Sterling Hawkins

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Master of Innovation, tech entrepreneur and expert on leadership to break the status quo

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3 Video(s) By This Presenter

Innovative Thinking & The Human Experience
Sterling Hawkins – TEDx: Discomfort is Necessary for Innovation
Speaker Reel

3 Programs By This Presenter

There’s a difference between what we plan on (or what we accept) and what’s actually possible: The Innovation Gap™. In this talk, Sterling first explores Innovation Thinking™ to see that gap in our businesses and our lives, and then, with the audience, steps into the gap. Starting with the fact that social scientists know but most businesses don’t: people aren’t built for change. Amazon, Facebook and Apple are some organizations who have figured this out and experienced exponential growth at times. Learn the keys to developing a culture of innovation to take advantage of the growth potential all around us.


Access to The Innovation Gap™ requires a special kind of skill. This skill is letting go of everything we think we already know to discover what’s possible. Learn to develop a perspective that looks for what’s possible vs. what’s not.

Leadership in the future needs to be leadership that embraces change, a world where transformational performance is possible and proven. Gain insight on how leaders, agents of change and facilitators of the innovation process ignite that spirit in others.

Sterling shows audiences, by example, how to develop innovation thinking to gain perspective, clarity and take profits to the next level inside the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where anything is possible.

Our action (or lack of action) determines our results. If we see something as impossible, we don’t do anything about it. This wouldn’t be a problem other than the fact that most of what we see as impossible is an illusion. It’s not actually impossible. It was impossible to fly before the Wright Brothers. It was impossible to go to the moon with the computer processing power of a desk calculator before JFK. The same limiting “impossibilities” occur within our businesses. In this talk Sterling unveils the illusion of the impossible opening up new possibilities for everyone in attendance. He brings case studies such as IBM, Amazon and Apple together with pop culture references to give attendees valuable takeaways they’re excited to do something about.


There are key tools to unmask the illusion of the impossible. Learn how to distinguish those limits to open up new thinking, ideas and possibilities within your business.

Our companies only work because of the people. Every company has a group of people. And every group of people develops a culture. Developing accesses to impacting organizational culture minimizes limited thinking which lead to unleashing the organizational potential.

Seeing an action to take is easy. Seeing the most effective action to take is not. Thinking that there is only one option will stop everything. Lifting the veil of the impossible gives us access to seeing ALL the actions, products, services or solutions will make the biggest difference.

The only constant is change. Sterling’s background in working with hundreds of startups and fortune 500 companies has led to a discovery. Told as a story inside the 80s TV show MacGyver, innovation isn’t about money, who you know, or even being in the right place at the right time. It’s about discomfort. And embracing that discomfort as our access to breakthrough growth. People aren’t built for that, they’re built for survival. In today’s fast-paced world, change is necessary and learning how to first accept it and get out ahead of it is the only competitive advantage. Sterling learned that first hand as he worked with clients to embrace the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution including robots, IoT and Artificial Intelligence. At the same time it required him and the companies he worked with to think differently to truly embrace technology coming together with humanity to unlock something new..

Intentionally creating discomfort in your current situation in the workplace leads to innovative thinking.

See constraints, hardships and problems as not something to rid ourselves from but as the access to innovation.

An ecology of people who create big goals allows for and even forces us to take actions that were previously unthinkable to us.


“Sterling delivered an outstanding keynote […] during our GM19 Marketing Conference. As always, Sterling was engaging, provocative, and optimistic about the opportunities ahead. Sterling is a credible – and genuine – thought leader, and we’ll look forward to using him at future events.

— GMDC & Retail Tomorrow

“Sterling was the keynote speaker at Syndigo’s first-ever IGNITE eCommerce leadership conference. As industry disruptors, it was critical for us to find a speaker that understood the importance and value of innovating at a fast pace. Sterling did a great job captivating our audience and aligning his presentation with the key takeaways of the conference. He was very engaging and was a great kick-off to the rest of the event!

— Syndigo

“Sterling was not only a delight to work with, but had rave reviewsfrom our audience of executives! His energy was contagious, andhe provided real strategies for success and inspiration, to sendus out with a bang after three full days of content. Highlyrecommend Sterling as your next keynote!

— Winsight LLC

“He was very engaging and even attended one of our parties to get to know our guests!”

— Reflexis

“Thank you Sterling for a breath taking speech on Innovation!! Your mindset and delivery is epic and amazing and I am ever so grateful for your presentation at City Summit! Riveting!!”

— City Summit & City Gala

“I highly recommend him and we’ll definitely have him back!”

— Zebra Technologies

“Over my many years running events around the world, few if any of my 2,000+ speakers delivered as remarkable a performance as Sterling did at Seamless Asia 2017!”

— Seamless Africa
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