Josh Linkner
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Customer Testimonials

Josh was great – and very well received by our attendees! He was wonderful to work with and we’ve been hearing all positive remarks.
Northwestern Mutual
Wow – what can I say except a huge THANK YOU. Your presentation was so excellent and a wonderful way to kick off our 2015 Annual Meeting. I heard so many of our members making reference to your presentation throughout the Meeting. And, signing books for two hours was a true testimonial to how well your presentation resonated with our members. Plus, you were a pure delight to work with . . . very low maintenance.
Anne Blouin, Chief Learning Officer, ASAE

Josh Linkner

Five-Time Tech Entrepreneur, Hyper-Growth CEO, Two-Time New York Times Best-Selling Author, Venture Capitalist, and Keynote Speaker On a Mission to Drive Creativity, Innovation, and Reinvention

Five-time tech entrepreneur, hyper-growth CEO, New York Times best-selling author and venture capitalist, Josh Linkner is on a mission to drive creativity, innovation and reinvention.

Hacking Innovation: The New Business Growth Model from the Sinister World of Hackers

With intense competitive pressures and mind-numbing speed, leaders seek fresh approaches for growth and innovation. As old methods become commoditized, new creative problem solving techniques are needed more than ever. Drawing inspiration from the unlikely world of hackers, New York Times best-selling author and five-time tech entrepreneur Josh Linkner has
discovered a new and powerful model for leadership and organizational success. The underworld of cybercriminals contains some of the most creative people on the planet, despite their illicit motives. In this thrilling and provocative talk, Linkner takes the audience on a mind-opening journey, showing how hacking techniques can be deployed to drive legitimate business outcomes. Learning how hackers would solve your most pressing challenges using unorthodox approaches will give you a new framework for creative problem solving, growth and innovation.

  • Specific tools and techniques from the Five Core Mindsets and Ten Primary Tactics of Hackers
  • Fresh approaches to complex problem solving
  • How a hacker would approach your work if he or she had your job
  • Why unorthodox moves can lead to the best business outcomes
  • How to protect yourself and your company from innovation hackers of all sizes and types

Harnessing Innovation: Turning Raw Ideas Into Powerful Results

As a five-time successful tech entrepreneur and investor in dozens of startups, Josh Linkner has seen thousands of companies loaded with creative buzz and big ideas. How is it that some harness their imagination to create game-changing drivers of growth and innovation while others miss the mark? The answer: The best companies have a systematic process to focus their team’s creativity into practical outputs—something Linkner discovered by founding and building companies that sold collectively for over $200 million. As a professional-level jazz guitarist, Linkner blends the improvisational qualities of a jazz ensemble with bleeding-edge business savvy to bring a completely fresh perspective on unleashing creativity in the organization. His inspiring presentation delivers practical tools that can be used immediately to increase creative output and deliver bottom-line results. You’ll learn to:

  • Use specific techniques to harness your most powerful ideas
  • Apply creativity on a daily basis across all business activities and roles
  • Break free from the three biggest blockers of creativity
  • Apply best practices from the world’s most innovative companies
  • Avoid the five biggest creativity killers
  • Master the three most powerful brainstorming techniques that you’ve never heard of
  • Build a culture that celebrates fresh thinking and embraces new ideas

The Gravity-Defying Leader: Innovative Approaches to Hyper-Growth Leadership

With disruptive forces assaulting business from every direction, creativity has been labeled the single most important business attribute. To succeed, leaders must be focused on creating a resilient culture where everyone’s engaged; a torrent of innovative ideas needs to flow from every level of the organization. Top leaders then employ a secret weapon: a systematic approach to selecting and launching the ideas that will best drive growth and innovation. Josh Linkner weighs in with a fresh perspective on this critical leadership challenge. A highly successful serial entrepreneur and now a tech investor, Linkner shows leaders how to employ his simple but effective framework to ramp up the creativity and identify/launch ideas that will break through and defy gravity. This presentation will help leaders:

  • Challenge assumptions and conventional wisdom
  • Build courage to foster responsible risk-taking
  • Authentically express your own creativity and tap into the hidden creativity of your team members
  • Develop “everyday creativity” to attack business problems of all sizes
  • Deploy creativity beyond R&D to reimagine processes, drive efficiency and improve operations
  • Uncover fresh approaches for reinvention and growth

Entrepreneurial Fire: Think and Act Like a Startup (Even If You’re Not)

Entrepreneurs look at the world differently. We celebrate them for their bold vision and courage—they drive game-changing innovation that creates enormous economic success while making a profound impact on the world. What is it about the entrepreneurial mindset that helps these mavericks seize opportunity that others miss?  A five-time successful tech entrepreneur, Josh Linkner shows leaders and organizations how to embrace the creativity, grit and vision of a startup and then channel this approach to drive growth, innovation, efficiency and customer delight. Linkner decodes the entrepreneurial DNA to help leaders of any size company in any industry or profession:

  • Understand how an entrepreneur would attack their organization with the specific goal of dislodging it
  • Reimagine their role through the lens of an entrepreneur
  • Harness the ferocity of entrepreneurial thinking
  • Embrace “startup speed” to increase velocity in your own organization
  • Learn the five best approaches used by startups to create disruption
  • Avoid the weaknesses that plague entrepreneurs by exposing the four biggest startup death traps

The Music of Business: Translating Improvisational Thinking From The Jazz Stage to The Business World

Be prepared to be amazed. Josh Linkner, a jazz guitarist since age 13, credits a musical background for giving him a different way of looking at business. In this stunning interactive presentation, a live jazz performance by Linkner and his band is woven with stimulating dialogue. You’ll actually hear, through their music, fresh ways to unleash your organization’s creative mojo. In jazz, 99% of the notes are improvised and created in real time. Yet it’s the structure of a jazz combo—not the inherent talent of individual musicians—that allows for such breathtaking creative expression. In today’s business landscape of dizzying speed, exponential complexity and ruthless competition, we can no longer just play the notes on the written page. You will learn powerful lessons inspired by jazz musicians (aka “real-time innovators”) to help you:

  • Develop your own ability to improvise, no matter what job title you hold
  • Establish team dynamics that foster creative thinking and risk-taking
  • Uncover fresh approaches to previously unchallenged assumptions
  • Break free from traditional thinking and uncover vast new possibilities
  • Learn five secret techniques used by jazz musicians to foster creativity, which can easily be adapted to your own organization
  • Expand your ability to deal with ambiguity and recover from setbacks

A Street Fighter’s Guide to Reinvention – Lessons From The Front Lines of Detroit’s Rebrith

Detroit’s fight back from the brink is an inspiring tale of resilience told firsthand by Josh Linkner whose grit and passion are playing a critical role in the city’s revitalization. Linkner is a driving force in Detroit’s comeback; among his many honors—“Detroit Executive of the Year,” the region’s “CEO of the Year” and “Michiganian of the Year.” As the CEO of Detroit Venture Partners, he is helping the city he loves rise from the ashes and reconnect to its entrepreneurial and technological roots. Linkner’s heartfelt talk energizes audiences with the power of possibility. It’s also a cautionary tale of how Detroit, once a birthplace of innovation and a vibrant city, succumbed to the evil forces of protectionism, blame and bureaucracy. The lessons in this powerful comeback story—still in progress—help you:

  • Understand the four most common reasons organizations decay
  • Connect the dots between urban renewal and business reinvention, and learn how to apply the same approaches to your own organization
  • Embrace the five unexpected lessons of underdogs and learn to fight out of seemingly impossible situations
  • Gain inside perspective from the passionate leaders who are leading Detroit’s courageous turnaround
  • Uncover best practices from “street fighter” mentality—on scrappiness, determination, resilience and conquering adversity

Live Interactive Jazz (This is an add-on program to any of the above topics.)

Performing jazz guitar at a professional level for over 30 years, Josh Linkner often incorporates live music into his keynote presentations. Using live jazz music as a metaphor for innovation, this interactive session is both memorable and impactful. In addition to his own live musical performance, Linkner will hire two local musicians (upright bass and drums) to accompany him. The upcharge covers the cost of musicians, equipment, coordination and all related details.    

Picture this... the musicians will be on stage when Linkner is introduced. As he takes the stage, he grabs his guitar and jumps right into a brief, attention-getting live jazz work. Next, Linkner will ask the musicians to have a seat in the audience while he delivers a high-impact business innovation talk. For the last 20 minutes of the time slot, he brings the musicians back on stage and helps the audience see their own business challenges through the lens of a jazz musician. The session’s finale has the audience helping to compose a song in real time. To help perform the new composition, Linkner invites three audience members to jam with the band (he supplies percussion instruments and some costume flair). In addition to being highly entertaining, the audience gains a hands-on perspective on risk-taking, real-time innovation, collaboration and improvisation. The experience is rich and engaging, leaving audience members a memorable framework for driving results and crafting innovative solutions to real-world problems.

Meet Josh Linkner

Five-time tech entrepreneur, hyper-growth CEO, New York Times best-selling author and venture capitalist, Josh Linkner is on a mission to drive creativity, innovation and reinvention.

Josh Linkner – who started his career as a jazz guitarist - has been the founder and CEO of five tech companies, which sold for a combined value of over $200 million. He is also a deeply experienced business leader, venture capitalist, top-rated keynote speaker, and author of four books, New York Times bestsellers: Disciplined Dreaming and The Road to Reinvention, as well as his latest book, Hacking Innovation. And yes, he still plays a mean jazz guitar.

Some of the great comments we've received for Josh Linkner:

"When Josh speaks, business improves” – Earvin “Magic” Johnson

“A journey that will lead to better ideas and breakthrough thinking” – Bill Ford, Jr., Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company

“Josh is a truly special entrepreneur.” – Eric Lefkofsky, Co-Founder, Lightbank and CEO, Groupon

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