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.
Intense evolutionary pressures are causing one Fortune 500 company to be replaced every two weeks; whilst the average length of a company’s existence is dropping to just 7 years. With a Triple First Class science and philosophy degree from Cambridge University—and over 20 years hard-won experience advising exponential unicorns and ambitious blue-chips on the frontlines of disruption—Nick Jankel is a highly sought-after professional speaker whose life’s work is to ensure people have the tools they need to adapt to relentless change and the mindsets they need to successfully transform their organizations and themselves.
As a transformation guru, Nick was selected to host his own global BBC TV series; is regularly interviewed on AI, tech and creativity on international news; and has advised No.10 Downing Street and The White House. At the pinnacle of the industry, Nick is a virtuoso speaker who blows away audiences with cutting-edge neuroscience amplified by sticky ideas, concrete tools and beautiful materials. He has delivered to rave reviews at LEGO, Google, NHS, M.O.D., Boots, BUPA, Schroders, Diageo, SAP, RBOS, Tesco, Wal-Mart, The European Commission and Merck to name but a few.
With new research showing that transformational leaders deliver 6x the results of average ones, Nick’s talks help people become transformational so they can cut through the treacle that stops change and blast through the barriers that block innovation. He does this by sharing tools and thinking from Bio-Transformation Theory®, the fruit of 30 years committed effort.
A transformational futurist, Nick does not just illuminate what the future may hold— from AI to blockchain to regeneration—but how people must respond to it creatively and confidently. He goes deeper than most to motivate audience members in their hearts as much as minds: he switches on people so they step up and embrace necessary adaptation rather than resist, retreat and repeat old habits that sabotage success. A genuine thought leader, Nick has talked at world-class universities including Yale, Oxford, SciencesPo, UCL and London Business School; and his academic paper is in the top 1% of citations.
His pioneering ideas on transformation have been featured in The Times, The Financial Times, The Sunday Times and The Guardian; and he has been invited to share them at the prestigious Aspen Ideas Festival; the tech mecca TOA (Berlin); Wisdom In Business (AMS); The Economist Summit (SF); The Financial Times Futures (LDN); CHRO Summit (LA); and SciFoo (Google HQ). A prolific and talented writer, Nick is the author of a number of influential essays and best-selling books on personal and organizational transformation.
Nick set up his first company, aged just 24, to disrupt the marketing industry and grew it exponentially, without funding, to reach 50 staff working with big brands like Microsoft, Vodafone, Diageo, Unilever, Disney and Shell on strategic innovation projects key to their future. Here he made his name as the innovation expert behind the creation of the most successful TV show of all time (BBC’s Dancing with Stars) and was named UK Ambassador for Entrepreneurship in recognition.
By age 29, he had learnt the hard way that innovation fails if leaders do not have the skills and mindsets needed to transform their enterprises; and if cultures resist and repress change. He doubled-down on Bio-Transformation Theory®, fusing the very latest brain science with profound wisdom and practical psychology in hybrid innovation, leadership and culture change programs that actually work (for companies like Novartis, Nike, HSBC and Intel). Committed to systemic transformation as much as personal change, he has led systems change projects with orgs like WWF, Oxfam, FCO, NHS, Rockefeller and Young Foundations and educated non-profit leaders and social entrepreneurs on 4 continents.
Nick is Chief Executive of transformation company Switch On, which blends both purpose and profit; Chairman of pioneering next-gen sustainability constancy FutureMakers; and a Founding Fellow of The Academy of Professional Speakers.
Bio-Transformation Theory® consists of a world-class innovation process for transformational results; an extensive transformational leadership curriculum covering conscious, purposeful, creative, inspirational, collaborative and systemic leadership; 90+ proven and printable transformation tools to drive change across teams; and 40+ brainbased yet wisdom-wired transformation practices that have inspired over 5 million people through TV shows, books, cutting-edge meditations and more to heal their pain, shift baseline moods, think new thoughts and break and make habits as fast as humanly possible.
If requested, Nick can provide audiences with take-away tools and include experiential exercises that start the change happening today. He customizes every talk to help deliver on your ambitions and is always keen to add value for a win-win-win.
Nick Jankel Videos
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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!”
“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.”
“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.”
“I am still under the inspiration of your speech on Breakthrough. It was brilliant.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
“Thank you so much for your fantastic presentation. The delegates loved it. It was a total pleasure working with you.”
“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!”
“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!”
“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.”
“Excellent keynote, very thought provoking and exactly what we wanted.”
“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.”
“Huge Impact! Outstanding framework and powerful tools.”
“Very much enjoyed your speech. Superb insights which kept my brain whirring for the rest of the evening.”
“Inspiring and enlightening!”
“A uniquely inspiring experience with clear insights for leading transformation.”
Nick Jankel‘s Topics
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.
Agility and the 4 Criteria For “Transformational Teams”
Rapid change demands we must all be more agile with our ideas and behaviors. But fear, friction, groupthink and entrenched habits get in the way. Nick explains how leaders can create the conditions for agility, adaptability and pace with the 4 key ingredients for high-performing teams (that are not what you think).
Storytelling & Inspiring Leadership
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. 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 changes in action.
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.
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.
The Great Transformation: The Future of Our 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 what is coming in The Great Transformation and to find sources of future value in the present.
Purposeful Leadership & Business Purpose
How to unleash the creative engines of enterprise with business purpose and leadership purpose to maximize impact and value; why purpose is so powerful and so welcomed by customers and employees; and why purpose costs something otherwise it is just marketing.
Disruptive Innovation & Creative Leadership
Changes in the outside world threaten every organization with irrelevance. Nick shows leaders how to create exponential value out of constant change through safe, controlled and conscious organizational ‘disruption’. Nick shows how to unleash the creative potential of people and prevent the organizational ‘immune system’ from crushing ideas and individuals before transformations are landed.
Collaborative 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.
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.
Leading In VUCA/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.
Digital Transformation & “The Create & Control" Organization
Digital age technologies and the 4th Industrial Revolution are forcing all organizations to transform inside and embrace distributed creativity and flatter leadership. Yet if orgs are too agile, chaos ensues. Nick explains how to structure teams and orgs for optimal transformation and how to leverage emotions, mindsets and behavior to land digital transformation.
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 master their own biology, time, energy and performance and so build deep resilience which minimizes stress and overwhelm permanently.
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.
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.
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.