Ted Topping, Creative Insights Inc.

Vancouver, BC Canada


As an educator, Ted Topping combines big-picture visualization and organizational skills with a practical understanding of how adults learn.

At the industry level, he designs, produces and leads customized, large-scale training programs. For individual clients, he creates and delivers interactive workshops that explain a topic effectively, and help participants understand how they can “Put It to Work” in practice.

Ted often includes a coaching component in his education-related proposals. His goal is to train the trainers so they can take practical knowledge and skills back to their operations and achieve meaningful real-world results.

Industry Training in Tourism: The Visitor Experience

When the Resort Municipality of Whistler wanted to improve the visitor experience it delivered, we developed and led two interactive workshops for the Whistler Chamber of Commerce: Small Things are the BIG Things to Customers; Stop Selling Products and Services, and Start Selling the Experience. These sessions addressed the core service problems faced by seasonal businesses in recreation, retail and hospitality.

Harley-Davidson University: European Dealer Operations Training

At the start of our long relationship with Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, we led a full-day program called Effective Retailing for the company’s dealers from the Nordic countries. Held in Orlando, this lively session bridged both languages and cultures to teach the C.U.S.T.O.M. Sales Process, product and technical knowledge, and numerous ways to create an effective retail environment.

Harley-Davidson University: Sales and Service Training

As a result of our initial program in Orlando, we were hired by the Canadian Harley-Davidson distributor to lead an expanded two-day program for the apparel and parts employees of its Canadian dealers. Content again focused on the C.U.S.T.O.M. Sales Process, with a special emphasis on product and technical knowledge.

Guest Experience in Tourism: Benchmarking Disney

As FlyOver Canada, a popular tourist attraction in downtown Vancouver, prepared for its second year of operation, the owners asked us to share with their management and operations teams the service mentality famously found at Disneyland (where the ride concept was developed originally). We created and delivered a half-day version of our popular interactive presentation Service and Customer Experience: Inspired by Disney.

Design, Delivery in Hospitality: Premium Guest Experience

When a new general manager took charge of the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Prince George, one of the region’s largest hotels, she sought our help to improve the overall guest experience. For five months, we guided a “Content Development Group” that included employees from every department as it created a unique and practical training program. At the same time, to prepare the hotel’s management team for the changes they would face with the new program, we conducted numerous workshops on coaching in a multi-union environment.

Industry Training: International Association

For many years, we have been a featured keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association. Many members of this international association are small businesses, and our role has been to inspire the “big picture” thinking that is necessary for survival in today’s complex retail and service environment. We have created and led a total of 50 interactive presentations and hands-on workshops at events in Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, Reno and Salt Lake City.

Design, Delivery: Preparing for a National Sporting Event

To help local businesses prepare for the many visitors who would come to Prince George, BC, during the Canada (Winter) Games in 2015, we were commissioned to design and deliver two half-day workshops: Delivering Service and Customer Experience Under Pressure; Planning Your Staffing and Inventory for the 2015 Games. Created specifically for downtown merchants and tenants of the regional shopping center, this Business Readiness Initiative was expected to become an element of future Canada Games.

Design, Delivery in Automotive: Creating a Customer Experience

To take advantage of limited-time government funding for appropriate training, we designed and delivered a unique multi- day program that addressed specific retail environment issues at Harley-Davidson of Prince George and Trev Deeley Motorcycles in Vancouver. Although the project focused on Innovative Merchandising and Product Display, its core was helping employees experience the business from a customer’s perspective.

Sales and Product Training: Microsoft’s Top Retailers

As Microsoft prepared to launch Windows 98, we worked with an associate in Chicago to lead a series of half-day Selling Skills workshops based on his book called Retail Selling Ain’t Brain Surgery. These sessions were open “by invitation” to staff from Microsoft’s most important retailers, and focused on various features of the company’s then-new operating system. Our sessions were in Atlanta, Calgary, Edmonton, Tampa, Vancouver and Wilmington.

Benchmarking the Disney Guest Experience

Based on first-hand experience, we have led numerous workshops and written numerous articles benchmarking the real-life customer experience offered at the Disneyland® Resort in Anaheim, CA. These all reflect an understanding that a service business of any size can benchmark and learn from the international brand that has delivered the world’s most enduring and successful theme park experience for six decades.

Sample Articles:

Now… let’s discuss the ways that you can make use of this practical, action-oriented experience to enhance the success of your business.