Beau Lotto Profile

  • Dr. Beau Lotto is a Neuroscientist, author, and entrepreneur.

  • Founder and CEO of the Lab of Misfits AR and a three-time main-stage TED speaker.

  • His unique and exceptional skills enable him to empower and motivate corporate audiences to challenge their perceptions about change.
  • Globally renowned neuroscientist Beau Lotto brings innovative science to the study of human perception. His work takes place at the intersection between science and the arts, with a philosophical understanding of the way humans perceive the world around them being just as important to him as a scientific one.

    Beau’s work comes from Lottolab, which has become a combination of science lab and art studio. In addition to high-level scientific experiments covered by major scientific publications it produces astonishing visual illusions and installations which have exhibited in the Hayward Gallery, the Serpentine Gallery and the Science Gallery in Dublin among other spaces.

    Researching into not just human vision but also that of bees and robots, Beau collaborates with artists, musicians, fashion designers and others to find exciting and innovative ways of working. He is particularly passionate about allowing children to develop revolutionary ways of seeing science and learning, and his workshops allow schoolchildren to design their own experiments and analyze their own data.

    The Lottotlab has had a two-year residency in London’s Science Museum that led to two BBC2 Horizon programs, to programs on the National Geographic Channel and the world’s first science paper authored by primary school children.

    Beau has brought his work on perception to lectures for TED, the RSA series and the BBC. His interactive illusion and game filled lectures have been enjoyed by banks, government agencies and universities including Harvard.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      According to Dr. Beau Lotto, “Once you understand how perception works, you can’t but help see yourself in the world in a different way and engage in it in a different way.” Renowned neuroscientist and entrepreneur, Beau Lotto, has spent decades studying the way we see—and in his three-time mainstage TED talks with over 7 million views, he shows us how to see differently. As Lotto puts it, “the brain never sees the world as it actually is, only the world that is useful to see.” By illuminating these principles of perception, Lotto helps companies overcome biases, embrace uncertainty, transform their approach to creativity, and unlock innovation.

      Lotto is the founder and CEO of The Lab of Misfits, the world’s first neuro-design studio that seeks to “break down the walls of the traditional laboratory” and study humans in their natural habitats. Part lab, part creative studio, Lab of Misfits takes a disruptive approach to research, partnering with brands to blend science, art and performance to explore pivotal principles in current culture. Their “experiential experiments” invite consumers to engage with brands and offer brands science-backed insights that foster innovation. The measurable insights gleaned from these experiments have led to organizational breakthroughs for clients as diverse as Cirque du Soleil (awe and wonder), L’Oréal (empowerment), The Charles Koch Institute (tolerance), BCW Public Relations (insight), and The London Science Museum (curiosity).

      Lotto is a professor of neuroscience at the University of London, and a visiting scholar at New York University. He is the author of Why We See What We Do, and Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently, which explores the surprising science of creativity and unveils the unexpected relationship between perception, reality and innovation. In addition to his role at The Lab of Misfits, Lotto is the Founder and CEO of the sound-based AR company Acoustigram.

      Lotto spoken at large-scale events such as the G8 Innovation Conference, as well as for companies like WIRED and Google. He has contributed to television and radio documentaries produced by influential media such as the BBC, National Geographic, Netflix, and PBS.

    Beau Lotto Speaking Videos

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    Beau Lotto's Speech Descriptions

    Beau Lotto speaks on leadership, creativity and innovation as well as personal motivation; he understands the pressures within the world of business and asks his audience to see differently, not just to change their perception of themselves but of the world. He explains that his ambition is for his audience to know less at the end of his talk than they did at the beginning, because that will indicate that they have started to ask questions and as he says: “Anything interesting begins with doubt.”

    Beau can also provide an intriguing presentation on infographics, explaining how they enable the brain to construct a useful narrative from seemingly disparate elements, thereby taking the first essential step towards creativity.


    One of the most dangerous things one can experience in life is doubt. During evolution, if your ancestors weren’t sure whether that ‘thing over there’ was a predator, well … it was too late for them. Thus, we hate doubt … and that’s usually a good idea (throughout evolutionary history).

    We are genetically programmed to do so: Sea-sickness, and indeed most of our mental health problems being direct manifestations of our fear. The deep irony, however, is that nothing interesting begins without it. So taking the risk to step into uncertainty is an essential aspect of adaptation, which we know is at the root of success in all natural systems. What’s more, nature also tells us when it’s best to risk uncertainty. So how to deal with uncertainty is the fundamental problem that your brain evolved to solve. Here we discuss in a highly experiential way how and why everything is uncertain, and nature’s solution to it.

    Adapt or Die

    The future is unknown. It always has been and always will be. Whether technological innovation, wars, climate change, voting … or a pandemic, every decision an organisation and leader makes is, in one way or another, directly related to uncertainty.

    In nature, the most successful systems do not just adapt, they are adaptable. Indeed, adaptability is the ‘skill’ most sought by leaders and organisations. To adapt requires stepping into uncertainty. Adapting to uncertainty is born out of a way of being … a practice … that one engages in every day at work, at home with one’s children, with one’s partner, friends, with the cashier in the grocery store.

    Only by understanding how and why you see what you do can you adapt to and lead others into uncertainty. Becoming perceptually intelligent in conflict enables leaders and their teams and organisations to succeed when others fail.


    There is no inherent value in change. Whether change is good or bad is – like everything else in life – context-dependent. Here, using principles in behavioral and perceptual neuroscience, we’ll explore what lives at the heart of change: why it’s often essential for success but equally the most feared of human activities. Indeed, to ask ‘why?’ is historically the most dangerous thing you can do. Hence, organization, businesses, religions and even our education systems are designed to reduce question-asking. And yet all revolutions (and revelations) begin with a joke (“you mean it could be different from this?”).

    See how and why questions and metaphor are mediators of change; what makes a good question; and how change – when properly pursued – has no direction or goal. Which means change is personal and – when properly considered – inevitable.


    What makes a good leader? When asked this question of a diverse audience, I’ll receive many different possible qualities that are ‘essential’. And yet, there are only three such descriptions that correlate with the success of a company. What are they and why do they matter?

    Here we will address these questions from the perspective of behavioral neuroscience, and consider a new answer: the quality of a leader is defined by how he/she leads others into uncertainty.

    How To See New Meaning In Data

    There is no inherent value in any piece of information! Data is meaningless. Why? This is because the brain deals with meaning and not information since information doesn’t tell you what to do. In fact, THE fundamental challenge that the brain evolved to solve is to take meaningless data and make it meaningful. This is true even at the most basic level of our senses: seeing light. Which is why we never see the world in any direct sense. Instead what we see is the meaning of information grounded in our personal, cultural and evolutionary histories. And it’s the historical meaning of stuff that we literally see, experience and know (not the stuff itself).

    Here we’ll explore – and experience – how to see new meaning in data that has always been there, but remains hidden. The result will be an understanding of the principles by which the brain makes the meaningless meaningful.

    What People are Saying about Seeing Beau Speak

    Rating Entries

    “Captivating from the moment he took the stage during our recent Leadership Summit, Beau delivered a fascinating and illuminating presentation that set the tone and became a major topic of conversation thereafter. Through his unique perspective, he challenged each and every attendee to think differently about how they see, experience, and engage with people, and the world at large. Finding the right speaker who can engage such a large group (100+ people) is no easy task but Beau delivered – and has left a lasting and thought-provoking impression on us all.”
    – John Ferguson, President & CEO, Purolator

    “The initial request was to kick start the Summit in a different way and to radically challenge the leaders to “unlearn” social conditioning and personal perspectives and approach the following days at the conference with a more open mindset to help encourage different solutions to business challenges. Beau’s deep knowledge and insight on his topic shines through; and is perfect to support audiences in breaking out of old habits of thinking and embracing more diverse ones. In my opinion, the topics that Beau touches on is the future for healthy organisations and I would say his content is relevant to any business that wants to shake up their teams to think differently, embrace change and recognise the beauty in stepping out of constraints.”
    – Abi Humayun; Co-Founder / Director of Clients & Activations, Boeringer Ingelheim

    “Your keynote presentation was the top-rated session of ISF Congress in Rotterdam. Your session delivered exactly what we needed from a great keynote. Members were entertained by your stylish delivery and inspired by your content. Member quotes included the following:

    “Great and interesting speech, bringing your own way of thinking and approaching things on to a new way. Never thought of it the way it was presented.” “Engaging and inspiring “ “Fascinating and engaging! What a great start to the day.”
    – Steve Dobson; Chief Operations Director, Information Security Forum Limited

    “Beau is a perfect, positive start to the day.

    I have chaired conferences for over 20 years and this is undoubtedly one of the best keynotes I have ever seen. Beau began the second day of our conference – when people may be low on energy – and within moments over 800 people were engaged. By the end of the talk, they were also informed, challenged and inspired. Beau provided the hope that change is possible, along with a road map to making it happen. Our delegates left the plenary session feeling positive and primed for the rest of the day. Very few experts can also speak, entertain and inspire. Beau does.”
    – Donald Taylor, Founder, Learning Technologies Conference, London

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    Books by Beau Lotto:

    Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently

    Beau Lotto, the world-renowned neuroscientist, entrepreneur, and two-time TED speaker, takes us on a tour of how we perceive the world, and how disrupting it leads us to create and innovate.

    Perception is the foundation of human experience, but few of us understand why we see what we do, much less how. By revealing the startling truths about the brain and its perceptions, Beau Lotto shows that the next big innovation is not a new technology: it is a new way of seeing.

    In his first major book, Lotto draws on over two decades of pioneering research to explain that our brain didn’t evolve to see the world accurately. It can’t! Visually stunning, with entertaining illustrations and optical illusions throughout, and with clear and comprehensive explanations of the science behind how our perceptions operate, Deviate will revolutionize the way you see yourself, others and the world.

    With this new understanding of how the brain functions, Deviate is not just an illuminating account of the neuroscience of thought, behavior, and creativity: it is a call to action, enlisting readers in their own journey of self-discovery.

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