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Consultant, author and speaker Keith Yamashita helps companies turn their struggling businesses around and rebrand themselves. He helps organizations become stronger by encouraging their members to seek greatness, at the individual level, as duos and as members of society. And through his widely downloaded – more than a million and counting – Unstuck app, he helps creative individuals get out of their ruts and regain their productivity.

Yamashita co-founded SYPartners in 1994 and currently serves as its chairman. Over the past two decades, Yamashita has focused on working with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve greatness. Built from humble beginnings in a tiny San Francisco office, his company has since served clients including Apple, IBM, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, eBay, Nike and Gap. He serves on the MIT Media Lab Advisory Board, among other advisory boards, while also advising start-ups on how to achieve better things.

In addition to work with his own firm, Yamashita served as The Charles and Ray Eames Brand Fellow at IBM from 2009 to 2011. Yamashita has been published in journals including the Harvard Business Review. He has served as an on-air commentator on CNBC. Institutions where he has lectured include the Yale School of Management, Stanford Business School, Stanford Design School and the Jack F. Welch Leadership Center. He earned his MA in organizational behavior and BA in quantitative economics from Stanford University. He is the author of Unstuck: A Tool for Yourself, Your Team and Your World.

Full Profile

Keith founded, and currently serves as chairman of, SYPartners. For the past two decades, Keith Yamashita has worked alongside CEOs and their leadership teams to define—and then attain—greatness for their institutions. He has worked with leaders at Apple, IBM, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, eBay, Nike, and Gap, among others. He also serves on advisory boards, including the MIT Media Lab Advisory Board. And he often advises start-up companies and leaders of new ventures.

From 2009 to 2011, Keith served as The Charles and Ray Eames Brand Fellow at IBM—a post dedicated to driving IBM’s growth and greatness as an institution, and enabling IBMers to perform at their best. In that role, Keith worked side-by-side with leaders to formulate the company’s brand strategy and design, to deliver a year-long commemoration of IBM’s centennial around the globe, and to launch a shared agenda with the world about building a smarter planet.

Keith is an author and speaker on leadership, innovation, and design. He has published in the Harvard Business Review and several journals. Keith was an on-air commentator on CNBC on The Business of Innovation. He has lectured at the Yale School of Management, Stanford Business School, The Stanford Design School, and the Jack F. Welch Leadership Center. He holds an MA in organizational behavior and a BA in quantitative economics from Stanford University.


Keith Yamashita Speaker Videos Back to top

Keith Yamashita: Be Careful What You Wish For


On the 20th anniversary of SYPartners’ founding, its co-founder and current chairman Keith Yamashita took his audience back to the organization’s early days in San Francisco in 1994. There, he recalls, he worked alongside two partners in a tiny office sharing one telephone jack and a single Internet account. And there the man who would one day advise titans of industry sat, waiting and hoping for phone calls.

But a promising early job with Apple led to referrals, eventually leading them to work with IBM. It was there that Yamashita was offered the post of Charles and Ray Eames Brand Fellow: This post’s responsibilities entailed using design to “harness IBM’s talents to make a bigger difference.” In this post he traveled to 23 countries.

Interactions with dedicated IBMers around the world convinced Yamashita of one thing: Greatness is a choice. To help creative individuals achieve greatness, his company unveiled the free Unstuck app for use on smartphones, the web and iPad. Unstuck helps users to recognize that being “stuck” is part of the natural creative process and how they can overcome it. “Being stuck is not a pejorative thing,” he told his audience. “Creative people get stuck more than anyone else because we are aspirational in what we want to get done.

Keith Yamashita: Stuck? There's An App For That


Keith Yamashita: Working for Steve Jobs



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


Fast Company magazine has named Keith Yamashita “one of the most creative” consultants alive. As a speaker, he takes his track record in helping organizations achieve greatness and helps individuals do the same. This helps organizations with long-established patterns of behavior re-evaluate how they present themselves to the public, but also helps individuals form stronger partnerships, strengthen their organizations and make more substantial contributions to society.

This is partially based on his own experience, building a small consulting and design firm into one that has advised HP, Mercedes-Benz and Starbucks rebrand. As The Charles and Ray Eames Brand Fellow at IBM Yamashita traveled to 23 countries helping "IBMers" of widely varying backgrounds and circumstances make greater contributions. In his travels, he witnessed the determination and the ambition of IBMers around the world, and this left him with even more insights on how to achieve greatness.

Based on memorable visuals and inspirational content, Yamashita’s advice – that greatness follows those who choose it, and those who sincerely want to make a difference – will kick-start your organization.


Keith Yamashita Speaker Testimonials Back to top

Clients include:

    • Apple Computer
    • Coca-Cola
    • Disney
    • eBay
    • Gap (retail)
    • Gap Inc.
    • General Electric
    • Herman Miller
    • HP
    • IBM
    • JPMorganChase
    • Juniper Bank
    • Lifetime Television
    • Nike
    • Old Navy
    • PBS
    • PriceWaterhouseCoopers
    • Sundance




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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Clients include:

    • Apple Computer
    • Coca-Cola
    • Disney
    • eBay
    • Gap (retail)
    • Gap Inc.
    • General Electric
    • Herman Miller
    • HP
    • IBM
    • JPMorganChase
    • Juniper Bank
    • Lifetime Television
    • Nike
    • Old Navy
    • PBS
    • PriceWaterhouseCoopers
    • Sundance


Unstuck: A Tool for Yourself, Your Team, and Your World
Getting stuck is an integral part of business because the most ambitious and rewarding work is often the hardest to undertake. The challenge is knowing how to get unstuck. In this dynamic and pragmatic handbook, Keith Yamashita and Sandra Spataro share the insights, methods, stories, and best practices of the extraordinary leaders they have worked with at business giants such as IBM, Sony, Disney, HP, and Nike.

In immediately accessible terms, they identify the symptoms of being stuck, introduce readers to the Serious Seven states of "stuck"—from "Overwhelmed" to "Exhausted" to "Alone"—and offer dozens of in-the-moment tools, techniques, and examples to generate immediate ideas, whether you need to back up in order to move forward, motivate a struggling team, change your goals, or inspire yourself with a clearer picture of where you’re headed.

With a handy trim size, a vivid two-color interior, and memorable images that speak louder than words, Unstuck is a book for anyone who wants to get themselves or their team motivated and moving in the time it takes to fly from New York to D.C. Designed to be flipped through, read in chunks, and returned to again and again, Unstuck is an innovation in business literature.



Keith Yamashita: Be Careful What You Wish For


On the 20th anniversary of SYPartners’ founding, its co-founder and current chairman Keith Yamashita took his audience back to the organization’s early days in San Francisco in 1994. There, he recalls, he worked alongside two partners in a tiny office sharing one telephone jack and a single Internet account. And there the man who would one day advise titans of industry sat, waiting and hoping for phone calls.

But a promising early job with Apple led to referrals, eventually leading them to work with IBM. It was there that Yamashita was offered the post of Charles and Ray Eames Brand Fellow: This post’s responsibilities entailed using design to “harness IBM’s talents to make a bigger difference.” In this post he traveled to 23 countries.

Interactions with dedicated IBMers around the world convinced Yamashita of one thing: Greatness is a choice. To help creative individuals achieve greatness, his company unveiled the free Unstuck app for use on smartphones, the web and iPad. Unstuck helps users to recognize that being “stuck” is part of the natural creative process and how they can overcome it. “Being stuck is not a pejorative thing,” he told his audience. “Creative people get stuck more than anyone else because we are aspirational in what we want to get done.

Keith Yamashita: Stuck? There's An App For That


Keith Yamashita: Working for Steve Jobs