Greg Brandeau

Innovation, Leadership, Management, Technology

Travels from Los Angeles, California, USA

Greg Brandeau's speaking fee falls within range:
$30,000 to $50,000

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Greg Brandeau Profile

  • Brandeau specializes in leading innovation, drawing from over two decades in Silicon Valley, including executive positions at Pixar, Disney, and NeXT.

  • Brandeau shows leaders how to structure and facilitate the bottom-up approach to innovation that businesses need to flourish in the 21st century.

  • Brandeau is a co-author of Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation and founding partner in the leadership consulting firm, Paradox Strategies.
  • As Pixar executive and Disney CTO, Greg Brandeau spent years at the forefront of innovation. Drawing from over two decades of hands-on management experience in Silicon Valley, he offers a unique focus on management techniques leaders can implement to drive innovation in a sustainable way.

    Brandeau learned managerial best practices while working under Steve Jobs at NeXT, where he was Director of Operations. Upon Jobs’ recommendation, he transferred companies to help grow another one of Jobs’ organizations, Pixar. During his tenure there, Brandeau served as Director of Technology and Senior Vice President, overseeing the systems and technology that made Pixar’s groundbreaking animation style possible.

    While pondering how Pixar had become the only studio in movie history to achieve 5 consecutive mega-blockbusters, Brandeau observed that a company’s ability to consistently turn out novel ideas or products hinged on senior leadership’s capacity to harness their employees’ talent for the company’s collective identity. These ideas and practices are fleshed out in his book, Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation, co-authored with leadership researchers, Dr. Linda Hill, Emily Truelove, and Kent Lineback. The business world’s response to Collective Genius was so overwhelmingly positive that Brandeau and his coauthors founded leadership research and advisory firm Paradox Strategies.

    Brandeau is the former President and COO of MakerMedia. He has served on the board of directors of the cutting edge game studio, Glu Mobile since 2015.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      Greg Brandeau is a founding partner of Paradox Strategies, co-author of Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation, and the former Chief Technology Officer for The Walt Disney Studios and Vice President of Technology for Pixar Animation Studios. Greg is an accomplished technology leader and veteran of Silicon Valley with over 25 years of experience.

      Early in his career, Greg worked with Steve Jobs at NeXT Inc. and served as Director of Operations for the company. NeXT was focused on creating powerful computers for business and educational purposes and ultimately sold to Apple Computer. Later, Greg joined another company that Jobs owned – Pixar. Initially, Greg served as the Vice President of Computer Operations.

      In 2004, Greg became SVP of Technology. In his role, he oversaw the development of cutting-edge technology that established Pixar as an entertainment powerhouse, responsible for several of the highest grossing films of all time and winner of Academy Awards. Greg led the transformation of the digital “pens and pencils” that artists at Pixar used to create films, and improved the quality of the complex networks, financial systems, grid computing, and backup support for the company. After the sale of Pixar to Disney for $7.4 billion, Greg became EVP and CTO of Disney Studios with responsibility for leading the development and implementation of technology strategies, innovations, and investments that supported film, music, and theatrical operations. Greg focused on developing a disruptive technology and execution strategies as well as acquiring and deploying technology investments that supported the Studio’s growth and development of visual content.

      Among his other career milestones, Greg serves on the Board of Directors of Glu Mobile, Advisory Board of Infrascale and Calit2, and on the Visiting Committee of the Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

      Greg earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from MIT. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he continued his education at The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, where he received an MBA.

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    Greg Brandeau's Speech Descriptions

    Management mastermind, Greg Brandeau helps organizations set the stage for innovation. Brandeau works with leaders, equipping them with tools and strategies to hire the right people and create a context that encourages them to propose and test their best ideas, yielding an environment where continuous innovation is possible and sustainable. Drawing from years at the helm of one of the world’s most successful companies, Brandeau’s concrete tools and practical advice will inspire you to rethink your role as a leader and make the shift from principle actor to a skilled stage manager proficient in finding your players’ gifts and getting them to work well off each other.

    Leading for Innovation
    Company-wide innovation begins with great leadership.

    However, as Brandeau and his co-authors discovered when researching the recently published book, Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation, unleashing company-wide creativity takes a special type of leadership – one that differs from the profile typically associated with “good” leadership.

    In this presentation, Brandeau will discuss the common leadership characteristics and practices he found when studying a wide range of innovative organizations such as Google, eBay, Pixar, and Pfizer. He’ll provide specific examples of how great leaders foster innovation at all level of their organizations by:

    - Facilitating creative thinking and diverse opinions
    - Encouraging smart risks and viewing mistakes as learning opportunities
    - Proactively managing change, promoting honest communications, and preserving culture fundamentals
    - Brandeau will also share numerous anecdotes from his own career, which includes leadership roles at NeXT, Pixar, and The Walt Disney Studios. Attendees will leave with new insights on the correlation between leadership and innovation and ideas for how they can help their own executive teams build cultures of innovation.

    Leading Innovation: tapping into your organisation’s “Collective Genius"
    From Toy Story to Finding Nemo to Walle-E and Brave, Pixar has continually redefined the animated film and elevated our expectations. As SVP at Pixar, and later as CTO of Disney (now the parent of Pixar), Greg Brandeau drove the technology innovation that made these films possible.

    An experienced practitioner at creating and sustaining a culture of innovation, Greg’s new book, Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation, examines the lessons he has learned over 20 years and profiles successful innovation leaders of other companies as diverse as Volkswagen, Google and Pfizer.

    In his talk, Greg unveils what makes innovation-focused leadership special and how these leaders create an environment a culture where innovation is allowed to happen again and again — an environment where people are both willing and able to do the hard work that innovative problem solving requires.

    What People are Saying about Seeing Greg Speak

    Rating Entries

    Greg – it was really nice to meet you yesterday and I wanted to thank you, on behalf of [. . . ] and myself for a job very well done. You had us all on the edge of our seats (literally) with that data “loss” story! And you gave us all a lot to think about in challenging traditional “consensus” decision making and much more. I spoke with a number of people at the cocktail event and the talk was quite a hit! I’m sure you are used to great feedback, but the talk really was a perfect complement to our “Bold HR” theme (and I loved the humane resources piece!).


    Greg has consistently been a provocative, riveting catalyst for my clients. His ideas and presentations have helped instigate growth and debate in the programs he has participated in. My clients are among the most sophisticated families in the world and do not suffer fools well — I’ve never had a moment’s concern that Greg’s reflections on Collective Genius would fail to hold their attention; his ideas have a ripple effect across generations, time, and POVs.


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    Books by Greg Brandeau:

    Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation

    Why can some organizations innovate time and again, while most cannot? You might think the key to innovation is attracting exceptional creative talent. Or making the right investments. Or breaking down organizational silos. All of these things may help—but there’s only one way to ensure sustained innovation: you need to lead it—and with a special kind of leadership. Collective Genius shows you how. “Collective Genius” will not only inspire you; it will give you the concrete, practical guidance you need to build innovation into the fabric of your business.

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