The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

A speakers bureau that represents the best original thinkers,
writers, and doers for speaking engagements.

Silicon Valley, Reinvention, and the Future of Tech: Introducing Lavin Speaker Alex Kantrowitz

In Always Day One, tech reporter Alex Kantrowitz explores the industry’s unique culture of innovation. More than just a catchy slogan, the book’s title refers to the bedrock principle employed by one of the largest, most successful companies in the world: Amazon. The logic being that failure to invent like a start-up will eventually lead to irrelevance and decline. Kantrowitz builds upon this principle, along with other tools and tactics, used by the tech giants to propel their growth and dominance at the stage when most big companies begin to fail.

Though these companies do receive a fair amount of criticism, Kantrowitz argues that we must extract the most useful tactics in their playbook in order to level the playing field. “The tech giants are successful largely because they’ve reimagined how we approach work. With the assistance of automation and collaboration software, they’ve figured out how to maximize the time their employees spend coming up with new ideas and minimize the time they spend supporting existing products,” Kantrowitz says. In other words, by not becoming overly attached to their flagship products, companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are able to continually reinvent. And it’s time that other organizations started taking note. The economic hardship presented by COVID-19 leaves no other choice.


In a post-pandemic world, the leaders who cling to their legacy assets and protect them at all costs won’t get very far. But the leaders who build cultures like the ones modelled by the tech giants—cultures that prioritize invention and reinvention—will have more than a fighting chance.


To book speaker Alex Kantrowitz for your next virtual event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau.

What If The World’s Not Falling Apart? Designer and Technologist John Maeda Makes an Optimistic Case for the Future

When it comes to loss of life, the coronavirus is no doubt a human tragedy of epic proportions. But when it comes to the future of our economy? It’s not necessarily all doom and gloom. In his latest LinkedIn article, Public Sapient’s John Maeda explains why this crisis is different from those we have previously experienced. 

“Experts make provocative claims by comparing what happened in the past with what is to come for our future,” writes John Maeda, referencing the horde of opinion pieces and articles prosetalyzing the collapse of our economy. There’s just one problem with this method: we can’t compare this crisis to any other financial crisis we’ve experienced in the past. Why? Because, as Maeda argues, “we’re now inter-connected computationally.”


This shift will have dramatic effects for the state of the Internet, artificial intelligence, and business in general. “The sudden migration from smartphones back to desktops [and] laptops is amassing large amounts of data for the tech companies to take an even greater advantage,” Maeda notes. “People of all ages and walks of life have been forced to shift to an all-digital lifestyle. Forced evolution is now happening.” For AI, having access to more data is especially crucial to its evolution—helping it become smarter, as well as more inclusive.


We can’t rely on experts basing their opinions on how things used to be, because these are unprecedented times, and digital natives differ intrinsically from digital immigrants. If we listen to their voices, we’ll be less likely to fall victim to doom and gloom, and more likely to see the potential for business in a post-COVID world.


Read his full article here.


To book John Maeda for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today and speak with a member of our sales team.

Create the Future: Jeremy Gutsche’s Latest Innovation Guidebook Profiled by Inc

In Create the Future, Trend Hunter CEO and New York Times bestselling author Jeremy Gutsche reveals the frameworks that have helped 700 of the world’s most powerful brands, billionaires, and CEOs, accelerate real change.  

Through his consulting work with Trend Hunter—not to mention his experience hosting the world’s #1 innovation conference, Future Festival—Jeremy Gutsche has helped countless brands realize their full potential. In his new book Create the Future, he aims to help readers do the same.


“You likely already realize that survival in business today requires grabbing hold of tomorrow's opportunities with disruptive innovation, before your competition or a new startup gets there,” writes Martin Zwilling in his review of the book for Inc. “The challenge is to create a culture of forward thinking in your company, and avoid the traps of following the paths of least resistance that often appear in mature companies.”


With his captivating writing, Gutsche shows readers how to avoid these common traps that prevent progress. Create the Future is a tactical guidebook chock-full of strategies tested by leaders at Disney, Starbucks, Google, and even NASA. Better yet, the book is paired with a revised edition of Gutsche’s first book Exploiting Chaos—an Inc Best Book for Business Owners, an Axiom International Book Award Winner, and a #1 CEO Read.


Read the full Inc review here.


To book speaker Jeremy Gutsche for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau.

Lead From the Future: Award-winning Innovation Expert Mark Johnson Joins The Lavin Agency

As the co-founder of innovation consultancy Innosight, Mark Johnson helps leaders envision their future, create new growth, and manage transformation. His upcoming book Lead from the Future breaks down what truly sets a visionary leader apart—and how to instill their unique approach into your own organization.  

There’s no special mix of attributes that create a visionary leader like Jeff Bezos or Steve Jobs. But there is a special way of thinking that makes their extraordinary successes possible. In his upcoming book Lead from the FutureMark Johnson breaks down such visionary leadership into a process called “future-back.” Unlike present-forward thinking, which imagines an organization in the future in small increments, future-back thinking empowers leaders to make a clean break from the past and present so they can truly own the future.


A lucid thinker and an even more brilliant explainer, Johnson can transform even the most complacent company into a visionary powerhouse. In his talks, he walks organizations through the visionary fundamentals: creating a vision, connecting it to a strategy,  then programming and implementing. Not only does he help companies think creatively and expansively; Johnson helps embed the revolutionary process of ‘future-back’ thinking into the very heart of an organization: its culture.


Leading From the Future | Mark Johnson


To book speaker Mark Johnson for your next corporate event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau. 

Create the Future: Jeremy Gutsche Offers New Tactics for Disruptive Thinking in His Upcoming Book

More than just a business buzzword, innovation has become a coveted ideal for nearly every organization on earth. The problem is, though everyone wants innovation, few know how to actually attain it. In his upcoming book Create the Future, Trend Hunter CEO and New York Times bestselling author Jeremy Gutsche offers a guide for mastering real change. 

In today’s fast-paced world, there are more opportunities than ever within our reach—yet time and time again, smart and successful people miss out on the action. Why? Innovation expert Jeremy Gutsche explains that there are seven neurological traps that limit our thinking and decision-making. But fear not. In his upcoming book Create the Future: Tactics for Disruptive Thinking, Gutsche shows us how to overcome the years of evolutionary conditioning that urge us to play it safe.


Filled with Gutsche’s provocative thinking and signature flair for story-telling, Create the Future walks us through battle-tested strategies employed by innovative leaders at Disney, Starbucks, Google, and NASA.  The book, which features a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell, is paired with a revised edition of Gutsche’s award-winning first book Exploiting Chaos, making it a double-sided handbook for disruptive thinking.


To book speaker Jeremy Gutsche for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency today, his exclusive speakers bureau.

Building an Innovative Culture: Fast Company’s Stephanie Mehta joins The Lavin Agency

Fast Company is the magazine that innovative businesses trust when they want to understand up-and-coming technologies, changing leadership and workplace trends, and ideas with the power to change the world. At the helm is Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Mehta, helping to shape the future for the next generation of business.

If you want to understand the most creative people—and companies— in business today, look no further than Stephanie Mehta. A veteran in business journalism, Mehta spends her days talking to corporate leaders, social innovators, and creative minds. Her exposure to inventors and entrepreneurs give her a unique perspective on where business is going. What makes these leaders and their cutting-edge companies successful? How do they motivate their teams? Implement new trends? Learn from their mistakes? With care and consideration, Mehta breaks down the culture and processes that allow for innovation, adaptation, creativity, discipline and resilience in a business landscape changing at a dizzying pace.  


Why Innovating Your Process Matters | Stephanie Mehta


To book speaker Stephanie Mehta for your next speaking engagement, contact The Lavin Agency today, her exclusive speakers bureau.  

Can UBI Equalize the Playing Field for Entrepreneurs? Harvard Professor Laura Huang Explains

In her latest op-ed, Harvard Business School professor Laura Huang explains how Universal Basic Income will revolutionize the start-up world for those who are systematically disadvantaged.

“Second chances are one of the biggest hurdles for those who are disadvantaged. They just don’t receive them,” Laura Huang writes in a new op-ed titled ‘The Significance of Andrew Yang’s $1,000 Plan.’ “Part of what is embroiled in disadvantage is that you don’t get to take as many risks—that not everyone ‘gets’ the same number of chances to fail. If you’re a Black woman and someone takes a chance on you, the expectation is that you deliver; that you prove yourself. If you don’t deliver, you often don’t get another chance. So there is less willingness to take chances.”


We openly discuss failure as being part of the journey to success, but we tend to gloss over the fact that not everyone has the same chance to fail. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s plan to provide government-sponsored payments—totalling $12,000 a year—could be profound. According to Huang, “It is his way of giving everyone the startup capital they need for their ‘Startup of Me.’”


To book speaker Laura Huang for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency today.

Innovation Expert Jeremy Gutsche Interviews Celebrated Thought Leader Malcolm Gladwell on the Power of Ideas

Trend Hunter CEO Jeremy Gutsche invited New York Times alum Malcolm Gladwell to the Trend Hunter offices for a thoughtful discussion on how and why we should challenge our assumptions—and the value it brings.  

As the founder and CEO of Trend Hunter —the world’s largest, most powerful trend platform — Jeremy Gutsche is at the forefront of the cutting edge. A naturally curious, powerfully driven leader, his mission is finding better ideas, faster. In this pursuit, he invited Malcolm Gladwell to the Trend Hunter offices for an intriguing conversation on why we should investigate ideas, challenge our assumptions, and stay inquisitive about the world around us.


“I don't think of the study of ideas as trivial. I think of it as ideas are the software we use to kind of navigate everyday experience. Nothing could be more important than that,” says Gladwell, who recently released his new book Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know. In it, he examines how our understanding of people is often shaped by a set of rules or preconceived expectations, and how this unconscious bias can limit our potential to learn from them.


Responding to Gutsche’s question on how he fosters his own sense of curiosity, Gladwell admitted that he frequently challenges his own opinion: “A lot of  it is about exposing yourself to things that will potentially prove your preconceptions wrong,” he says.  “Nothing makes me happier than when I change my mind.”


Watch their full conversation below.


Malcolm Gladwell on his New Book, Talking to Strangers, The Future and Innovation

To book an Innovation speaker for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency today.

Why Does Having a Minimum Viable Product Matter? Laura Huang Explains the Benefits for Innovation

How can you maximize innovation, reduce risk, and build an entrepreneurial organization? Harvard Business Professor Laura Huang explains the importance of the Minimum Viable Product in achieving all three goals. 

Instead of creating the disparate parts of a product and then assembling them into its final form, creating a Minimum Viable Product or MVP means creating products with enough core features that they can be marketed to consumers at any stage.


Despite the fact that developing MVP’s involves taking plenty of risk, in the long-run it actually reduces it, because each iteration is an isolated product that has the potential to be a success. “The crux of an MVP is taking risk,” Laura Huang explains. “But each risk is something that is stand-alone and sustainable.”


MVP’s allow for more improvisation, and by extension, innovation. “You’re taking lots more chances and maximizing the innovation and impact that you can have.”


What’s a Minimum Viable Product—and Why Does It Matter? | Laura Huang


To book speaker Laura Huang for your next event, contact a sales representative at The Lavin Agency for more information.  

Randall Lane’s Forbes Under 30 Summit Asia Kicks off in Hong Kong

Over 300 of the most influential entrepreneurs will gather for the fourth annual Forbes Under 30 Summit Asia. Creator Randall Lane discusses the significance of the event, and the Under 30 platform as a whole.

Forbes 30 Under 30 is practically a cultural institution. Conceived in 2011 by the magazine’s Chief Content Officer Randall Lane, the Under 30 lists began as curated collections of industry leaders and entrepreneurs. Today, Forbes Under 30 has exploded into a vibrant global franchise, hosting live summits and events throughout the United States, Asia, Europe, and Israel. “The Forbes Under 30 Summit Asia will see these young leaders exchange stories, share ideas, and present innovative solutions as they drive and effect positive change to make a lasting impact on our world,” said Lane.


Lane started at Forbes after graduating college, but left to start his own entrepreneurial ventures in 1997. He returned to the magazine after 15 years, bringing with him the idea for 30 Under 30. “With Forbes, the first thing I did when I got back here, the first thing that I put into motion was 30 Under 30,” he explained in an interview with The Idea. “But I said, we’re going to do twenty different categories, we’re going to bring in some outside judges in the world so it’s not just a bunch of editors coming up with a list: it’s the creme de la creme, the gods of each of these fields, and then we’re going to take it global, so we’re going to have a real global community of influencers. So again, the idea had been kind of tested, but to tie it in with a brand, and then with a major execution, was really the Edison moment.”


Now a cross-platform, 365-day community, Forbes Under 30 is especially celebrated by younger audiences, who engage with it as almost a consumer product. “It’s popular in the younger demographic because everybody wants to keep tabs on who in their generation is making change and making things happen,” explained Lane. “[…] A lot of the interest is […] from people who want to know who’s next, and that’s what this list does, it’s the early warning system for every single field in every single major country.”


Themed “A Lasting Impact,” this year’s Summit in Asia will feature panels and keynotes across three main topics: Innovating for the Long Haul, Driving Sustainability, and Solving Today’s and Tomorrow’s Social Problems.


Visit our dedicated Innovation Speakers page, or contact The Lavin Agency for more information on how to book a speaker.

New Lavin Speaker Charles Fishman Explains What We Can Learn from Some of the Biggest, Most Innovative Projects in History

Charles Fishman is a world-class storyteller. He’s spent his career getting inside organizations—big and small, familiar and unknown—and explaining how they work. In his New York Times bestselling The Wal-Mart Effect, Fishman transformed the public’s understanding of the mega-corporation. In The Big Thirst, he cracked open our complex relationship with water. His latest, the forthcoming One Giant Leap tells the story of the moon landing like its never been told before, focusing on the extraordinary team of ordinary people who made it happen. 

Fishman—a three-time winner of the prestigious Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism—is a renowned investigative and explanatory journalist. His talks, filled with memorable stories and anecdotes, draw from years of his original research. In his TED talk below, he explains why asking questions is one of our most underrated tools.   


Cracking Open the World with a Silly Question | Charles Fishman | TEDxUCCS


To book Charles Fishman for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau. 


Top 10 Innovation Keynote Speakers

The world is changing—fast. Innovation and creativity are becoming the most valuable assets a company can hire for, encourage and cultivate. But how does innovation actually happen? What does it really look like in action? These innovation keynote speakers are professors, entrepreneurs, scientists; they’re working on the front lines of innovation, helping you to better understand—and manage—your future.   

Safi Bahcall is a physicist, entrepreneur, and innovation keynote speaker who’s spent his career studying “loonshots”: wild, innovative ideas, that are largely considered crazy—until they change the world. In talks, Bahcall uses illustrative historical examples and bold analysis to reveal the surprising ways that group behavior stifles innovation, and how corporations can restructure to nurture it.  


Innovation is a Group Effort | Safi Bahcall



“The winner with consumers will always be whoever has the best strategy for managing the cultural, ethical and political factors of their innovation,” says Markus Giesler—one of the 40 Best Business Professors Under 40, an incredibly influential consumer sociologist and a top innovation keynote speaker. 


The Secret to Bird Feeding | Markus Giesler | TEDxYorkU



Science and tech are changing our lives, and no one’s more equipped to tell the story than Nicholas Thompson. As editor-in-chief of WIRED, Thompson is the first person to know, and investigate, and deliver keynote talks on the technological innovations and ethical questions unfolding in Silicon Valley. 


The Wired Future | Nicholas Thompson



We tend to imagine innovation as slow, incremental change or else industry-shifting disruption. Yet for most companies, neither works. In innovation keynotes, MIT Sloan professor David Robertson outlines a third way of innovation—actual working strategies for world-class companies. 


Innovation Speaker David Robertson: LEGO’s Innovative Path to Success



Ari Wallach is a futurist, strategist, and social innovation expert. He is an innovation keynote speaker and the founder and Executive Director of Longpath Labs—an initiative focused on cultivating long-term ways of thinking, acting, and being to create futures of collective human flourishing. 


3 ways to plan for the (very) long term | Ari Wallach



Jeremy Gutsche is “an intellectual can of Red Bull” (Association Week), a New York Times bestselling author and one of our most booked innovation keynote speakers. With contagious enthusiasm, he shows audiences how to use methodical innovation to generate ideas and kickstart creativity in times of rapid change.   


#1 Innovation Keynote Speaker Jeremy Gutsche -- Speech on Innovation & Creativity



Michael Katchen is the founder of Wealthsimple, the easy-to-use service that’s redefined investing for the next generation. In keynotes, he talks about how embracing innovation as an organic, practical process allows companies to solve big problems, to reinvent themselves and, of course, to grow. 


Mike Katchen of Wealthsimple presents Think Bigger, Eh?



Disruptive technologies are permanently changing the way we conceive, design, manufacture, and sell products. To veteran innovator Tom Wujec—Autodesk’s former ‘Chief Disruptor’—this revolution isn’t intimidating, but an exciting opportunity. And Wujec’s keynote talks are the perfect guide.   


Tom Wujec: The Future of Design (2016 WORLD.MINDS Annual Symposium)



Nina Tandon works on growing artificial hearts and bones that can be put into the body, and studies the new frontier of biotech: homes, textiles, and videogames made of cells. Her keynote talks are on the future of healthcare and technology, and biology's new industrial revolution. 


TEDxBerlin - Nina Tandon -


Doug Stephens is one of the most influential retail futurists and speakers on the planet. His innovation keynotes are required listening for any company that orbits the retail world, explaining how to stay ahead of rapidly changing mega-trends, and what it really takes to be truly innovative.


Retail Speaker and Futurist Doug Stephens: Making Retail Less Predictable


To learn more about Lavin’s cutting edge innovation keynote speakers, contact us today.  

The Icons & Ideas Making the World WIRED: EIC Nicholas Thompson’s Summit Celebrates the Magazine’s Past, Present & Future

The four-day summit, named WIRED25, was a celebration of the ideas, innovations, and icons that made the world wired. In addition to work immersions, keynotes, and even a robot petting zoo, editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson, conducted thoughtful, illuminating interviews with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Stripe CEO Patrick Collison, and Stacy Brown-Philpot of TaskRabbit, about the future of work.

In the interview below, Thompson asks the LinkedIn CEO, who has access to the best data set on the world’s workforce, what he knows about the future of work that no one else does. One surprising answer (among many) is that he believes the biggest skills gap in the US is soft skills. “Written communication, oral communication, team building, people leadership, collaboration.”

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You can watch and read more WIRED25 content here


To book Nicholas Thompson—or another keynote speaker on technology, digital innovation and the future of work—for your next speaking event, contact The Lavin Agency today. 

Sneak Peak: David Robertson’s The Power of Little Ideas, from LEGO to Gatorade

The Power of Little Ideas: A Low-Risk, High Reward Approach to Innovation, Wharton professor David Robertson’s latest book after 2015’s Brick by Brick, goes even deeper into LEGO’s particular model of innovation. And this company wasn’t alone, according to the book’s new trailer. Brands like Gatorade, Disney, and Victoria’s Secret all used a similar tactic to refine their products.


As Robertson puts it: 

  • “Conventional wisdom today says that to survive, companies must move beyond incremental, sustaining innovation and invest in some form of radical innovation. ‘Disrupt yourself or be disrupted!’ is the relentless message company leaders hear. The Power of Little Ideas argues there’s a ‘third way’ that is neither sustaining nor disruptive. This low-risk, high-reward strategy is an approach to innovation that all company leaders should understand so that they recognize it when their competitors practice it, and apply it when it will give them a competitive advantage.”

  • legosss


The new Power of Little Ideas outlines the key elements of this distinctive approach. According to Robertson, it means creating a family of complementary innovations around a product or service, all of which work together to make that product more appealing and competitive (as per the video above). He outlines the organizational practices that unintentionally torpedo this approach to innovation in many companies and shows how organizations can overcome those challenges. Aimed at leaders seeking strategies for sustained innovation, and at the quickly growing numbers of managers involved with creating new products, The Power of Little Ideas promises a logical, organic, and enduring third way to innovate. 


To book innovation speaker David Robertson for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency today.

Maria Konnikova Links Procrastination to Creativity in Quartz

“You’re actually doing the smartest and most productive thing in the world if you waste time,” says author Maria Konnikova, as procrastinators everywhere breathe a collective sigh of relief. According to Konnikova, the best approach for a new creative assignment is to delay starting it for a while. In a recent Quartz article, the New Yorker psychology blogger and author of The Confidence Game weighs in on everyone’s favourite pastime—and shows how it’s actually more beneficial than we think.

Procrastination is helpful, says Konnikova, because it ensures you have perspective on your subject before you begin working. And at New York City’s 99U Conference, she made use of optical illusions to further this point. Those who took more time to assess the visual puzzles stood a better chance of seeing the hidden images.

So what’s the best way to procrastinate? Konnikova advises a purposeful long walk, free of any distractions—especially mobile devices. This downtime fuels fruitful, abstract thinking, and allows us to bring together previously unconnected ideas in novel ways. In fact, the well-documented connection between eliminating distraction and enhancing creativity is the subject of Konnikova’s brand-new keynote, “How to Be Bored.” The talk is a modern guide to recapturing your imagination, and will resonate with anyone overwhelmed by the growing presence of digital tech in our lives—that is to say, almost everyone.

To hear Maria Konnikova’s refreshing take on creativity and boredom, or to book other exciting innovation speakers like Scott Barry Kaufman or Welby Altidor, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau today.

First Look: Douglas Rushkoff’s New Book, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus

The digital economy is ruled by a host of intriguing concepts: big data, automation, algorithms, power law dynamics, the sharing and start-up economies. But are they actually designed for human prosperity? In other words, have technological advancements made life better for shareholders and the unemployed alike, or have they trapped and divided us in new ways? For media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, the answer’s clear: the digital economy is broken—but it’s all in the way we’re using it. In his much-anticipated book Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Rushkoff proposes a new way of seeing modern business, a new critical vocabulary, and a way to take advantage of the distributed, local, and sustainable alternatives inherent in the system. This book offers a full reboot of the status quo—and one that finally puts tech at the service of the people it’s supposed to serve.

Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably quoted Douglas Rushkoff (he invented the terms “viral media,” “social currency,” and “digital natives,” after all). A true pioneer in analyzing how new media and technology impact our lives, he’s the author of over a dozen books (and hundreds of columns), the host of multiple award-winning documentaries, a frequent guest on national television, and a distinguished instructor, academic, and advisor. His perspectives have a way of not only railing against received wisdom, but embedding themselves in the popular consciousness. Whether repudiating Facebook and other social medias, criticizing our constantly distracted lifestyles, foretelling the end of conventional employment, or musing on pop culture (he recently called zombie apocalypse narratives “dreams come true”), Rushkoff’s earned his place as one of our most insightful, playful, and challenging critics.

Now, in Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity, Rushkoff takes on the most widespread, systemic problems of the digital economy. Touching on everything from stock markets to tech bubbles, gig economy to the eurozone, and from Uber, AirBnb, Kickstarter to data mining, Throwing Rocks is the critical wake-up call we need to invigorate and remake an obsolete operating system. To Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media, the book “questions the deepest assumptions of the modern economy, and blazes a path towards a more human centered world.” And Joichi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab, calls it “essential reading to reflect on some of our fundamental assumptions and values before it’s too late.”

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus drops on March 1, 2016. For more information on this must-read release, here’s the description from Rushkoff’s website (and publisher, Penguin):

“The digital economy has gone wrong. Everybody knows it, but no one knows quite how to fix it, or even how to explain the problem. Workers lose to automation, investors lose to algorithms, musicians lose to power law dynamics, drivers lose to Uber, neighborhoods lose to Airbnb, and even tech developers lose their visions to the demands of the startup economy.

Douglas Rushkoff argues that it doesn’t have to be this way. This isn’t the fault of digital technology at all, but the way we are deploying it: instead of building the distributed digital economy these new networks could foster, we are doubling down on the industrial age mandate for growth above all. As Rushkoff shows, this is more the legacy of early corporatism and central currency than a feature of digital technology. In his words, ‘we are running a 21st century digital economy on a 13th Century printing-press era operating system.’

In Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Rushkoff shows how we went wrong, why we did it, and how we can reprogram the digital economy and our businesses from the inside out to promote sustainable prosperity for pretty much everyone. Rushkoff calls on business to:

• Accept that era of extractive growth is over. Rather, businesses must—like eBay and Kickstarter—give people the ability to exchange value and invest in one another.

• Eschew platform monopolies like Uber in favor of distributed, worker-owned co-ops, orchestrated through collective authentication systems like bitcoin and blockchains instead of top-down control.

• Resist the short-term, growth-addicted mindset of publicly traded markets, by delivering dividends instead of share price increases, or opting to stay private or buy back one’s own shares.

• Recognize contributions of land and labor as important as capital, and develop business ecosystems that work more like family companies, investing in the local economies on which they ultimately depend.

Rushkoff calls on us to reboot this obsolete economic operating system and use the unique distributive power of the internet to break free of the winner-take-all game defining business today.  A fundamentally optimistic book, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus culminates with a series of practical steps to remake the economic operating system from the inside out—and prosper along the way.”

To book media theorist and author Douglas Rushkoff as the keynote speaker of your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

Better and Faster by Jeremy Gutsche Has “Epic” Launch at SXSW

Innovation speaker Jeremy Gutsche launched his new book, Better and Faster: The Proven Path to Unstoppable Ideas, yesterday at SXSW Interactive. “The book launch was epic,” wrote Gutsche in an email to us yesterday afternoon. “1,000 people tweeting like mad, cheering extra loud. I gave about a hundred of them a high five before it even began!”

The book popped to #1 in Marketing, #1 in Research, and #1 in Education on Amazon yesterday; and the book trailer has been viewed nearly 1,400,000 times. A 30-minute preview of the Better and Faster keynote (embedded above) has 2,300,000 views, and the book has been featured in INC Magazine, CEO Read, and enRoute Magazine so far.

Here are some of the tweet's from yesterday's book launch keynote:

Jeremy Gutsche is “not just another speaker—he is an intellectual can of Red Bull” (Association Week). In his talks, he shows audiences how to use innovation to generate ideas and kick-start creativity. To book Jeremy Gutsche as a speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

Better and Faster: Innovation Speaker Jeremy Gutsche at SXSW Interactive

Innovation speaker Jeremy Gutsche presents his new book and keynote, Better and Faster: The Proven Path to Unstoppable Ideas, at SXSW Interactive tomorrow. The CEO of TrendHunter.com, the world's #1 trend-spotting site, Gutsche shows audiences how to use innovation to generate ideas and kick-start creativity. At SXSW, he'll dive into how interactive opportunities are created by large competitors such as Facebook or Google. He will share the top unexploited trends in 2015; how to spot overlooked trends and jump on opportunities faster than competitors; and six trend patterns that lead to dot com fortunes.

Check out the trailer, embedded above.

Jeremy Gutsche is one of the world's top innovation speakers and the author of Better and Faster and Exploiting Chaos. To book Jeremy Gutsche as the keynote speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

Tom Wujec: The Way Companies Produce Physical Objects is About to Change

Whether it’s a car, a shoe, a house, a chaise lounge, or any product, the concept known as RIP, MOD, FAB is going to change how companies make things, and how we consume them. In an accessible new talk, innovation speaker Tom Wujec takes us into this world, and highlights the opportunities. A perfect storm of cheap digital components, computation muscle, and better robots, he says, are disrupting the traditional avenues that we use to produce products. Wujec deconstructs how these design technologies are enacting this transformation; it's a brand new talk that must be heard by any firm producing a product.

Wujec gives us a taste of this big shift, and explains what RIP, MOD, FAB actually means.

From Tom:

RIP: Today’s sensors track location, temperature, movement, orientation, among other properties. Tomorrow’s sensors will add 3D recognition, tracking of human behaviour and what is normally invisible to human senses. The result: unprecedented accurate representation of our world, the things in it, and the people who live in it.

MOD: Infinite computing adds intelligence to digital models. A computer can represent not just the physical properties of, say a bicycle or airplane, but also how comfortable or emotionally captivating it will be. Using a new class of computational design called generative modelling, designers can evaluate hundreds, thousands and millions of potential options, identifying solutions simply beyond the capability of the unaided human imagination. The results are jaw-dropping elegant solutions, planes that use a small fraction of the material in today’s designs, seemingly produced by alien inventors.

FAB: Robotic fabrication is the future of making things. The next generation of robots combined with emerging materials and biological modelling can construct entities as small as viruses to as large as sky scrapers. 

Using examples from companies employing this approach today, Wujec shares how disruptive and democratizing this shift is. Industries will be upended, new business models will be produced, new skills will be required, but with that will come a new and exciting age in the world of design.

To book Tom Wujec for your next event, please contact The Lavin Agency.

Better and Faster: Jeremy Gutsche’s New Book and Keynote Coming Soon

Late last week, innovation speaker Jeremy Gutsche dropped by our Toronto office to hand-deliver advance copies of his new book Better and Faster: The Proven Path to Unstoppable Ideas (March 2015, Crown Business)—plus some Better and Faster pumpkin beer. Have we mentioned Jeremy is the best? Our President David Lavin was at the New York office, so Jeremy left some treats on David's desk for his bobblehead to enjoy:

We were lucky enough to have been invited to preview the new Better and Faster keynote, as well: check out some takeaways from the book and keynote in the video embedded above.

More information:

Better and Faster is the innovation book and idea keynote by Jeremy Gutsche, CEO of Trend Hunter. You will learn how to decide faster, realize your potential quicker, lead change management, adapt to chaos, and innovate faster. The innovation keynote and book research was performed over the last few years using Trend Hunter's all-time 100,000,000 visitors, 250,000 published ideas, and 350 top-tier innovator clients. The goal: to make you BETTER & FASTER!

To book Jeremy Gutsche to present his Better and Faster keynote at your next event, contact The Lavin Agency.

Learning through Failure: Cirque du Soleil’s Welby Altidor on Innovation

Welby Altidor, Executive Creative Director for Cirque du Soleil, recently sat down with the Globe and Mail to discuss learning, creativity, and innovation. In the video, which is embedded above, he spoke about the importance of failure as a necessary step in the learning process. “I think of my daughter and how she learned to walk, and that’s what she did most of the time: she failed,” he says. “I remember the first time we went on the ice rink—the first thing I showed her to do was to learn how to fall, so she could get that part out of the way and start to really learn. Failure is profoundly linked to the learning experience.” It's a process he embraces in his work at Cirque, and one that the whole company is constantly learning from.

Another method that is particularly useful for Cirque is out-of-the-box collaboration: bringing people together that might not otherwise every have the chance to work in partnership. “The future of innovation is about groups that sometimes don’t have connecting responsibilities,” says Altidor, “but come together to create something greater than what they could do on their own.”

This is especially evident in one of Altidor's newest projects: C:LAB, the creative laboratory of The Cirque du Soleil Group. The lab's first project is SPARKED, a beautiful and unusual short film that features 10 quadcopters and unites humans and flying machines in choreography.


More about the making of SPARKED:

In his talks, Altidor explains how a creative mindset can help businesses and organizations solve problems, challenge the status quo, and be more successful than ever. To book Welby Altidor as a speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency.

First Look: Work Smarter with Jeremy Gutsche’s New Book, Better and Faster

What do you do with data collected from a 100,000,000-person audience? If you're Jeremy Gutsche, innovation speaker and founder of Trendhunter.com, you leverage the power of all that data to study what actually causes opportunity. The result is a series of frameworks for finding better ideas faster: tested and perfected with several hundred brands and top executives at some of the most successful companies in the world. It's the subject of Gutsche's new, very highly anticipated book, which will be published by Crown Business in March 2015. Here's the publisher's description:

Better and Faster: The Proven Path to Unstoppable Ideas

What great ideas are you missing that are so close within your grasp? In our world of chaos and change, what are you overlooking? If you knew the answer, you’d be a better innovator, better manager, and better investor.

This book will make you BETTER by teaching you how to overcome 3 neurological traps that block successful people, like you, from realizing your full potential. Then, it will make you FASTER by teaching you 6 patterns of opportunity—Convergence, Divergence, Cyclicality, Redirection, Reduction and Acceleration. Each pattern you’ll learn is a repeatable shortcut that has created fortunes for ex-criminals, reclusive billionaires, disruptive CEOs and ordinary people who unexpectedly made it big. 

In an unparalleled study of 250,000 ideas, Jeremy and his TrendHunter.com team have leveraged their 100,000,000 person audience to study what actually causes opportunity: data-driven research that was never before possible.  The result is a series of frameworks battle-tested with several hundred brands, and top executives at some of the most successful companies in the world who rely on Jeremy to accelerate their hunt for ideas.

Now, for the first time, you can learn the same tactics to out-innovate, outsmart and outmaneuver your competitors. You will learn to see patterns and clues wherever you look that will put you on the smarter, easier path to finding those breakthrough ideas, faster.

Jeremy Gutsche is one of the world's top innovation speakers. To book Jeremy Gutsche for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency.

Trends, Hunted: Innovation Speaker Jeremy Gutsche Reveals 2014’s Top Trends

Innovation speaker Jeremy Gutsche has released his forecast for 2014's top trends. As the founder of Trendhunter.com, the largest trend hunting website in the world, Gutsche is plugged in to the latest in consumer behavior—and he channels that insight into his popular keynotes on marketing and innovation. Check out the video embedded above to preview some of the trends we're likely to see much more of this year, including:

Malleable Mania & Wearable Tech: Over the last few years, customization and apps have taken our focus, but now design is becoming more important and wearable. From flexible phones and wearable watches to augmented reality glasses, our interface with technology is changing.

Subscribed Social Good: Hunger-fighting food packages, global farmers’ markets subscriptions, and sustainable produce programs are making it easier than ever to embed social good into your daily routine.

Gamble Economics: It’s never been simpler to gamble on your next big idea. You can prototype your product with a low-cost 3D printer, quickly mock-up a website, crowd source your logo and crowdsource your funding.

In his talks, Jeremy Gutsche shows audiences how to awaken, hunt, and capture those immense opportunities that others might too easily dismiss. Drawing on 200 interviews with CEOs, data sets from Trendhunter, new case studies, and even his family’s personal journey of entrepreneurial daring, Gutsche challenges audiences to define their core values, and guides them toward a new outlook on innovation, disruption, and adaptation. To book Jeremy Gutsche as a keynote speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency.

Book Preview: In Quick and Nimble, Adam Bryant Learns from Leading CEOs

In Adam Bryant's new book, Quick and Nimble: Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation, more than two hundred CEOs reveal their candid insights on how to build and foster a corporate culture that encourages innovation and drives results. Bryant writes the weekly Corner Office column for The New York Times and is also the author of The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed.

Forthcoming in January, Quick and Nimble is already receiving positive press. Wharton professor Adam Grant named it one of the 12 business books to read in 2014, describing it as “enlightening and immensely practical.”

From the publisher:

In Quick and Nimble, Adam Bryant draws on interviews with more than two hundred CEOs to offer business leaders the wisdom and guidance to move an organization faster, to be quick and nimble, and to rekindle the whatever-it-takes collective spark of a start-up, all with the goal of innovating and thriving in a relentlessly challenging global economy. By analyzing the lessons that these leaders have shared in his regular “Corner Office” feature in The New York Times, Bryant has identified the biggest drivers of corporate culture, bringing them to life with real-world examples that reflect this hard-earned wisdom. These men and women—whose ranks include Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Angie Hicks of Angie’s List, Steve Case of Revolution (and formerly AOL), and Amy Gutmann of the University of Pennsylvania—offer useful insights and strategies for creating a corporate culture of innovation and building a high-performing organization that unleashes the passion and energy of its employees. As the world shifts to more of a knowledge economy, the winners will be companies that can attract and retain the best and brightest employees by creating an environment where they can grow, contribute, and feel rewarded. Through the wisdom of these leading chief executives, Quick and Nimble offers a keen understanding of the forces that shape corporate culture and a clear road map to bring success and energy to any organization.

In his keynotes, Bryant elaborates on the tricks of the trade he has uncovered through interviews with chief executives at companies such as Disney, LinkedIn, Dreamworks, and Ford. To book Adam Bryant as a speaker, contact The Lavin Agency.

LEGO Breaks The Rules Of Innovation—And Wins: David Robertson In TIME

Effectively fostering a culture of innovation within your organization is an enviable achievement. David Robertson, who was the conference speaker at Wharton’s William and Phyllis Mack Center recently, uses LEGO as a case study for how to implement an effective innovation strategy. TIME magazine shared key takeaways from the Brick by Brick author's keynote. First, Robertson spoke to how LEGO's initial attempts at innovation failed. He also shared the way the company recovered from that failure to become more successful than ever—and what other organizations can learn from their journey.

“Lego followed all the advice of the experts,” Robertson told the audience. “And yet it almost went bankrupt.” Though remaining stagnant certainly isn't a recipe for success, trying to take on too much can be just as detrimental. Less was certainly more in LEGO's case, as he explains in another of his keynotes. When they charged full-forced into unbridled innovative ventures, both the company—and the consumers—became confused by what the brand represented. As Robertson told us: “[Give your staff] the space to be creative with the governance to guide.” That's what LEGO did. The company now allows any level of employee to suggest ideas for new products so long as the innovation is consistent with the company's main goal: being recognized as the best company for family products.

Robertson concluded his “Learning from Failure in Innovation” seminar by stressing that innovation doesn't fall under a “one-size-fits-all” model. What works for one company won't necessarily work for your own. That's why it's important to manage your innovation instead of blindly following the advice of “innovation experts.” Innovation doesn't necessarily mean being disruptive and veering into completely uncharted territory. Rather, as LEGO learned, it's about staying true to your brand while making small tweaks to keep your products from becoming passé. Just as Robertson's book title suggests, the company tackles innovation brick by brick.

Robertson's keynotes act as a refreshing alternative to traditional talks on innovation. It's not always about being disruptive or chasing “the next big thing,” he shows. Using LEGO as a case study, he provides audiences with the do's and don'ts of innovation. To book a speaker like David Robertson for your next event, conference, or meeting, contact The Lavin Agency.

Learning from LEGO: New Innovation Speaker David Robertson

Innovation doesn't always have to be disruptive to be effective. In fact, as our new speaker David Robertson tells
The Lavin Agency, trying to push the limits too far, too fast, can be an outright disaster. Robertson, a Professor of Practice at the Wharton School, is the newest business expert to join our speakers bureau. He's also the author of Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry. In the bookhe explores the perils of “over-innovation” through the lens of LEGO, the iconic American toy brand. He provides an insider's look at how the company went from the brink of bankruptcy in 2003 to become the most profitable and fastest growing company in the toy industry today.

In 1999, Robertson recounts, LEGO hit a roadblock: People worried that toys like LEGO, Barbie, and Hot Wheels were becoming passé. To stay competitive in a market being overtaken by digital gadgets and video games, LEGO decided to deviate from what consumers expected of them. As Roberts divulged to Lavin, LEGO's foray into the theme park market was an “innovative” move that turned out to be high-risk and low-reward. They focused too much on the innovation itself and not enough on managing that innovation, he adds. Another miss was when the company released a line of toys that featured very little physical assembly. For anyone who has used LEGO products before, it's easy to see why consumers would be confused by the brand's dramatic change.

When talking to the keynote speaker about the shortcomings of LEGO's innovation strategy, he recalls a metaphor of a man strapping a jet engine to his car and trying—unsuccessfully—to steer the contraption around a sharp and unexpected curve. It's one thing to be innovative and keep customers on their toes. But if you try to innovative in markets that neither you—nor your customer—understands, you could end up going over the cliff. The important thing is that you provide both “the space [for staff] to be creative with the governance to guide,” he argues. Further, he says that building families of innovation, where you build on the products you already have instead of always trying to create something brand new, is another of LEGO's winning strategies. In a world obsessed with the “next big thing” and highly disruptive innovation, sometimes it pays to approach innovation from a “brick by brick” approach. Build from what you have, and ensure that you are laying the foundation to manage those innovations long-term. It certainly worked for LEGO.

Robertson is an ideal keynote speaker for conferences. His insights on innovation act as a refreshing counterpoint to speakers who focus on chasing the “next big thing,” as he can show your organization how to be innovative while still staying on brand. To book a speaker like David Robertson for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency.

Mastermind In The Making: Maria Konnikova On What Inspired Her New Book

As a young child, science speaker Maria Konnikova was a big fan of Sherlock Holmes. As she recounts in this podcast, her father would read her Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books every Sunday night while she was growing up. But it wasn't until she was much older—and working on a piece on mindfulness—that she realized the fictional detective books had more to offer than weekend entertainment. “I'd never read them in that light before,” Konnikova says, “I'd always read them as works of literature and I'd never read them as ways to explain the psychology of the human mind.”

Konnikova remembers having a flashback to one particular part of a Holmes story, where the sleuth asks Watson a question about the stairs outside of a building. Konnikova explains that Watson had no idea how many stairs were in front of that building, that it was an observation he hadn't thought to make. It was this idea of seeing versus observing, and being present versus absent that Konnikova found to be the perfect example of mindfulness. Holmes, she realized, had a lot to teach her about clearer thinking and deeper insights. That's when she started underscoring intriguing examples in Doyle's work and decided to compile them into her new book, Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes.

Studying Holmes has also taught her a lot about how to be more productive, she says. For example, she learned how beneficial it is to unplug from distractions and focus on one thing at a time. She has an app, she adds, that blocks the Internet at certain times on her computer. This allows her to really concentrate on what's happening in the moment and be increasingly mindful of her surroundings. Holmes was an expert at this. “While we would do well to remember that even Holmes wasn't born Holmes,” Konnikova says: his deductive thinking can be taught. In Mastermind, and her entertaining keynotes, Konnikova shows us how to unlock our inner Holmes to sharpen our creativity and solve the difficult problems we come across in our lives.

Innovative Products Aren’t Always ‘New’ Products: John Maeda On Design

“Study history,” innovation speaker John Maeda says in an interview after a recent keynote speech, “because there’s a lot of ‘new’ stuff in history to find again.” Maeda took part in Day 1 of the Design Indaba Conference, which focused on creativity and design strategies around the world, late last month. In his talk, and in the interview, Maeda discussed the way that old can become new again when it is reworked and re-imagined. “I think that there’s always something new compared to what exists because the world gets bored very quickly. So yes, it might be old but because people haven’t heard of it in recent years, it becomes new again,” he says. “So I’m not so down on ‘innovation’, because I’m not such a believer that everything is new. Everything is ‘new’ at the right time.”

Part of what breathes life into 'old' inventions or concepts is the merging together of different disciplines. It's about differentiating your product not just by making something that meets people's needs, but that also satisfies them on an aesthetic level. For example, he says that companies like Apple were successful because they not only made an MP3 player that worked well, but made one with a unique look and feel that made it appealing to consumers. You have to add Art and Design to traditional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)-based work in order to stand out.

This idea of transforming STEM into STEAM (adding the Arts) is important not just in the design process and the business world, but in education as well. That's why Maeda helped launch the Congressional STEAM Caucus to push the importance of arts education onto the government's agenda. Education should be integrative based, Maeda, currently the President of Rhode Island School of Design, has said. When you incorporate both sides of your brain in any given task, you open yourself up to a more innovative approach. This then translates into the professional world—breeding leaders that drive their organizations to success and in turn, boost the economy. In his talks and his lectures, Maeda champions the role of artists and designers in the creative economy. One of Esquire's 75 most influential people of the 21st century, Maeda presents a refreshing look at the business world and the creative world—and how the two fields are intrinsically intertwined.

Innovation Speaker John Maeda Says Art Can Help The Economy [VIDEO]

“Why does STEAM policy matter?” asks innovation speaker John Maeda of his quest to turn the current curriculem of STEM courses (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) into STEAM courses (the A representing the addition of arts). The answer is simple. “It is how America will reign competitive and remain the leader in the 21st century.” In a recent panel presentation, the President of Rhode Island School of Design explained that innovation is the key component to kick-starting our economy and becoming more competitive in the global market. To do that, “we need to inject art into this innovation dialogue to help us remain competitive,” he says. When you add art courses into a school's curriculum, it produces students who have broad and innovative ways of thinking—something that is desperately needed in the workforce today.

As Maeda explains, the incorporation of the arts expands the way that students think as well as the way that they learn. Thanks to his efforts, the Congressional STEAM Caucus has recently been launched—making this new way of learning a government priority. Incorporating arts and design into these core learning strategies will help shape the innovators of the future and sculpt better and more effective leaders. Having experience as an artist, designer, and educator, Maeda has seen the potential that a more interdisciplinary learning environment can have firsthand. In his keynotes, he promotes the exciting and important ways that people are rethinking the use of art and design—and what we all stand to gain from that changing mindset.

The Boomer Revolution: Jeremy Gutsche Gets Into Their Heads In A New Doc

Innovation speaker Jeremy Gutsche wants you to understand the mindset of the baby boomer. Considering there were 8.2 million babies born during the baby boom, and these people now account for 2/3 of consumer spending—it's probably in your best interest to get inside their heads. In a new documentary from Dreamfilm Productions, Gutsche tells you all you need to know about those born between 1946 and 1965: a cohort who make up one third of the population in Canada and are the largest and wealthiest generation in human history. Titled The Boomer Revolution, the documentary will air on CBC's Doc Zone on Feb. 28. The film is directed, written, and produced by the award-winning broadcast journalist Sue Ridout (check out the trailer, above).

This is a subject Gutsche—founder of the massive trend spotting website Trendhunter.com—has also tackled in his talks. Many of his keynotes and workshops have focused on generational concerns and have helped the banking, government, and healthcare industries better understand their predominantly boomer-aged workforce. Not only that, but he is able to help boomers better understand the millennials—a cohort who will soon (if they aren't already) be sharing a workspace with them. His insights help companies make the best use of the talent they have in this demographic to cultivate more sustainable cultures of innovation in their industries. Further, he can help companies learn what makes these people tick so they can appeal to that demographic more effectively in their marketing and product development. The baby boomers were a demographic that changed the world—and understanding their influence is vital to staying competitive in the market today.

(Photo courtesty of: Dreamfilm Productions)

James Fallows: Why Silicon Valley Shouldn’t Worry About China

China is turning into a stiff competitor in the international market. However, The Atlantic's James Fallows says that Silicon Valley still stands to hold its edge as a world leader in innovation. As the keynote speaker at the 2013 State of the Valley Conference, Fallows applied his expertise on the Chinese market to discuss how America will compete as China rises in international influence. While conditions may be improving overseas, Fallows says that political conditions in China will hinder its ability to provide any genuine innovation. “You’re not going to have your own Google, your own Apple, your own Intel if your government is hyper paranoid about closing up all sorts of information flow,” Fallows tells the Peninsula Press in a pre-keynote interview.

Rather than worrying about China, he argues that Americans should be turning the magnifying glass on what's happening here, instead. “Silicon Valley, like America as a whole, has more to fear from its own failures and blind spots than anything the Chinese can do,” he argues. The strength of Silicon Valley, he explains, lies in its “strong universities, venture capital activity, and the United States’ infrastructure and public policy.” However, the public and private sectors need to get on the same page about how to address the internal issues that threaten to dismantle the Valley's success. And that, he says, has nothing to do with China.

Fallows has spent decades writing on the economic and political climate of China—even living in the country for an extended period of time. Reporting about China since 2006, Fallows recently released a book, China Airborne, on its booming airline industry. As The Atlantic's National Correspondent explains in his talks, we have a lot to learn about China's advancements—but we shouldn't shudder in fear about its breakneck growth. A well-respected reporter, Fallows unpacks some of the most misunderstood notions about the nation and explains how we can better understand these massive changes. Not only that, but he shares strategies for better improving our industry here at home to ensure we stay competitive in a rapidly changing world.

Creating A Cultural Connection: Jeremy Gutsche at Parallels Summit 2013

What are you trying to do with your company? It may sound like an easy question, but as innovation speaker Jeremy Gutsche told the audience at the Parallels Summit 2013, understanding your company's goals are key components to drafting an effective strategy. “Why should I choose you versus any of the other competitive vendors in the room?” he asked. Part of that decision, he says, relies on whether you've made a cultural connection with your consumer. You need to focus your strategy on understanding what your customer wants—and finding a unique way to deliver it to them. When you create an innovative company that is totally in tune with their clientele, Gutsche says that you can create a culture of obsession where your clients will advertise for you through word of mouth, and continue to give you their loyalty.

On stage, Gutsche presents audiences with a dynamic presentation geared toward creating a culture of innovation within any organization. At the Parallels conference, Gutsche spoke about finding a game-changing product—and being able to adapt it to a changing market. Complacency will be your downfall, and you must be willing to produce a product that is both innovative and adaptable. Further, your product should tell a story that engages your clients and makes it impossible for them to choose your competitors. You shouldn't look at the process as simply selling a product. You should try and produce something—whether a product, an experience, or both—that your customer will connect with.

As the winner of The Cisco Innovation Excellence Award, it's no wonder that Gutsche's advice has become highly regarded and internationally renowned. The founder of Trendhunter.com, he has created his own culture of innovation at the largest trend spotting website on the planet. In this talk, and his other top requested keynotes, his energy is infectious. He doesn't simply stand at a podium and deliever his talking points. Instead, he engages the audience and creates a connection with everyone in the room—fitting, of course, considering his subject matter,

Transparent Advertising & Open Concept Offices: Jeremy Gutsche On BNN

While you may not think too deeply about the layout of your office building, innovation speaker Jeremy Gutsche explains that the design of your office is actually “an element of branding” for your company. Constantly on the lookout for the next cutting-edge developments in every industry, Gutsche recently spoke about the rise of “imposed interaction” in the workplace. This increasingly popular open concept business environment encourages workers to interact with coworkers in different departments of a company. Companies like Google, Facebook, National Bank, Pixar, Inventionland and Oakley have incorporated this trend in varying degrees into their corporate strategies. Instead of segregating employees, these companies are encouraging company-wide interaction to improve morale and boost innovation within the business.

To further expand on this concept of openness in business, Gutsche recently appeared on BNN's Business Day PM to discuss the use of transparency in branding. McDonald's, for example, unveiled a marketing campaign where they encouraged the public to ask them questions about their manufacturing process. Every question (aside from those with profanity contained in them) would be publicly answered to make the company more open and authentic to the public. As Gutsche adds, this is the biggest asset that social media provides—the ability for companies to connect with their customers in an open and meaningful way.

As the founder of Trendhunter.com, the largest trend hunting website in the world, Gutsche is plugged in to the latest in consumer behavior. In his wildly popular keynotes on innovation, he combines the crowd-sourced information he gathers on his site with research from his book Exploiting Chaos to help companies get ahead in these uncertain economic times. Insightful and practical, his talks cut through the noise and help audiences master the skills they need to become more innovative in the marketplace.

Visualize The Future: Tom Wujec Live Illustrates The Bloomberg Conference

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but imagine transforming thousands of words into meaningful pictures. That's what Tom Wujec, an innovation speaker and Fellow at Autodesk, did for the Bloomberg Businessweek Design Conference. As each speaker presented their ideas, Wujec furiously translated their thoughts into images. He completed each sketch in real-time and at the end of the conference, had created a collection of 44 visual transcriptions of the event. (Check them out here.) These visual translations crystallize each speaker's key takeaways in a style that is quicker and easier to digest than plain text.

Wujec has done many of these visual recordings at Autodesk (an Oscar-winning leader in 3D computer animation and one of the largest software companies in the world). In his keynotes, he teaches his audiences the power of images to convey complex ideas. Visual clarity doesn't just apply to presentations and note-taking, however. Wujec encourages his clients to “visualize their business” so they can “see” their company and their employees with a fresh perspective. Wujec gave one of these presentations at Lavin, where he helped us to map out the story of our agency (and our future goals) using dynamic and memorable visuals. As Wujec showed us, thinking and communicating with images is a powerful tool for fostering innovation and taking your business to new heights. His interactive presentations help companies in any industry see their strategy in a new way that will help them get a leg up on their competition.

Image: Tom Wujec For Bloomberg Businessweek

BNN Headline: Jeremy Gutsche Predicts The Top Marketing Trends For 2013

In a recent discussion on BNN Headline, innovation speaker Jeremy Gutsche gave a wrap-up of the most promising trends in marketing from 2012—and weighs in on what he thinks will be big in the year to come.  As the founder of Trendhunter.com, one of the world's largest trend spotting websites, Gutsche is constantly evaluating the most popular innovations. He then uses the crowd-sourced data he acquires from his site to predict what will be big in the future. One of the most important changes in marketing, according to Gutsche, is that brands are realizing that they are more than just a company. In a new digital age, he argues that brands are media.

He says that engaging the customer is becoming increasingly more important in marketing and a brand has to go beyond simply presenting the product to their clientelle. “One of the biggest trends in adverstising is a real push toward conversational media,” he explains, “and actually finding ways for brands to engage with the actual audience through content.” It then becomes a two-way value exchange, the Exploiting Chaos author explains in the interview. Rather than being presented with an ad asking the customer to buy a product, brands need to reach out and create real relationships with their customers by offering value in exchange for brand loyalty. Whether on television, his website, or on stage, Gutsche is one of today's most trusted guides for finding the next big thing.

Innovation Speaker Jeremy Gutsche Unveils The Biggest Trends For 2013

The people who win in their industries don't settle for knowing what's big now—they predict, and act on, what's going to be big tomorrow. That's exactly what innovation speaker Jeremy Gutsche does with Trendhunter.com and what he tells others to do in his standing-room only keynotes. His popular and authoritative crowd-sourced website compiles a collection of the biggest trends in every industry. Gutsche and his team then use that data to predict wider trends and forecast the next big thing (check out what Trendhunter.com sees as the biggest trends to watch for in 2013 in the video above). In these Trend Reports—this one, in particular, covers the biggest trends across the board for the upcoming year, while others specifically target a certain industry—Gutsche helps companies see beyond the present and think outside the box. The next game-changing idea is an elusive and highly valuable commodity, and the Chief Trend Hunter and author of Exploiting Chaos provides clients with the insight needed to stay one step ahead and find that “thing” before their competitors do.

The video covers literally every industry, from food and fashion to architecture and technology, and provides a glimpse into what is starting to make waves now—and has the potential to explode and become a smash hit in 2013. Based on information that is provided from Trend Hunters around the world, companies get to see first-hand what is gaining headway with their clientele in these trend forecast videos. Once described as “an intellectual can of Red Bull” by Association Week, Gutsche's energy and creative insight is tremendous. On his site, in his book, and in his highly requested innovation keynotes, he pushes the envelope and inspires others to see beyond the now.

Trend Setting: RW&Co. Features Innovation Speaker Jeremy Gutsche In Their Fall Campaign

When RW&Co. was looking for a face to represent their newest fall fashion trends, innovation speaker Jeremy Gutsche was an obvious choice. The entrepreneur has dedicated his career to seeking out the next big thing with his online trend-spotting magazine Trendhunter.com (which recently just surpassed one billion, yes, billion, views) and he has spoken to some of the world's biggest companies—providing cutting-edge ideas on innovation and breaking the mold. 

Aptly named  “Perform at Your Best,” the campaign features the keynote speaker and bestselling author of Exploiting Chaos dressed in what he dubs his “classic and casual 'entrepreneur' style.” The campaign also features a short interview where Gutsche describes his personal style mantra and describes a typical day in the life of a jet-setting Trend Hunter.

“Your style is a reflection of your personal brand,” he says in the interview. While you won't often find him dressed in a three-piece suit on a regular day (except on keynote presentation days where he sports a suit jacket), his personal wardrobe staple is a “pair of eclectic sneakers.”  Having a pair of comfortable shoes is essential for a man who is never in one place for very long, and has to be ready for anything from “a business meeting with a billionaire, a flash mob, or a keynote performance in front of 8,000 people,” he says. It's that willingness to jump at every opportunity that has been a key factor in Gutsche's success. 

“There's no word more enrapturing than ambition,” he says.  With a best-selling book, an authoritative website, and a bustling speaking career under his belt—that ambition has certainly paid off.

Spark: Innovation Speakers — Tom Wujec’s Marshmallow Challenge [VIDEO]

Innovation speaker Tom Wujec encourages Fortune 100 companies to play with their food. Why? Because “The Marshmallow Challenge” (where teams compete to build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, tape, string and a single marshmallow) teaches simple, yet powerful, lessons on collaboration, creativity and generating fresh ideas.

While stringing together a tower of edibles may not seem like a valuable team building exercise at first, the fun and fast-paced nature of the project forces participants to be inventive and think on their feet. The team is involved in the entire design process, from concept to completion, and it provides an opportunity to tackle a project in a new and challenging way. The takeaways? That flexibility, the ability to change plans on the fly, and an overarching emphasis on the team over the individual delivers the best results. Wujec has used this simple design exercise to help numerous companies reevaluate how they tackle new projects and create the next big thing.

As a frequent TED speaker, Autodesk Fellow and influential writer, Wujec has shared valuable insights with a wide variety of clients across the globe. His lessons on thinking outside of the box apply to all industries, from gaming and visual effects companies to consumer product and automotive manufacturers. In his popular books, such as Imagine Design Create and Return on Imagination, and in his forward-thinking presentations, Wujec provides practical principles that keep companies on the cutting edge.

Tom Wujec’s “Marshmallow Challenge” Innovation Workshop

Tom Wujec is one of the world's leading innovation and visualization speakers, offering interactive innovation workshops to help companies streamline the way they do business and foster innovation. One of his most unorthodox, yet equally effective, workshops is the “Marshmallow Challenge”—a simple team exercise in amateur architecture that ends up teaching us the true value of teamwork. experiment sounds simple enough: teams try to build the tallest freestanding structure they can out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, 1 yard of tape, 1 yard of string and a marshmallow. What makes it difficult, though, is the need for teams to organize, prototype and finally build the structure in the short time frame. The results are astounding—children tend to outperform MBA students, due to their ability to redesign on the fly rather than plan a rigid structure and execute, even if the structure is doomed for failure.

The “Marshmallow Challenge” is a unique and fun way to teach audiences about teamwork firsthand. By comparing the different structures that each group produces, Wujec illustrates the impact of teamwork, visual planning, and organization. What approaches have worked in the past? What are the pitfalls that have plagued unsuccessful attempts? And, how can we apply this to modern business? Most importantly, however, audiences leave with a refreshing new take on the meaning of teamwork, as this recent client testimonial shows:

Many people made a point of telling me how terrific you are and that they are planning on using the challenge or the approach your described or both with their staffs.  Since we are beginning our new fiscal year, the timing is perfect for people to rethink the approach to the challenges of their business.

A Dream and a Laptop: KIVA’s Jessica Jackley Stars in a New TV Commercial

“It’s hard to believe that it started with just a dream and a laptop,” Jessica Jackley says in a ubiquitous new Best Buy television commercial. A Lavin speaker, Jackley is the co-founder of KIVA, the world’s first microlending platform—where anybody can lend money to developing world entrepreneurs for as little as $25. In a nice touch, the commercial features Jackley’s father, David, holding up the laptop computer he gave to Jessica when she left for college. (As a side note, Jessica—who is the recipient of this year’s Symons Innovator Award—initially earned a BA in philosophy and political science; only later did she attend Stanford Graduate School in Business to earn her MBA, specifically to help her start and grow KIVA).

It’s fitting that the incredibly upbeat Jessica Jackley, who has spoken at TED Global, would be featured in a TV ad for laptop computers: KIVA focuses on human connections as enabled by new social technologies. The site sends millions of dollars in microloans to developing world countries every year, helping countless people grow their businesses and boost their local economies. As David Jackley says, “It’s incredible to have someone tell you that your child has had such a major effect on their lives.” We couldn’t agree more.

Fast Company Names Kiva’s Jessica Jackley an “Extraordinary Woman”

Innovators, leaders, philanthropists, and artists—all grace Fast Company's A-Z rundown of 60 women bettering the world for girls and women. Lavin's own Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva, is on the “League of Extraordinary Women” list alongside women like Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and Melinda Gates.

On Jackley and Kiva, from Fast Company:

The Kiva microfinance system is well suited for women—who produce half the world’s food, yet earn just 10 percent of the world’s income—in part because women have proven they will reinvest in their families and their children’s education. Eighty percent of Kiva’s borrowers are women entrepreneurs (that amounts to $256 million in loans for women), who hail from more than 60 countries.

Jessica Jackley champions women, microfinance, tech, and the arts. These critical streams all flow into her captivating speeches, which discuss timely issues around the economy, women's empowerment, and the web. Most importantly, Jackley always remembers to highlight what's at the heart of social entrepreneurship—that relationships and our belief in each others' potential are ultimately the most powerful forces for positive change.

Jeremy Gutsche: Inside Trendhunter’s Innovative Work Culture

Though innovation speaker Jeremy Gutsche runs the #1 trendspotting site in the world—it’s called Trendhunter.com, and it boasts over a billion hits—his meteoric rise started from the same kernels that all entrepreneurs begin with: an idea and a dream. In a new behind-the-scenes video, we’re given a glimpse into Gutsche’s background, as well as the unique work environment that he has cultivated at Trendhunter.

Jeremy Gutsche's approach to corporate culture has, from the beginning, focussed on creativity, energy, and—most of all—a sense of fun. His Trendhunter Academy program provides internships to young, entrepreneurial professionals looking to gain experience and begin their careers. Unlike at other workplaces, where interns perform mundane tasks, Gutsche throws his interns into the fire, allowing them creative reign over their work and putting them at the forefront of Trendhunter's daily operations.

Here's Jeremy Gutsche, talking about what differentiates his internship program:

“It's very important to make the experience something that's very rewarding. We have weekly beer parties, monthly fun days that include everything from dining in the dark to jet-boating and just in general a culture where we're trying to celebrate the people that are here, and recognize the place that we play in their careers, kick-starting their way into the world.”

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” Gutsche is fond of saying, and at Trendhunter he is putting this theory to the test. In a world of increased competition, intensified customer demands, and shifting employee demographics, a culture of innovation is more important than ever. As one of Lavin's most in-demand speakers, Jeremy Gutsche provides practical ideas that inspire companies to make their cultures revolutionary.

Sketching Big Ideas: Tom Wujec on Visual Note-Taking

Tom Wujec doesn't just write, consult, and speak on the power of visualization—he actually practices what he preaches. In this video from the TED Blog, Wujec talks about how he uses visual note-taking—using diagrams, sketches and drawings instead of straight text—to help absorb and make sense of the wealth of information presented at the annual TED Conference.

Wujec explains how visualizing the big ideas helps to synthesize information and jog memory. The process of visual note-taking also plays a large role in its effectiveness. By producing the notes in multiple steps, first by sketching during the presentation, and then by adding colors and additional diagrams to the notes the next day, your brain is given two opportunities to cement the information.

In addition to speaking on visualization, Wujec, a Toronto-based innovation expert, also runs workshops in which he produces these visual notes, on the fly, in interactive workshops. With these customized workshops, Wujec has found that companies leave with a better understanding of their own work flow. They suddenly see new potential opportunities and new ways to streamline their processes. (In fact, members of The Lavin Agency recently visited Wujec at his office and ran through one of his workshops with him; it really is an eye-opening interactive process—and quite fun!) By utilizing visualization techniques, Wujec can help organizations of any size and industry re-think the way they do business, and ultimately improve their bottom line.

Read more about innovation speaker Tom Wujec

John Maeda: Art + Science = Innovation

We stumbled upon some of John Maeda’s classic design work today, over at Fast Company. One of the world’s most famous designers, and ever prescient, John’s been preaching some form of “design thinking” for many years now. As a keynote speaker, and as President of the Rhode Island School of Design, he talks about a subject close to his heart: the crucial role of the arts in education. Our current educational system, in its quest to produce tomorrow’s innovators and leaders, has narrowed its focus to four core subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The so-called STEM subjects. John makes a powerful case for making the Arts just as prominent. Innovation happens, he says, when art meets science and technology. If we’re to stay competitive today, tomorrow, and fifty years from now, we’ll need to turn STEM into STEAM.