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Nick Jankel

Thought leader, leadership futurist, transformation catalyst and award-winning author

Nick Jankel Biography

Nick is a highly sought-after international keynote speaker who inspires audiences across the globe to forge the future by unlocking the power of transformation.

Nick helps the smartest leaders understand the importance of empathy, emotional intelligence, insightful creativity, interpersonal trust, powerful communication and genuine wisdom. Nick makes his case by harnessing the very latest neuroscience which he painstakingly translates into graspable and practical tools which inspire, influence and win over even the most resistant participants.

Nick made his name as the innovation guru behind the global launch of Xbox and the development of the most successful TV show of all time (BBC’s Dancing with Stars). He set up his first creative agency aged 24, which he grew to 50 staff working with leading companies like Microsoft, Disney, Tesco and Shell on projects key to their future. His academic paper on disruptive innovation is in the top 1% of citations.

Age 30, Nick experienced entrepreneurial burnout and, during time taken off to reflect and recover, he turned towards purpose-driven work with a commitment to mastering leadership through emotional self-awareness and self-transformation. Originally a medic, he studies the very latest neuroscience of emotions and translates academic complexities into powerful and practical tools that leaders use to create the right conditions for high-performing, emotionally-intelligent, resilient, effective, innovative and collaborative teams – capabilities which depend on activating different brain networks to those that fire with conventional rational thought.

A master at multi-stakeholder facilitation and process design, Nick’s business Switch On supports large and complex “for purpose” organizations to adapt, evolve and transform to deliver on their ambitions. Nick has worked with the Local Government Association on leadership development, NHS Leaders on transformation, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on scaling social enterprise, Oxfam on their policy innovation lab and both The Young Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation on public innovation.

A prolific writer and thought leader, Nick is the author of a number of influential papers on systemic social and environmental change as well as personal and organizational transformation. Nick hosted his own BBC TV show, has been featured in the FT, The Times and The Sunday Times and obtained a Triple 1st Class degree—summa cum laude—in Medicine & Philosophy of Science from Cambridge University. He has lectured at Oxford, Yale and LBS.

Nick Jankel Videos

Testimonials for Nick Jankel

“Great talk at ASDA house today, very thought provoking, timely and inspirational. Now reflecting and having a think about how I can get out of my box! It’s a long time since a speech held my attention for the full duration – awesome!”

Senior Manager


“Nick Jankel uses his unique voice and powerful insights to inspire wonder. As an innovation & leadership guru, his ideas are as relevant to the newest startup as they are to the oldest public company.”

Former Director

White House Office of Innovation Special Advisor to President Obama

“Thank you so much for your fantastic presentation last week at our event in Athens, it was amazing. The delegates loved it. It was a total pleasure working with you and I hope you enjoyed it too.”

General Manager

European Regions Airline Association (ERA)

“I am still under the inspiration of your speech on Breakthrough. It was brilliant.”

Pascal Parant, VP, AARP

“A superb talk. It has started us on the journey of cultural change.”


“Extraordinary creativity and thought leadership in all things to do with innovation.”

Chief Marketing Officer


“I have received very supportive and positive feedback (lots of ‘what’s next’s) and personally found your session to be very relatable and inspiring.”

HR Director

The Collective

had. Nick is hugely well informed and provides amazing insight in a simple, elegant and engaging style that everyone who attended the event hugely enjoyed. I consider Nick a genuine thought leader in his field.”

Chief Executive

Scottish Institute for Enterprise

“Inspired us to continue to work on ourselves as leaders and lead the change. The value of the tool was spot on! Thank you!”

“Your keynote was brilliant, the best explanation of the 3 key threat areas to traditional commerce, with a brilliantly simple suggestion with the potential for huge impact, many thanks.”

Senior Vice President


“Thank you so much for your fantastic presentation. The delegates loved it. It was a total pleasure working with you.”

General Manager

European Regions Airline Association

“Nick Jankel goes deeper and clearly made an impact on me and on others. Looking forward to seeing the seeds grow in my mind, heart and my organization.” Executive Vice-President


“You’ll never discover new lands unless you can leave sight of the shore. Nick acts as both a compass and a Gale Force 9 wind!”

Chief Marketing Officer

Tesco PLC

“Would like to thank you again for your inspiring keynote. We just finished the 3 days and I received a lot of positive feedback. Thank you for sharing your insights. You inspired us to continue to work on ourself and leading the way. Also the value of the story was spot on! Thank you!”

Angelique de Vries


“A compelling session with very useful thoughts I am applying.”  “

“A pronounced and profound impact. Exceptional.”



“The synthesis of biomedical research with business case studies was certainly compelling and called to mind the more inspirational classes from my time at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Thank you again for a stimulating hour and lots of food for thought.”

General Counsel, LGC

“Excellent keynote, very thought provoking and exactly what we wanted.”

Direct Line Group

“Very relevant to LEGO’s values and purpose and highlighted the importance of creativity within the working environment.”


“An amazing experience. Very, very good feedback from our leaders.”


“Nick engaged with a diverse and large audience using a range of multimedia techniques. He was engaging, humorous and also strategic in his approach. As a result, the audience was enthused and went away with a strong commitment to delivering new collaborative approaches. I would recommend Nick most strongly.”

Director of Strategy

Department for Business Innovation & Skills

“Huge Impact!  Outstanding framework and powerful tools.”


Kellogg's North America

“Very much enjoyed your speech. Superb insights which kept my brain whirring for the rest of the evening.”

Managing Director

Airbus UK

“Inspiring and enlightening!” 


“A uniquely inspiring experience with clear insights for leading transformation.”


Ministry of Defence

Nick Jankel‘s Topics

The New Masculinity

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Diversity In Technology & Innovation

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Collaborate Leadership & Co-Creation

Collaboration can deliver more with less but usually ends up in a fiasco. Nick shows leaders how to build collaborative, cross-functional teams that deliver ambitious projects whilst avoiding conflict. Nick shares how to create the right conditions for collaboration so people contribute and share freely with trust and common purpose.

Accelerating Culture-Change

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Conscious Leadership & Conscious Innovation

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The Future Of Cities, Health & Education

The triple threat of digital technologies disrupted cultures and increasingly stressed systems are opening up opportunities for transformation in our cities, healthcare and education – with smart, scalable and sustainable solutions. But transformation is being blocked by old thinking and mindsets. Nick shows what is possible to forge the future of cities / health / education.

Take Charge of Change: Transformational Leadership In The VUCA World

Rapid change, uncertainty and complexity is driving Industrial-Age companies to fail. What got them here will not get them there. Nick explains how leaders can master themselves so they can turn constant change outside into exponential value, transforming processes, products and people at will.

Break Through Complexity

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Blast Through The Barriers To Innovation

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Agility, Adaptability & “Transformational Teams”

Rapid change demands we must all be more agile with our ideas and behaviours. But fear, friction, groupthink and entrenched habits get in the way. Nick explains how leaders can create the conditions for agility, adaptability and pace.

Creative Leadership & Transformation

Changes in the outside world threaten every organisation with irrelevance. Nick shows leaders how to create value out of change through safe, controlled and conscious organisational ‘self-disruption’. Nick shows how to unleash the creative potential of people and prevent the organisational ‘immune system’ from crushing ideas and individuals before transformations are landed.

Leading in VUCA & Radical Agility

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The Future Of Business

Digital age tech and the 4th Industrial Revolution are opening up limitless opportunities for exponential value creation. But Industrial-Age thinking about what business is and how it is done is holding companies back.

The Future of Work

Attracting and retaining the most transformational talent is getting harder. AI and automation threaten to replace 50% of us in the decade. Rampant stress is reducing creativity and empowerment. Nick shows what is possible with the workplace and workforce of the future.

Digital Transformation & “The Create & Control Organisation”

Digital age technologies and the 4th Industrial Revolution are forcing all organisations to transform inside and embrace distributed creativity and flatter leadership. Yet over 65% of all change programs fail. Nick explains how to master change and leverage emotions, mindsets and behaviour to land digital transformation.

The 4th Industrial Revolution

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Business & Brand Storytelling

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Untangle Uncertainty

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Accelerate Agility & Adaptation

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Forging The Future of a Digital, Disrupted & Damaged World

The future exists in the present – as long as we know how to spot it and leverage it. Nick shows audiences how to use futuring tools to find where value lies in the future, so we can lead transformations in our systems that deliver exponential value in the present.

Inspirational Leadership & Empowering Teams

Inspired employees are 125% more productive than satisfied ones. Nick explains how leaders can use purpose, empowerment, emotive communication, self-mastery and storytelling to inspire others to change, create and collaborate.

Resilience & Self-Mastery

Employee overwhelm and stress is crushing the potential of even the greatest companies to do Business-As-Usual let alone be agile, adaptable and creative. Nick explains how employees can mastery their own biology, time, energy and performance and so build deep resilience which minimizes stress and overwhelm permanently.

The Future Of Leadership

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Creative Leadership & Innovation Cultures

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Purposeful Leadership & Business Purpose

How to unleash the creative engines of enterprise with business purpose and leadership to maximize impact and value; why purpose is so powerful and so welcomed by customers and employees; and how to define different forms of purpose.

Influencing & Ethical Persuasion

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The Future of Health

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The Future of AI & Machine Learning

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Glimpse the Future Today

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Lead The Transformation Today

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Leading In Uncertainty & Complexity

The world is becoming fundamentally uncertain and frighteningly complex. This lack of knowability hurts our brains in the same place as physical pain. Nick explains how to transcend our wiring to lead powerfully in our bewildering times.

Resilience for Leaders and Teams
Influential Leadership, Persuasion & Storytelling

Matrix organizations and complex markets mean that leaders must know how to grab attention and ensure alignment without recourse to command and control. Nick explains how to ethically use persuasion and storytelling to influence people, whether customers or employees, painting pictures of possibility that inspire hearts, elevate minds and invite immediate action.

The Seven Secrets of Leadership Resilience

The Essential For Resilience: Recovery

An uncomfortable fact about modern life is that it is too fast for our biologies to keep up with. We evolved to function in far slower environments but now we must deal with anthropocene angst with neolithic neurons. Which means that the pace and intensity of most of our lifestyles is actually traumatizing to our systems (trauma being experiences that we don’t have the resources to process fully in real-time so they stick with us in some way, reducing our capacity to thrive). 

The cut-and-thrust of organizational life is so intense that our hearts and minds need space and time to process everything that we experience in a given day and week. So we need to ensure that we invest in our recovery so that we have the resources we need inside to cope with the constant pressures on our performance as well as the many social pains we encounter. We need to actively choose to decompress regularly.

The Activity for Resilience: Reconnection Practices

Modern life can easily alienate us from nature, each other, and ourselves. This can drive us into a sense of endless stress as we struggle to feel safe, connected, and trusted. So when you feel bewildered, confused, or overwhelmed, a reconnection practice is what brings you back to yourself. It helps you drop into your body and drop your worries. It returns you to your true nature as part of nature: at-one with life so nothing can perturb your connection. Such practices also activate the relaxation response, discovered and promoted by Harvard Medical School, which is the equal and opposite response to the fight and flight of stress.

The Foundation Of Resilience: Sleep Hygiene

Decent sleep resets our system and clears away stress and stress chemicals. Without it, we simply cannot approach being resilient. Yet over half of Americans have sleep issues. Sleep problems promote stress and mental ill-health, studies with soldiers show that decent sleep may well be the foundation of all resilience. Without sustained refreshing sleep, some kind of break down is always within sight. Without paying attention to sleep, you cannot expect to have true resilience. It is the first step for wellbeing, as my years suffering from fibromyalgia (chronic pain syndrome) has taught me. Proper rest is the starting point for genuine recovery.

Having “sleep hygiene” means we focus on creating the right conditions for good sleep each night. It means going to bed at roughly the same time every night, with a similar bedtime routine, and within a safe space. It means avoiding caffeine, screens, booze, and other stimulants as much as possible before bed. It means not having our cellphone or laptop in our bedroom seducing us to engage.

The Resilience Mindset: Ownership Mindset

Recent research has shown that amongst West Point soldiers, “psychological hardiness” – which includes being able to take multiple perspectives and to explore multiple possible responses (as well as seeing all experiences as interesting and meaningful)- is a better predictor of ability in the field than traditional predictors of performance like intelligence. The ability to feel powerful in difficult situations (and so to explore problems curiously and creatively) and to feel at peace and even positive no matter what happens, are both key to becoming anti-fragile.

We may not be able to control events but we can exert some agency in how we react to them: ie whether we react unconsciously or respond consciously and creatively.

The Orientation for Resilience: Trusted Relationships

We are eminently social animals. Our brains develop within relationships and relationships guide everything we feel, think, and do. If we are uneasy in them, this will permeate every area of our leadership style. As research from Google and the Harvard Business Review has made clear, if teams don’t feel emotionally safe and trusted, high-performance is practically impossible and certainly not sustainable. Research shows that people need relationships that work to be at their resilient best: at the office and at home. So take your team out regularly to relax and connect together. Invite one to have lunch with you once or twice a week without any agenda. Take a coffee to a co-worker and just see how they are doing.

The Resilience Skill: Emotional Regulation & Optimistic Equanimity

As reported in the journal Nature, one of the brain’s key roles is to scan for danger and threats. When one is spotted, our emotions work very quickly – at least 0.5 seconds before we are aware of any reaction – to get us fighting and fleeing. But most of the threats we now face in everyday life our social challenges not survival threats. This means that our emotions are likely to be all of the place – dysregulated in the lingo – even when we have no evolutionary need to be so roiled. And when we are emotionally charged, we are likely to play out old and out-dated habits and patterns that make the situation worse.

The Anchor for Resilience: Life & Leadership Purpose

During times of rapid change and crisis (and let’s face it, that means pretty much all the time), the only anchor you can rely is your purpose: why you get up every morning and lead others in the first place. Research has proven that “purpose in life predicts better emotional recovery from negative stimuli” and difficult events. It can even inoculate us for future intense stressors making us truly anti-fragile. Purpose will hold you in a consistent and empowering frame of meaning no matter how crazy the world is around you: allowing you to make sense of even the weirdest events and scariest news. Therefore purpose boosts the ownership mindset and optimistic equanimity mentioned above.

Books by Nick Jankel

Nick Jankel Book
Nick Jankel Book
Nick Jankel Book

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