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Interview with Nick Jankel

Since the age of 24, speaker Nick Jankel has been an entrepreneur and is now a sought-after speaker and thought leader. He takes a more scientific approach to leadership and is also an award-winning scientist. Nick develops practical tools and original ideas that will help all leaders. Read his interview and learn more about him and his speaking career!

How did you begin your speaking career?

My first ever “keynote” was when I was 15 and asked to create and deliver a talk on the meaning of life as a teenager sees it to a crowd of 500 people. I didn’t do any public speaking for another decade until after I started my first business, a strategic innovation consultancy, age 24 – when our clients began to ask me to speak at their internal events on digital transformation and disruptive innovation.


Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?

I relish each and every talk I do whether it is for 1000 or 10 people. Each speaking experience I am lucky enough to be offered is always unique in terms of the cocktail of the audience, the setting, the role of the event and my message. So each talk I do is my favorite experience up to that moment – because I am always expanding in my abilities to inspire, move and transform my audiences with the ideas and tools that I have dedicated my life to.


Why do clients typically hire you to speak?

I tend to have two types of clients. The first are organizations, usually important in their field, that want to be a big part of the future. Whether multinationals or government departments, they share an ambition to not just survive but thrive in the crazy world we all live in. Most of them realize that leadership – the ability of people in their organization to feel, think and act differently – is their greatest asset for success and they want to be at the forefront of digital transformation, cultural agility and change-making. I also do many “Big Idea” talks in the space where philosophy, psychology, and social change meet – this is what I write my books on and what audiences at festivals and next-generation conferences are looking for – from TOA in Berlin to Aspen Ideas Festival in the USA.


Can you give 3 tips for creating a more innovative company culture?

1) Allow people to bring their whole selves to work – both the ‘pretty’ productive elements and the ‘messy’ human stuff too. Creativity is not always neat and tidy – it is driven by our untamable Promethean spirit for curiosity, connectivity and collaboration. It doesn’t come out to play unless leaders can ensure their teams feel psychologically safe and valued.

2) Make sure people do not get laughed at or punished for taking wise risks and messing up – it is in the nature of newness that experiments must be made. Just as in science, ‘failure’ is as useful as ‘success’ in understanding the nature of the future.

3) Help people do both wise and smart experiments that test specific hypotheses, in small, cheap and quick ways – so that the organization builds up a steady stream of insight and knowledge with hundreds of $200 experiments


What are 3 habits for success?

Know yourself to change yourself. External success in the real world is intimately dependent on being able to change yourself on the inside. If you don’t know your own mindset and habit patterns, you have little chance to change them and so will remain stuck and blocked instead of creative and transformational.
Be your wording, own your blockages. Do what you say you are going to do – and own impeccably it when you do not. This way people learn to rely on you and trust is the lubricant for all creative change, digital transformation and strategic innovation.
Always be learning. Life and leadership are all about how fast we can learn, grow and expand our skills and qualities to forge the future we want to see. With the pace of change as it is, when we stop learning we stop being able to make a difference in the world.


Describe yourself in 3 words

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