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Josh Linkner

Award-Winning Entrepreneur & Creativity Expert


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 five-time successful tech entrepreneur 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. +

As an author, Linkner has published four books, including 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. His latest book, Hacking Innovation, is a powerful look into redirecting the techniques of cybercriminals to drive meaningful outcomes in our companies, careers and communities.

Linkner has 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 honoured twice as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and as a President Barack Obama Champion of Change award recipient.

Linkner 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 Review, CNN, and The New York Times. --


Josh Linkner delivers inspiring and actionable keynotes to drive meaningful outcomes worldwide. He is the perfect balance between energizing and practical; entertaining and result-focused; fun and impactful. As an innovation keynote speaker, New York Times Bestselling Author, successful five-time entrepreneur, venture capitalist, national columnist and well-respected jazz musician, Josh blends deep, real-world experience with a magnetic stage presence to help people and organizations thrive. Every talk is customized to drive the biggest possible impact, combining engaging stories, gorgeous visuals, and practical techniques that push audiences to jumpstart their creative energy and solve challenges in fresh, innovative ways.

Speaker Categories:

  • Disruptive Innovation
  • Innovation and Creativity
  • Leadership
  • Entrepreneurship & Small Business
  • CEOs, Upper Management & Business Leaders
  • Information Technology


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. --


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. --


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. --


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. --


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. --


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. --

Josh Linkner is represented by K&M Productions. For more information, Josh Linkner's speaking schedule, fees & booking speaker Josh Linkner, contact us.

What Clients are Saying

Thank you a million times over—you nailed it with the presentation yesterday and it was spot on for our team! You sparked so many follow-on discussions yesterday and were a continued theme throughout our meeting—people are already brainstorming great new ideas about how to implement small innovations and use your tips to break down barriers on our teams.

–American Express


Thank you a million times over—you nailed it with the presentation yesterday and it was spot on for our team! You sparked so many follow-on discussions yesterday and were a continued theme throughout our meeting—people are already brainstorming great new ideas about how to implement small innovations and use your tips to break down barriers on our teams.

–American Express

The message about creativity and innovation was excellent. It was clear, well researched, engaging and kept the attention of the audience. Your use of stories, facts and humor made the time fly by. I had several people come up to me afterword and thank me for having you come in and speak to the group. They were energized and excited to put the principles in play.

–Quicken Loans

We truly appreciate how your keynote talk set the stage for the day and inspired the audience with innovative ideas, empowered them with the knowledge we can all be creative, and how you customized your session so we all felt that you knew FedEx intimately and were talking directly to us. Great job! Really enjoyed it.


I felt compelled to let you know how blown away I was by your presentation to us yesterday in London.  It was quite literally one of the most motivating and thought provoking 2 hours of my professional career.


Josh did a tremendous job and his creativity message resonated perfectly with the audience and was right on target.

–National Association of REALTORS

Thank you for not only a great presentation but for challenging our team to make that next step forward. I got stopped multiple times and the feedback was very positive, 'That was great', 'Wow – he really got us', 'A great wake-up call', 'Makes me want to do better’. A big thank you for your straight forward handling of the questions. Even the questions were a bit of a wake-up call for the team. Your energy, story, tips and drive were exceptional.

–Steve Smith, Vice President IT, GEICO

Josh has unmatched ability to embrace innovation. At his repeated visits to Viacom, Josh has consistently offered the strategic ideas and practical techniques necessary to drive creative thinking.

–Nia Bates, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Viacom

On a dreary winter afternoon, Josh raised the energy level at our quarterly team meeting with thought-provoking discussion on creativity and leadership. His passion is contagious. The concepts discussed were supported with both qualitative and quantitative data so it appealed to both left and right-brained colleagues. We were engaged throughout and left the meeting fired up!

–Deloitte Consulting

I just wanted to drop you an email to say a big thanks again for the input today. The feedback I have heard has been incredibly positive, and I think it really contributed to the strong outcomes for the real work we went on to do over the day.  It was definitely the first time I’ve heard someone from Sony Japan feedback to a room as Yoda! I also really appreciated how you tailored you message to the audience from the discussions in the weeks prior to the program.




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