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At a glance:Nick Jankel is an influential and internationally-recognized thought leader on how leadership, tech (e.g. Al, Blockchain, CRISP), purpose, and innovation can-and should-shape the future of business and society in an increasingly complex, disrupted, and digital world.
Nick is a sought-after and highly-experienced professional keynote speaker and leadership futurist who motivates, inspires, and transforms audiences globally.
Nick is a groundbreaking theorist and practitioner of transformational leadership and the purpose-led and digital-first innovations, high-performing teams, and regenerative business models that it can unlock. A Cambridge-educated medic-and a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded 5 purpose-led enterprises-Nick has advised 100,000+ senior leaders in organizations as diverse as Nike, Novartis, and No.10 Downing and has led 100+ breakthrough innovation projects for firms like Microsoft, Unilever, and Diageo (including catalyzing the most successful TV show of all time).
Nick is a dedicated, sought-after, and highly-experienced professional keynote speaker renowned for his enlivening, incisive, and actionable talks at the intersection of technology, transformation, and commercial realities. Nick motivates, inspires, and transforms senior leaders, people managers, and diverse conference audiences- across the US, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific-with powerful, moving, and interactive keynotes.
In a speaking career spanning over twenty years working on the frontlines of disruption in which he has crafted a unique fusion of exhilarating ideas, evocative stories, and an energizing stage presence he has delivered keynotes for organizations like Google, Pfizer, LEGO, Tesco, Kellogg’s, AstraZeneca, NHS, Schroder’s, WWF, and CHRO Summit.
Nick is the co-founder and the CEO of the global leadership consultancy Switch On Leadership (SOL). SOL designs and delivers tailored, neuroscience-led, and impact-oriented leadership development, teamwork, and innovation programs for a world brighter-led.
In this role, Nick is an advisor to CEOs and top teams at organizations like Unilever, Syngenta, and Microsoft and, with his colleagues, supports Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 organizations to unleash transformative leaders, breakthrough innovations, and Al-enabled regenerative business models. His aim is to ensure organizations forge a flourishing future for themselves and all life on the planet-rather than fail it.
Nick has lectured at Yale, Oxford, and LBS, has been a TV coach with celebs (MTV) & addicts (BBC), has written 5 books, has been featured in the FT, Times, Economist, and Guardian, and advised major governments on innovation leadership.
Nick’s life’s work has been to evolve a breakthrough innovation approach to deliver sustainable yet exponential and digitally-driven business models; a Self-to-System™ leadership curriculum that empowers leaders to consciously co-create a flourishing future for themselves and all life on the planet.
Nick draws upon SOL’s advanced leadership curriculum, disruptive innovation methodology, and unique transformative micro-tools and practices to meet keynote briefs-covering topics such as purpose, transformation mindsets, storytelling, and ethical influencing. Sensitive to cultural diversity, he has delivered customized keynotes and workshops from San Francisco to Shanghai. His ideas are routinely called imaginative, rigorous, bold, important, and transformative.
Nick has been a geek about human development all his life, captivated from age 13 by the central challenge of leadership and innovation: to change ourselves and, in doing so, change the world. Originally a medic, Nick received a Triple First (summa cum laude) in Medicine and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge before studying clinical medicine at UCL. Nick pivoted into brand strategy and consumer psychology for Playstation and Nike at TBWA/Chiat Day, a top 5 global ad agency specializing in disruption. Aged 24, Nick was blown away by the democratizing force of tech and left the safety of employment to become a lifetime purpose-led entrepreneur.
Founded in 1999, his first start-up was an innovation agency and accelerator that initially supported dot coms to transform business plans into successful customer-focused businesses. As the boom went to doom, the founders transformed the company to become a world-class disruptive and digital-first innovation consultancy. Evolving a sophisticated innovation method that fuses scientific rigor with creative rebellion, he has since led 100 breakthrough innovation projects for orgs like Microsoft, Diageo, Disney, Novartis, Vodafone, Genentech, and the BBC.
After years of navigating resistant mindsets and cultures-and grokking the unsustainability of 99% of commercial innovations-he reinvented and retooled the method to deliver sustainable, yet still exponential, products and business models. He then spent many years unfolding a Self-to-System™ curriculum to ensure leaders can wield such powerful tools to unlock their full potential. Over 100,000+ leaders from orgs like Intel, Syngenta, Unilever, Boots Walgreens, AstraZeneca, Zalando, and HSBC-have used elements of the curriculum, moving towards mastery of both the inner and outer games of leadership.
Nick founded a purpose-led media production company in Los Angeles that developed network TV shows on transformation as well as the world’s first peer-to-peer transformational coaching platform for BBC Learning. He also co-founded a social enterprise that delivered accessible empowerment and leadership programs for unemployed youth and young adults from marginalized Black and Asian communities.
Nick developed these early prototypes within SOL’s Leadership Innovation Lab, which designs scalable and digital tools and toolkits to empower and elevate leaders at low cost. They are currently in stealth mode scoping an Al-led platform that will provide the leaders who want to change the world-but can’t access cutting-edge coaching and development-with personalized leadership journeys that support them.
The leadership and innovation programs and products that Nick has developed sit atop Bio-Transformation®, an original theory co-developed by Nick for unlocking concrete change in individuals and organizations as fast as humanly possible. Bio-Transformation uses the latest brain, behavioral, and complexity sciences to work with, not against, human biologies and cultures.
Prior to all this, Nick was a server at McDonald’s at 16, a science teacher in Zimbabwe when he was 18, and a bookseller at Daunt Books in London. He has beaten entrepreneurial burn-out, learned to master a debilitating chronic health condition, and has survived three recessions as a start-up founder. He is a dedicated father of two boys and is married to the love of his life.
•Innovation killers & drivers
•Innovation Mindsets & Cultures
•Doing Disruptive innovation
•Regenerative brands and business model
•The future of work
•The future of business
•Creative and ethical uses of digital tech
•AI , innovation and leadership
•Parenting & leadership
•Storytelling for leaders
•Leading in crisis & complexity
•Leadership for people managers
•Resilience and beyond
•High performing teams
Wonderful! The talk was motivating, thoughtful, and so well delivered. Many colleagues said they felt seen for the first time.
— Director, McCormick & Co
An inspiring and eye-opening keynote. So helpful to regain trust that even in an unpredictable and rapidly-changing world, we all can succeed by changing ourselves, challenging our assumptions, reflecting, adapting, learning from mistakes, making creative responses, and acting fast.
— CEO, Spar
Nick transformed our event with an engaging and evocative talk that hit all the nails that we put out there. It set a perfect scene for the remainder!
— Head of Marketing EMEA, Syngenta