply its method to food and agriculture, information technology, education and learning, and health. Working with organizations committed to transforming themselves, the company has undertaken projects in North America, Europe, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, China and Japan. Since 2000, Simpson's varied projects in innovation and organizational development have continued, engaging with work in strategic foresight, innovation network building, conservation and energy transformation. In 2007, Simpson served as Innovator-in-Residence at York University's Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples. Simpson is the author of "Under the North Star: black communities in Upper Canada before Confederation (1867)" (2005), based on his doctoral thesis; "Renaissance leadership: rethinking and leading the future" (2010), with Stephen Murgatroyd; and a memoir, "A Canadian odyssey: a personal and national journey towards cross-cultural harmony" (in progress). Simpson was named Professor Emeritus at the University of Western Ontario in 1991. In 1993, he received the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation, awarded to people who have made a significant contribution to Canada, their community or to their fellow Canadians.
Scope and Content:

Fonds consists of records documenting the personal and professional experiences of Don Simpson from the 1950s to 2011 in countries around the world. Records include correspondence, notebooks, reports and toolkits, speeches, resource material, memorabilia and other records relating to his activities in a wide range of educational, social justice, development, government and business innovation organizations. Topics covered include international education and cross-cultural understanding; international development and health; the rights of Canada's Aboriginal peoples; the history of African-Canadian communities; environmental issues; innovation in business and the non-profit sector; human resources development; and economic development from Alberta to China and Africa. Fonds also consists of personal correspondence, family photographs and memorabilia relating to Simpson's personal and family life.

S00501Teaching lectures and other material
S00502Cross-cultural education lecture notes and other material
S00503African development records
S00504International development
S00505Aboriginal peoples in Canada
S00507Learning and leadership development
S00508Mentoring presentation records and other material
S00509Transformation project records and other material
S00510Knowledge management toolkits and other material
S00511Social justice issues
S00512Environmental issues
S00513African Canadian experiences
S00514Memoir personal reference material
S00515Personal correspondence and other material
S00516Education theses and other material
S00517Family and genealogical records
Restrictions on
Access and Use:
Some files restricted due to third party personal information. Access to some files permitted only through a research agreement. Requests must be directed to the University Archivist.
Finding Aid: File list available.
URL of Finding Aid:
Accruals: The fonds comprises the following accessions: 2010-020. Further accruals may be expected.
Immediate source of acquisition: Fonds was donated by Don Simpson in August 2010.
Subject Access Points:Simpson, Donald G. (1934- )
Provenance Access Points:Simpson, Donald G.

Date of creation: 2011/06/09
Date of last revision: 2012/10/03
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