Nick Jankel is an influential and internationally recognized thought leader on how leadership, technology (e.g., AI, Blockchain, CRISPR), and innovation can — and should — transform business and society in an increasingly complex, disrupted, and digital world. He is a sought-after and highly experienced global keynote speaker and leadership futurist who motivates, inspires, and, above all, transforms audiences to switch on and step up all over the world. He helps simplify complexity, take the pain out of change, and blast through the barriers that block innovation and transformation.
Nick is the co-founder and the CEO of global leadership consultancy Switch On Leadership, where he advises CEOs and top teams at organizations like Unilever, LEGO, Syngenta, and Microsoft and supports Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 organizations to unleash transformational leaders who drive adaptive change, breakthrough innovation, and business transformation.
Nick draws upon his advanced leadership curriculum, disruptive innovation methodology, and unique transformation approach to meet keynote briefs — covering important topics like purpose, change mindsets, leadership storytelling, and the Future Of Work. Sensitive to cultural diversity, he has delivered customized keynotes and workshops from San Francisco to Shanghai. His ideas are routinely called imaginative, rigorous, crucial, and transformative.
Nick has been a geek about change all his life, captivated from age 13 by the central challenge of leadership and innovation: how to change ourselves and, in doing so, change our organizations and the world. As well as lecturing at Yale, Oxford, SciencesPo, and LBS, Nick has been a transformation coach on two TV shows, coaching celebs (MTV) and addicts (BBC). He has written five books on leadership and transformation, which have won awards and been translated into Chinese. Nick has been featured in the Financial Times, The Times, and The Economist and has advised national governments on innovation.
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 shifted into consumer psychology and brand strategy for Playstation and Nike at TBWA/ Chiat Day, a top 5 global ad agency specializing in disruption. At age 24, Nick was blown away by the democratizing force of digital technology and left the safety of employment to become a serial purpose-led entrepreneur.
Founded in 1999, his first start-up was a creative management consultancy that initially supported dot coms to transform business plans into successful customer-focused innovations. As the boom went to doom, Nick pivoted the company to become a world- class disruptive innovation consultancy. Evolving a sophisticated innovation methodology that fuses scientific rigor with creative imagination, he has since led c.100 breakthrough innovation projects for orgs like Microsoft, Diageo, Disney, Novartis, Vodafone, Genentech, and the BBC — which resulted in the most successful TV show in history.
After years of navigating mindsets and cultures resistant to innovation, he expanded his work into leadership development. He has since developed a rigorous and inspiring Self- to-System leadership curriculum that can ensure leaders wield powerful innovation and transformation to their full potential. Over 100,000+ leaders — from organizations like Intel, Syngenta, Unilever, BootsWalgreens, AstraZeneca, Zalando, and HSBC — have used elements of the curriculum to master both the inner and outer games of leadership.
The leadership and innovation programs and products that Nick delivers sit atop Bio- Transformation®, an original theory for unlocking concrete change in individuals and organizations as fast as humanly possible. Nick’s life’s work, Bio-Transformation® leverages the latest brain, behavioral, and complexity sciences — along with wisdom and practices from various traditions — to help leaders work with, not against, human biologies and cultures to drive lasting change.
As well as his work innovating business innovation and leadership services, Nick founded a purpose-led multimedia production company that developed network TV shows on transformation in Los Angeles and London, a peer coaching web app, and an innovative mindfulness experience (for BBC Learning) that toured the UK and was visited by 250,000 people. A social enterprise, the company also delivered accessible coaching and leadership programs aimed at unemployed youth from marginalized Black and Asian communities across impoverished areas of the UK.
Nick has since optimized these early prototypes within his company’s Leadership Innovation Lab, which designs scaleable tools and toolkits to empower and elevate leaders. They are currently in stealth mode developing a Generative AI-driven platform to provide the leaders who want to change the world — but can’t access cutting-edge coaching and leadership development — with personalized interventions that support them.
Nick has been as server at McDonald’s, a science teacher in Zimbabwe, and a bookseller at Daunt Books. He has triumphed over entrepreneurial burn-out, learned to master a debilitating chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia, and has survived three recessions — and counting — as a start-up founder. He is a dedicated father of two boys and is married to his business partner.
"Thank you so much for your brilliant keynote, it gave our participants so much to discuss. Being in “Create and Connect” Mode seems to have taken a life of its own as a reference point for our leadership. Exactly what we wanted. Our CEO has quoted your thinking to the global leadership team: “Please don’t wait for anyone to tell you what to do or to give you permission and, remember, you as our most senior leaders hold the keys to our future success".
Group HR Director, Oxford University Press
"An absolutely remarkable speech. It was truly the most mindblowing one l've attended in quite some time."
Manager, Advanced Knowledge Consulting
"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."
"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
"A standing ovation! I am already sharing the insights with my leadership team. Thank you!"
CEO, Unilever Health & Wellbeing Division
"I am 65 and have attended a massive amount of presentations all over the world but really NEVER was so captivated and interested as this morning at yours! You are astonishing the way you present, speak, stand, move, and transmit your amazing ideas! You are one of a kind! Bravo and many thanks for having shared your ideas.”
Conference 'Integral 2022'
“A WONDERFUL job today. People found your talk so inspiring. Someone I work with said “I feel seen this morning.” The talk was motivating, thoughtful, and so well delivered. THANK YOU!”
Director, McCormick & Co
“Still jazzed from your McCormick presentation this morning!”
VP, McCormick & Co
“I consider myself a DEI champion and I had not heard anyone explain diversity challenges like you did.”
Director, Association of Financial Markets in Europe
“Fantastic speaker with passion and enthusiasm, highly engaging and able to simplify complexity.”
Commander, Ministry of Defense
“Great talk delivered succinctly & dynamically. Especially loved the reference to free style rap - as a life longer lover of hip hop it was great for someone to acknowledge the skill it takes.”
“Nick's passion for the topic brought everyone along with him and made the audience want to understand more.”
“Without doubt one of the highlights of the two days. Thought-provoking; insightful; enjoyable.”
“I really enjoyed your presentation in Napa! I'd like to share some of the insights with my leadership team. Thank you!”
CEO, Unilever Health & Wellbeing
“A thoroughly engaging keynote, extremely thought provoking that really makes us question how we lead and are led by others. Thank you Nick!”
“It was wonderful to hear from you today. These fundamentals of leadership are super helpful to remind ourselves and help us develop our North Star.”
Digital Marketing Lead, Nutrafol
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