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Nick Jankel

Global Keynote Speaker

Nick Jankel is an influential and internationally recognized thought leader on how leadership, technology (e.g., AI, Blockchain, CRISPR), and innovation can— and should—transform business and society in an increasingly complex, disrupted, and digital world.


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Nick Jankel's videos

What Nick Jankel's clients say

Here is some of the feedback from audiences and clients who have worked with Nick.

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Nick Jankel's 2023 biography

About Nick Jankel

He is a sought-after and highly experienced global keynote speaker and leadership futurist who motivates, inspires, and, above all, transforms audiences to switch on and step up all over the world. He helps simplify complexity, take the pain out of change, and blast through the barriers that block innovation and transformation.

Nick is the co-founder and the CEO of global leadership consultancy Switch On Leadership, where he advises CEOs and top teams at organizations like Unilever, LEGO, Syngenta, and Microsoft and supports Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 organizations to unleash transformational leaders who drive adaptive change, breakthrough innovation, and business transformation.

Nick draws upon his advanced leadership curriculum, disruptive innovation methodology, and unique transformation approach to meet keynote briefs—covering important topics like purpose, change mindsets, leadership storytelling, and the Future Of Work. Sensitive to cultural diversity, he has delivered customized keynotes and workshops from San Francisco to Shanghai. His ideas are routinely called imaginative, rigorous, crucial, and transformative.

Nick has been a geek about change all his life, captivated from age 13 by the central challenge of leadership and innovation: how to change ourselves and, in doing so, change our organizations and the world. As well as lecturing at Yale, Oxford, SciencesPo, and LBS, Nick has been a transformation coach on two TV shows, coaching celebs (MTV) and addicts (BBC). He has written five books on leadership and transformation, which have won awards and been translated into Chinese. Nick has been featured in the Financial Times, The Times, and The Economist and has advised national governments on innovation.

Originally a medic, Nick received a Triple First (summa cum laude) in Medicine and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge before studying clinical medicine at UCL. Nick shifted into consumer psychology and brand strategy for Playstation and Nike at TBWA/Chiat Day, a top 5 global ad agency specializing in disruption. At age 24, Nick was blown away by the democratizing force of digital technology and left the safety of employment to become a serial purpose-led entrepreneur.

Founded in 1999, his first start-up was a creative management consultancy that initially supported dot coms to transform business plans into successful customer-focused innovations. As the boom went to doom, Nick pivoted the company to become a world-class disruptive innovation consultancy. Evolving a sophisticated innovation methodology that fuses scientific rigor with creative imagination, he has since led c.100 breakthrough innovation projects for orgs like Microsoft, Diageo, Disney, Novartis, Vodafone, Genentech, and the BBC—which resulted in the most successful TV show in history.

After years of navigating mindsets and cultures resistant to innovation, he expanded his work into leadership development. He has since developed a rigorous and inspiring Self-to-System leadership curriculum that can ensure leaders wield powerful innovation and transformation to their full potential. Over 100,000+ leaders—from organizations like Intel, Syngenta, Unilever, BootsWalgreens, AstraZeneca, Zalando, and HSBC—have used elements of the curriculum to master both the inner and outer games of leadership.

The leadership and innovation programs and products that Nick delivers sit atop Bio-Transformation®, an original theory for unlocking concrete change in individuals and organizations as fast as humanly possible. Nick’s life’s work, Bio-Transformation® leverages the latest brain, behavioral, and complexity sciences—along with wisdom and practices from various traditions—to help leaders work with, not against, human biologies and cultures to drive lasting change.

As well as his work innovating business innovation and leadership services, Nick founded a purpose-led multimedia production company that developed network TV shows on transformation in Los Angeles and London, a peer coaching web app, and an innovative mindfulness experience (for BBC Learning) that toured the UK and was visited by 250,000 people. A social enterprise, the company also delivered accessible coaching and leadership programs aimed at unemployed youth from marginalized Black and Asian communities across impoverished areas of the UK.

Nick has since optimized these early prototypes within his company’s Leadership Innovation Lab, which designs scaleable tools and toolkits to empower and elevate leaders. They are currently in stealth mode developing a Generative AI-driven platform to provide the leaders who want to change the world—but can’t access cutting-edge coaching and leadership development—with personalized interventions that support them.

Nick has been a server at McDonald’s, a science teacher in Zimbabwe, and a bookseller at Daunt Books. He has triumphed over entrepreneurial burn-out, learned to master a debilitating chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia (running the New York Marathon without stopping), and has survived three recessions—and counting—as a serial purpose-driven start-up founder. He is a dedicated father of two boys and is married to his business partner.

Nick Jankel's 2023 talks & topics

Leading with Generative AI

Unprecedented Opportunities & Unfathomable Dangers

Generative AIs herald a momentous turning point in human history: a revolution perhaps bigger than the internet, the steam engine, and the printing press combined.

Generative AI brings unprecedented opportunities for lasting positive impact and exponential value creation.

Generative AIs also bring almost unfathomable dangers and threats.

How can we take responsibility for how we use AI to shape a human-centric not dystopian future?

Adapt Rapidly To Crises

Keynote Topic: Adapt Rapidly To Crises

Future-Proof Your Org With Transformational Innovation

Keynote Topic: Future-Proof Your Org With Transformational Innovation

  • Covid and the climate crisis are accelerators of massive market disruption
  • We can leverage new technologies to solve emerging customer needs/pain with insight and creativity
  • Transformational Innovation can help you adapt to this crisis and ‘preadapt’ to the next
  • The 7 steps of our proven pathway to lead and land transformational innovations
  • Process is not enough—you also need to nurture a culture of innovation

Takeaway Tool Options: The Innovation Culture Engine, The Experimentation Engine, The Problem Definition Engine etc

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 and 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 and 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.

Now Lead the Change: Rapid Adaptation To Crises

  • The 3D Futures Framework™: Understanding complexity and embracing uncertainty
  • Making sense of Covid-19 and the emerging future
  • Crises are always opportunities to metabolize change with rapid adaptation
  • The 6 steps for leading adaptive transformation in times of change and chaos
  • The mindset needed to lead the change needed

Build Back Bolder: Future-Proofing Your Org With Transformational Innovation

  • Covid and the climate crisis are accelerators of market disruption
  • Exponential 4th Industrial Revolution technologies are also hitting the market as customers change their needs and desires massively
  • The pathway of Transformational Innovation to harness tech to solve emerging problems that matter
  • Building a culture of Transformational Innovation

Next-Gen Sustainability and Regenerative Business/Brands

The 4 major crises of the Anthropocene Age

  • How Covid-19 reveals and accelerates them
  • Gen Z & Millennials want meaningful change
  • The role of Next-Gen Sustainability Professionals
  • The criteria of Regenerative Businesses/Brands
  • The ingredients of future-forward Regenerative Business Models

Regenerative Technology: Make Digital Work For All

Keynote Topic: Regenerative Technology: Make Digital Work For All

The Great Transformation: The Future of Our Digital, Disrupted and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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.

Transformational Tech: Exponential Digital Tech For Good

  • The spectrum of digital technologies and what they can do for users
  • How to avoid technology that controls, alienates, and exploits
  • Where technology can scale purpose and impact as well as profit and value

Transformational Wisdom For Turbulent Times

  • Loneliness, home-working, depression, and addiction are rising due to Covid-19
  • Transformational wisdom helps process and cope with sustained stress
  • How to support customers and colleagues who are struggling and suffering
  • Key tips to help staff and clients feel seen, safe, soothed, and secure
  • The 8 elements of wise and grounded resilience

ReHumanizing Companies/Designing For Stability and Agility

  • Offsetting physical distancing with team cohesion
  • Expanding circles of caring to forge a renewed working alliance
  • Building empathy, vulnerability, and warmth in the culture
  • Trust as the lubricant for agility and change
  • How to design for both stability & agility; productivity & purpose; control & creativity

Make Sense Of Chaos and Solving Complex Problems Creatively

Keynote Topic: Make Sense Of Chaos & Solving Complex Problems Creatively

Leading In VUCA/Uncertainty and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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.

Transformational Sense-Making and The New Normal

  • How to make sense of why Covid-19 pandemic occurred; and embracing all emerging complexity
  • Everyday hacks and practices for embodied wisdom and insightful action
  • The 4 forms of guidance for great decision-making

How To Be A Transformer: Agents Of Systemic Change

  • Today’s complex problems can only be solved with a combination of Insightful Action (a smart and creative mind) and Embodied Wisdom (a compassionate and purposeful heart)
  • The Transformer is a master at both allowing them to drive systemic change, business transformation and community regeneration
  • The pathway for becoming a smart and wise Transformer

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 and 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 and 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.

Forging the Future of Work

With lockdown beginning to end, but our post-pandemic challenges as employers and employees only just beginning, there has never be a more important time to understand, and play our full part in, the Future of Work.

In this powerful virtual keynote, pioneering futurist and international keynote speaker Nick Jankel will share cutting-edge thinking into:

  • Why we have to upgrade our mindsets to make sense of the rapidly- and ruthlessly-changing world of work—and how to spot, and act upon, ‘weak signals’ of the future in the present
  • The 3 deep drivers of change that will shape the future of work for everyone—from AI to Gen Z—and how they are combining to transform work for everyone, whether in a factory, delivery van, or co-working space
  • The 4 emerging needs of employees (and customers) that the pandemic has accelerated, which are disrupting business models and people models
  • How to start leveraging these insights about the future to drive forward “People Innovations” that future-proof your organization against disruption—and ensure you don’t fail the the future of work, but forge it

Mastering Transformational Teamwork In Hybrid Workplaces

Most organizations are moving to a hybrid “remote + office” way of working, which brings many new challenges—as well as plenty of opportunities.

Many team members will be allowed to work remotely and flexibly, with all the benefits and new stresses this brings.

At the same time, as organizations begin to reckon with seismic changes in their markets from the pandemic, the climate crisis, and new technologies, teams will have to step up to become even more transformational.

On this keynote, top international keynote speaker Nick Jankel will share cutting-edge thinking into:

  • Why teams must get more transformational to deliver change at pace—and how the hybrid workplace could make this actually easier
  • The key characteristics that make a “Transformational Team”
  • The core psychological needs of team members in the hybrid workplace
  • Practical yet profound techniques for boosting effective teamwork in hybrid workplaces—and increasing the creative and collaborative outputs of your people

Sustainable innovation: From Compliance To Creativity and Exponential Value-Creation

Move from footprint minimization driven by regulation to opening up exciting possibility spaces and business opportunities. Turn zero-carbon/decarbonization into a ‘prism’ to drive exponential value-creation in products and services. I touch upon business purpose, breakthrough thinking, and my pioneering transformational innovation process and toolset that allows any organization, no matter the size, to solve customer pain points driven by social and ecological breakdown to unlock exponential value.

Sustainable Leadership: How To Lead The Change To A World That Works For All

Turn despair into hope by understanding the power that business and institutional leaders have to lead the change so many want to see. Such leaders can can skip the out-dated power politics that is causing so much delay to craft brands and business models that are net-positive/ “regenerative”. By inspiring ourselves with nature—“rewilding” our own leadership purpose—and by leveraging my work revealing the pathway of transformational leadership, every leader—no matter where they are in the hierarchy—can use their one short life to leave a sustainable legacy; and use their organization’s power to leave the world better.

Sustainability Storytelling: Engaging Stakeholders With Compelling Narratives That Transform

Even if we want to lead the shift to a sustainable world, many stakeholders don’t get it, don’t want to get it, or don’t know how to get it. They resist, deny, ignore, or are cynical about the urgency and magnitude of the climate crisis (and other issues like inequality, precarity, and pollution). Neuroscience shows that it’s no use yelling at them, criticizing them, or showing them yet more data. Instead, you can harness my transformational storytelling insights and toolkit to engage to different kinds of stakeholders in empathic and imaginative ways—and turn resistors into supporters and supporters into champions.

Nick Jankel's 2023 speaking fees

Nick travels from:
  • United Kingdom

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