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Find your spark together with a leading innovation expert

Josh Linkner

travels from USA

Successful entrepreneur, author, and founder of ePrize, a successful agency providing digital marketing services

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About Josh

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Keynote speaker Josh Linkner is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book, Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity, named one of the top 10 business books of 2011. He is a successful entrepreneur and he is the founder of ePrize, a successful agency providing digital marketing services for some of the world’s largest brands.

Why you should book speaker Josh Linkner

  • Josh is a 5-time tech entrepreneur who founded and built five companies with a combined exit value of $200 million.
  • He is a founding partner of Detroit Venture Partners and advised and/or invested in over 100 startups.
  • Josh is one of the leading experts on innovation, hyper-growth leadership and disruption.

Josh Linkner – who started out as a jazz guitarist – personifies entrepreneurship, creativity and disruptive innovation.

Josh has written two New York Times Bestsellers: Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity, and The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation. He is also the Founding Partner of Detroit Venture Partners, investing in and mentoring more than 100 startups.

Josh has on two occasions been named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and he is a President Barack Obama Champion of Change award recipient. He is a regular columnist for ForbesThe Detroit Free Press, and Inc. Magazine.  His work on innovation has also been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, CNN, and The New York Times. In addition to all this, he still plays a mean jazz guitar.

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    Keynote by Speaker Josh Linkner


    A spark. A flash of creative brilliance. A new beginning. The energy to forge ahead when things get tough. The long-awaited breakthrough idea. The inspiration to drive change. The unexpected solution to a burdensome problem. The beginning of unstoppable momentum.

    What if we could cultivate and deploy this white-hot, mighty force? What if we injected sparks of innovation, competitive advantage, and sustainable growth into our organizations? Whether it’s mustering the courage to take that first step, or harnessing the creative soul of your team to ignite wide-sweeping transformation, it’s time to create sparks so powerful they can’t be ignored.

    • In this inspiring and actionable keynote, Josh provides a memorable performance to help you cultivate those powerful, combustible forces. Through real-world examples, hysterically funny stories, and practical takeaways, Josh will help you and your organization find your spark.

    Keynote by Speaker Josh Linkner

    Harnessing Innovation: Turning Raw Ideas into Powerful Results

    As a four 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 collectively sold 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 organisation.
    • His inspiring presentation delivers practical tools that can be used immediately to increase creative output and deliver bottom line results.

    Keynote by Speaker Josh Linkner


    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, Josh has discovered a new and powerful model for leadership and organizational success. 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

    Keynote by Speaker Josh Linkner

    A Streetfighter’s Guide to Reinvention: Lessons from the Frontline of Detroit’s Rebirth

    Detroit’s fight back from the brink is an inspiring tale of resilience told first hand 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.

    • Linker’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.
    • In this talk, Linkner shares the lessons from this powerful comeback story – still in progress.

    Keynote by Speaker Josh Linkner

    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 this mavericks seize opportunity that others miss?

    • 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.
    • Josh Linkner decodes the entrepreneurial DNA to help leaders of any size company in any industry or profession.

    Keynote by Speaker Josh Linkner

    Gravity Defying Leadership: Unleashing Your Organisation’s Creative Mojo

    With disruptive forces assaulting business from every direction, creativity has been labelled the single most important attribute. To succeed leaders must be focused on creating a resilient culture where everyone’s engaged; a torrent of fresh, creative ideas needs to grow from every level of the organisation. 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.
    • Linkner shows leaders how to employ his simple bu effective framework to ramp up the creativity and identify/launch ideas that will break through and defy gravity.

    Keynote by Speaker Josh Linkner

    The Music of Business: Translating Improvisational Thinking from the Jazz Stage to Business

    Be prepared to be amazed, Josh Linkner, a jazz guitarist since age 14, credits a musical background for giving him a different way of looking at business. In this stunning interactive presentation, a live jazz performance by Josh and his band is woven with stimulating dialogue. You’ll actually hear, through their music, fresh ways to unleash your organisation’s creative mojo. In jazz, 99% of the notes are improvised; 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 by jazz musicians (a.k.a ‘real time innovators’) to help you develop your own ability to improvise and establish creative team dynamics.
Josh Linkner - video

Josh Linkner Innovation Keynote Speaker 2019

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In our turbulent business climate, we all seek new pathways to growth and success. Yet winning can be elusive in these times of dizzying speed and ruthless competition.

Too often, once great organizations become intoxicated by their own success. They fail to adapt, fail to innovate, and then simply fail. To avoid this trap, we must exploit our most powerful weapon: human creativity. Its the one thing that can’t be outsourced or automated, and has become the currency of success. Cultivating creativity and innovation is leadership job #1 if we want to enjoy sustainable growth and progress.

Having studied hundreds of the most innovative people in history, I’ve discovered five core beliefs that transcend industry, geography, and upbringing. These patterns are easy to understand and can be implemented directly into your daily work to drive growth and success:

1. Get Curious.  It turns out that curiosity is very much the building block of creativity. The more curious you are, the more creative you’ll become. Try asking questions that begin with “why”, “what if”, or “why not?” When you ask these questions, it forces you to imagine the possibilities and explore fresh approaches.

2. Crave What’s Next.  It’s easy to think success is a permanent condition, yet that has been the downfall for far too many organizations. Instead, we must lean into change, embracing new approaches rather than clinging to old ones. Too often, we overestimate the risk of trying something new but underestimate the risk of standing still.

3. Defy Tradition.  Family traditions can be wonderful, but traditions in our professional lives can be deadly. Blindly doing things in a traditional way has been the downfall or far too many companies and careers. Instead, when you find yourself approaching your work in a traditional way, examine your approach carefully and see if you can flip it upside down.

4. Get Scrappy.  We often believe our ability to innovate is tied to external resources such as money, headcount, or raw materials. The truth is, the real building blocks of innovation areinternal resources: Grit. Determination. Tenacity. Resilience.  This is why startups are able to do more with less and upend industry giants.

5. Adapt Fast.  Most breakthroughs only materialize through a series of setbacks and mistakes, failures and pivots, tweaks and micro-innovations.  Rapid-fire creativity, practiced as a daily habit, can be far more important than the potency of an initial ideal. Experiment, learn, adapt. Rinse and repeat.

Creativity is a skill – a muscle – that each of us can harness to drive our companies and careers to the next level. Push the boundaries, shake it up, explore what’s possible. Inject innovative approaches into your everyday work, and the results will be stunning.

Josh Linkner is a 5-time tech entrepreneur, NY Times bestselling author, venture capitalist, and professional-level jazz guitarist, and highly sought after keynote speaker.


Interview with Josh Linkner

What is the message you hope people take away from your presentations?

Audiences leave my talks energized and empowered.  They are fired up knowing that they have the capacity to inject creativity into all areas of their business in order to drive meaningful results. And they are empowered by learning specific techniques and business takeaway value that they can put to use immediately.  Attendees come away fully understanding the importance of creativity and innovation in their organizations, and are given a specific framework for how to deploy this natural resource effectively.

How are your keynotes Unique?

I am not a typical “speaker” whose main accomplishments are speaking.  I founded, built, and sold three companies before I turned 30.  My 4th company grew to 500 employees and $100 million in revenue before I sold it to a large private equity firm.  I now run a venture capital firm in Detroit, Michigan and am also a professional jazz musician.

I bring a very unique perspective of someone who has actually put these ideas to work, who has overcome deep adversity, and has used creativity to win at the highest levels of business.  The presentations include zero “bullet points.”  Instead, they are rich with vivid imagery, energizing video clips, humor, and captivating story telling.  Audiences are entertained, fired-up, and given specific tools to expand their own creative abilities.

Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?

Those that forge new ground inspire me.  Business and community leaders who dare to do the never-been-done-before.  I admire those that disrupt the status quo and shatter conventional wisdom.  This ranges from innovators like Elon Musk and Tony Hseih to jazz musicians like Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.  I am inspired by those who break the mold and have the courage to turn things upside down.

Why is creativity so important in the business world?

It has gone from being a nice-to-have to being mission-critical.  As many of the competitive advantages of the past have become commoditized, creativity is the one thing left standing.  The one thing that can’t be outsourced.  The one source of sustainable competitive advantage.  In a world of dizzying speed, exponential complexity, and ruthless competition it is the natural resource that can be the difference maker between prosperity and mediocrity.  Between staying alive or getting crushed by the competition.

Can you give 3 tips for companies who wish to create a creative business culture?

  • Think Small! That is, think like a startup. Imagine how a new startup in your industry would take on the giants.
  • Encourage courage – celebrate ideas rather than punish them. Remove fear and your team’s creativity will shine.
  • Get curious – ask more questions and challenge conventional thinking. The more curious you are, the more creative you’ll become.

Is there a link between your passion for jazz and the work you do?

Absolutely! Jazz is fundamentally about improvising, which is the exact same demands we face in the business world. Things are moving too quickly to follow an operating manual and expect to win. Jazz musicians adapt to rapidly changing circumstances, thrive on ambiguity and essentially innovate in real time. Developing these skills is critical for business leaders today in order to drive their organizations forward in these challenging times.

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Keynote topics with Josh Linkner