Josh Linkner

  • Five-time Tech Entrepreneur and Hyper-Growth CEO
  • Two-time NY Times Bestselling Author of Hacking Innovation, Disciplined Dreaming and The Road to Reinvention
  • Founder and Former CEO/Chairman of EPrize
  • Founding Partner of Detroit Venture Partners

To Josh Linkner, creativity and innovation are the lifeblood of all human progress, and as such, he’s spent his career harnessing the spirit of creative disruption. The four-time successful tech entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and CEO delivers a clear call to action — it’s better to innovate and disrupt your organization before your competition does. The riskiest move companies can make today is hugging the status quo — believing the future will be like the past is the fast road to obsolescence. Consistently ranked one of the top speakers on innovation, creativity, and reinvention, Josh brings an artistic flair while delivering powerful, inspiring, and practical keynotes and workshops.  His presentations are customized for every event, ensuring a highly relevant and valuable outcome. Through his talks, Josh has inspired over 100,000 people across four continents. 

 
  

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Rave Reviews About Josh Linkner
In today’s fiercely competitive global marketplace, the most important resource any business has is the creative thinking of its people. Josh Linkner lays out a road map that will guide individuals, teams, and companies to higher levels of creativity. It is a journey that will lead to better ideas and breakthrough thinking—and those who take it will also have a lot of fun along the way.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Josh Linkner
  • Cengage
  • Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group
  • eBay
  • CBRE
  • Garden Fresh Foods
  • Heineken
  • Oakwood Health System
  • ABC Television
  • Groupon
  • Calvin College
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Explore Josh Linkner's Talks
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HACKING INNOVATION: The new 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, NY Times bestselling au ...

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, NY Times bestselling author and 5-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.

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 ...

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 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 even heard of
  • Build a culture that celebrates fresh thinking and embraces new ideas

Gravity-Defying Leadership: 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 fresh, creative ideas needs to flow from every l ...

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 fresh, creative 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 sei ...

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, 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:

  • 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 Improvisionational Thinking from the Jazz Stage to the Business World

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 ...

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 organization’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 inspired by jazz musicians (a/k/a “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 5 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 Streetfighter's Guide to Reinvention: Lessons from the Front Lines 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 Execu ...

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. 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 4 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 5 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 ‘streetfigher’ mentality — on scrappiness, determination, resilience and conquering adversity

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<p>Josh Linkner Blog, Fresh Ideas Hand-Crafted Weekly</p>

Josh Linkner Blog, Fresh Ideas Hand-Crafted Weekly

From chess moves, to empathy, to robot bosses, you can count on JOSH LINKNER for fresh ideas to disrupt conventional thinking and to give you the edge to take your life and business productivity to the next level.  Each week Josh takes a deeper look into myriad issues and extracts the wisdom that can give you excellent new perspectives over your challenges and put you ahead of the pack.

Read Josh Linkner's blog posts here...
<p>Innovation lessons from <span>Pokémon GO</span></p>

Innovation lessons from Pokémon GO

Whether you are crazy for Pokémon GO or just being driven crazy by it, there are great innovation lessons to be learned from Nintendo's new game that has inspired gamers & non-gamers to join the global craze. Check out this fantastic post by JOSH LINKNER, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Road to Reinvention. Josh outlines the 4 key innovation philosophies that Nintendo used, and so can you, to drive your team or company to new heights. Josh has delivered thousands of speeches to over 250,000 people & has provided them with tools to face new challenges. He can do the same for your organization.

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<p>Planners' Favorite Speakers from 2015</p>

Planners' Favorite Speakers from 2015

In their Sept 2015 Meetings & Conventions research poll, M&C asked meeting professionals, "Who is the single best speaker you have heard in the past two years?" Expert on Creative Disruption and Innovation JOSH LINKNER was on the list. No surprise there considering he gets rave reviews like this comment from an attendee at a meeting sponsored by Heineken:  "It was quite literally one of the most motivating and through provoking two hours of my professional career. I was blown away!The four-time successful tech entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and CEO delivers a clear call to action — it’s better to innovate and disrupt your organization before your competition does. 

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Biography

To Josh Linkner, creativity and innovation are the lifeblood of all human progress, and as such, he’s spent his career harnessing the spirit of creative disruption. The four-time successful tech entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and CEO delivers a clear call to action — it’s better to innovate and disrupt your organization before your competition does. The riskiest move companies can make today is hugging the status quo — believing the future will be like the past is the fast road to obsolescence.

Entrepreneur & CEO. Josh was the founder and CEO of four successful technology companies over the last 24 years. Josh is Founder and former CEO of ePrize, the world’s largest interactive promotion agency that provides digital marketing services for 74 of the top 100 brands. Prior to ePrize, he was founder/CEO of three other successful technology companies. Each of his four startups enjoyed successful exits with a combined value of over $200 million. He’s been involved in the launch and growth of over 100 businesses, raised over $150 million of venture capital, employed thousands of people and fought through the dot-com crash, 9/11 and the 2008 financial meltdown. His extraordinary business accomplishments led him to be honored twice as the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” and as a President Barack Obama “Champion of Change” Award recipient.

Author & Thought Leader. Josh’s first book, Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity was a New York Times bestseller and named one of 2011’s top ten business titles by Amazon.com. It is now available in 13 languages. His second book, The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation, was also named a NY Times bestseller in its first week on bookshelves and was named the 2014 Best Leadership/Management Book by 800-CEO-READ. He is a regular columnist for Forbes, The Detroit Free Press, and Inc. Magazine. His work has been featured consistently in the media, including The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business ReviewUSA Today, and The New York Times.

Venture Capital Investor. As Founding Partner of Detroit Venture Partners, Josh remains at the cutting edge of technology and entrepreneurship.  He oversees a $60 million venture fund investing in tech startups with the goal of revitalizing his hometown of Detroit, Michigan.

Keynote Speaker. Consistently ranked one of the top speakers on innovation, creativity, and reinvention, Josh brings an artistic flair while delivering powerful, inspiring, and practical keynotes and workshops.  His presentations are customized for every event, ensuring a highly relevant and valuable outcome. Through his talks, Josh has inspired over 100,000 people across four continents. 

Jazz Musician. Beginning at age eight, Josh became a dedicated musician. He began performing professionally at age 13, and later attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music.  Still a professional-level jazz guitarist, Josh often injects live musical performances into his keynote presentations in a unique and memorable fashion. He brings a jazz musician’s commitment to creativity and improvisation to the business world, offering a distinctive perspective to growth and leadership.

Detroiter. Deeply passionate about his hometown, Josh is playing a key role in the much-publicized turnaround of Detroit, Michigan. A multi-generational Detroiter, he is working on the front lines to reinvent his troubled city.