John Kao

John Kao

Mr. Creativity
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Program Descriptions

Innovation: More than a Buzzword
The word innovation seems to be used everywhere today. In many cases it’s lost its meaning. Let John show your organization how to bring “real innovation” to bear on your greatest issues.

Reset the Innovation Button
This keynote is great for teams that have innovation strangulation. Brainstorming may have turned into gridlock. John’s multi-functional perspective and transformational presentation will inspire your team and allow you to reset the innovation button at your organization.

Unleashing Creativity
In “Unleashing Creativity” John shares insights on re-igniting the spark around the true meaning of creativity and innovation. This is a great keynote for any large, diverse event.

Jazz and Business
John offers an approach that demystifies a topic traditionally confounding to businesspeople everywhere. He begins by showing how creativity, like the musical discipline of jazz, has a vocabulary and a grammar. It is a process, and because of that it can be observed, analyzed, understood, replicated, taught and managed.


Biography Read more

Who is the most interesting man in the world? Maybe John Kao!

  • Designer of Hillary Clinton’s innovation plan
  • MD
  • Artist in residence for Yamaha
  • Jazz musician
  • A big deal in ed tech
  • Advisor to the navy
  • Advisor to Angela Merkel
  • Founder of several companies

    The common thread is creativity — he can see things across industries that are all over the place and because of that he’s got the ability to add value and bring fresh (smart) eyes to all kinds of problems.

    Dubbed “Mr. Creativity” and "a serial innovator” by The Economist, John Kao is a leading authority on innovation, business creativity, organizational transformation and emerging technologies. John has been a trusted advisor to senior leaders of both public and private sector organizations. He has advised the governments of Finland and Singapore on their innovation strategies as well as leading firms such as Nike, Intel, and BASF.

    Kao’s thought leadership is expressed in his books: Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity, a BusinessWeek best-seller that has been published in a dozen languages; and Innovation Nation, which sounds the alarm about America's growing innovation challenge. He has published three e-books: The Future is Yours to Invent, Are You a Producer?, and Clearing the Mind for Creativity.

    John’s work has been profiled in major publications, including The Economist, Harvard Business Review and The New York Times. He has served in many prestigious membership and advisory roles:

  • Board Member – Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium
  • Member – Innovation Commission of Cisco Systems
  • Senior Visiting Fellow at Singapore Civil Service College
  • Honorary Vice President of Arts and Business in the U.K.
  • Advisor to Finnish Innovation Fund
  • Advisor to Sitra
  • Chairman – World Economic Forum’s Global Advisory Council on Innovation
  • Advisor to Finland’s Aalto (Innovation) University
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Art
  • Advisor to Clinton Global Initiative

    John is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor in emerging technology, and a Tony-nominated producer of film and stage. He was producer of the Broadway play, Golden Child, production executive on Sex, Lies and Videotape, and executive producer of Mr. Baseball. A jazz pianist at heart, he spent the summer of 1969 playing keyboards for rock legend Frank Zappa.
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