Josh Linkner

CEO, Creativity, Entrepreneurship, Innovation

Travels from Detroit, Michigan, USA

Josh Linkner's speaking fee falls within range:
$30,000 to $50,000

Check Josh Linkner's Availability and Fee

Josh Linkner Profile

  • Josh Linkner is a serial entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, and venture capital investor.

  • He is a professional jazz guitarist and a globally-recognized innovation expert.

  • He founded, built, and sold five tech companies at a combined value of $200+ million.
  • A professional jazz guitarist at the start of his career, Josh Linkner has a passionate belief in creativity and innovation, and his career in the business world has been rooted in exploring the power of creative disruption.

    Josh has been founder and CEO of four technology companies that he built from nothing to having a combined value of over $200 million. As well as having great success with his own companies he has also been involved in the launch, growth or financing of over a hundred others. He is passionate about rebuilding the fortunes of his beloved hometown of Detroit, Michigan and co-founded Detroit Venture Partners to invest in technology start-ups. He has mentored leaders and entrepreneurs and helped to raise around $150 million in venture capital.

    The digital promotions agency which Josh founded and of which he is CEO, ePrize, is now the largest agency of its type in the world, working with seventy-four of the top hundred brands. He has won dozens of awards for his groundbreaking innovations in digital marketing.

    In high demand for his keynote speeches, Josh not only inspires his audience but shares with them actionable strategies for success in innovation, creativity, reinvention and hyper-growth leadership. In his keynotes, he draws on material from his two 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.

    Josh has twice been named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young and has also been given the President Obama Champion of Change Award. He appears weekly in Inc. Magazine, Forbes andthe Detroit Free Press.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      Josh Linkner – a New York Times bestselling author – is a rare blend of business, art, and science.

      On the business front, he’s been the founder and CEO of five tech companies, which created over 10,000 jobs and sold for a combined value of over $200 million. He’s the co-founder and Managing Partner of Muditā (moo-DEE-tah) Venture Partners – an early-stage venture capital firm investing in groundbreaking technologies. Over the last 30 years, he’s helped over 100 startups launch and scale, creating over $1 billion in investor returns. He’s twice been named the EY Entrepreneur of The Year and is the recipient of the United States Presidential Champion of Change Award.

      While proud of his business success, his roots are in the dangerous world of jazz music. He’s been playing guitar in smoky jazz clubs for 40 years, studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and has performed over 1000 concerts around the world.

      His experiences in both business and music led him to become one of the world’s foremost experts on innovation. Josh is the co-founder and Chairman of Platypus Labs, a global research, training, and consulting firm. Today, he’s on a mission to help leaders Find A Way™ through creative problem-solving, inventive thinking, and ingenuity.

    Josh Linkner Speaking Videos

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    Josh Linkner's Speech Descriptions

    Josh Linkner brings his vast experience of applying creativity and innovation to the marketplace to his keynote speeches. He demonstrates how, in a world where previous business models are falling before the advance of creatives with nothing more than a broadband connection, existing businesses need to access their creativity.

    With a mixture of inspiration and concrete strategies, Josh explains how you can create a culture of creativity within your firm and reap the benefits. A former professional jazz musician, Josh shows how successful creative teams must improvise and harmonize together for the most effective creative outcomes.

    The Music of Business™ - What business leaders can learn about collaboration, creativity, and performance under pressure from the mysterious world of jazz.


    The mysterious and dangerous world of jazz is a caldron of spontaneous creativity. And in times of radical change and uncertainty, it serves as the perfect model for modern leadership.

    Professional jazz guitarist and prolific entrepreneur Josh Linkner connects the dots between jazz and business, helping to unlock the secrets of some of the world’s most creative geniuses. Using live jazz as a metaphor for collaborative innovation, this session is entertaining, inspiring, and directly applicable to the daily challenges we face in business.

    A fusion of live musical performance and keynote presentation, the session’s finale includes audience members “joining the band” to compose and perform a song in real-time to the delight of the audience. Cameras will flash as the entire group is dazzled by their colleagues' improvisation and spontaneous invention.

    This keynote serves leaders & teams who are
    ● Looking for an elevated experience beyond a typical keynote.
    ● Craving deeper collaboration, creativity, and performance.
    ● Seeking a way to stand out from the pack and lead in a fresh, creative manner.

    The audience will leave with
    ● The mindset and perspective of a jazz musician serving as a creative new model for business growth and results.
    ● A deeper understanding of collaborative creativity and specific tools to harness inventive thinking and artistic expression.
    ● A memorable and inspiring sense of what’s possible and how to push boundaries and barriers to achieve remarkable outcomes.
    ● The creative confidence to pursue our highest calling and to never let the music inside us die.

    Big Little Breakthroughs™ - How Small, Everyday Innovations Drive Oversized Results


    The pressure to generate big ideas can feel overwhelming. We know that bold innovations are critical in these disruptive and competitive times, but when it comes to breakthrough thinking, we often freeze up.

    Instead of shooting for a $10 billion IPO or a Nobel Prize, the most prolific innovators focus on Big Little Breakthroughs – small, creative acts that unlock massive rewards over time.

    The Big Little Breakthroughs framework provides a specific and practical approach to unlocking dormant creative capacity. Instead of wild, risky, and expensive moonshots, participants learn to unleash small, daily creative acts to drive gigantic results over time.

    In this inspiring, timely, and high-impact keynote, New York Times bestselling author and globally-recognized innovation expert Josh Linkner shows us how to de-risk the creative process, build the capacity to unlock breakthrough transformations and gain the creative confidence to take responsible risks.

    This keynote serves leaders & teams who are
    ● Aware of the need to innovate but having a hard time getting started.
    ● Responsible for creating a culture of innovation.
    ● Feeling pressure to generate breakthroughs but struggling to deliver them.

    The audience will leave with
    ● A proven framework to cultivate a high volume of innovations without the typical risk.
    ● Inspiring and memorable stories that show how ingenuity, creative problem-solving, and inventive thinking can lead to breakthrough results.
    ● The mindsets, habits, and tactics of the world’s most prolific artists, business titans, and entrepreneurs.

    Disciplined Dreaming™ - A proven system to drive breakthrough creativity.


    In our modern AI-driven world, creativity has become the currency of success. It’s the one thing that can’t be outsourced or automated; the indisputable competitive advantage. We are all hard-wired to be creative, yet most of us have underdeveloped creative skills. And today, more than ever before, creative problem-solving and inventive thinking are crucial to overcoming obstacles and seizing opportunities.

    Based on the breakaway New York Times bestselling book published in 19 languages and globally recognized by over 2 million readers as the definitive work on applied creativity, author and creativity expert Josh Linkner takes the audience on a journey to unlock their dormant creative capacity. Inspiring stories, surprising truths, and instantly-applicable solutions make this keynote both energizing and actionable.

    This keynote serves leaders & teams who are
    ● Facing increasing challenges and competitive threats
    ● Craving a new approach to harness their full creative potential
    ● Struggling to keep up with the pace of innovation

    The audience will leave with
    ● A proven model for harnessing and applying human creativity
    ● An understanding of how the most innovative and disruptive leaders think and act
    ● Practical techniques to generate more high-quality ideas at any time and for any challenge

    Find A Way™ - A proven innovation framework to solve problems, accelerate opportunity and sustain growth


    As we enter a new era of business, 50% of leaders in the United States have lost confidence in their ability to make decisions in the face of uncertainty. The level of disruption, technology threats, and volatility can be paralyzing. We are in a leadership crisis and must embrace a new model to meet today's challenges.

    Prolific entrepreneur, venture capital investor, and innovation expert Josh Linkner helps you Find A Way™ through his proven 5-step innovation framework for cultivating full-organization ingenuity. Whatever outcomes you crave the most - from sales growth to competitive advantage to employee engagement - you’ll walk away with specific tools to drive sustainable success.

    The Find a Way™ framework prioritizes agility over brute force, creativity over hustle, and improvisation over perfect planning. Leaders who embrace the model are inspired and better equipped. They feel confident to move forward into the darkness and have a newfound capacity to win consistently, no matter the circumstances.

    This keynote serves leaders & teams who are
    ● Facing uncertainty and volatility.
    ● Seeking better ways to drive the outcomes they crave the most.
    ● Struggling to keep up with the pace of change.

    The audience will leave with
    ● A proven model for harnessing ingenuity to solve any problem and seize any opportunity.
    ● Innovative strategies to drive better results every day.
    ● The confidence to walk into the unknown and emerge victorious.

    Rethink. Reboot. Reinvent - How to drive disruption and accelerate transformation


    We’re living in a rate of change like none other in history. The hard truth is that we can no longer rely on the models of the past and expect the same results.

    In this energizing and actionable keynote, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of rapid change and how to respond confidently and intentionally. New York Times bestselling author and lifetime disruptor Josh Linkner shares a proven model for you to take control and reinvent your own future.

    This keynote serves leaders & teams who are
    ● Struggling to keep up with the rate of change.
    ● Overwhelmed with competitive threats, technology advancements, and shifting disruptive market forces.
    ● Recognizing the need for reinvention but struggling to gain traction.

    The audience will leave with
    ● A proven framework to lead reinvention efforts of all shapes and sizes.
    ● The confidence to walk into the unknown and realize they can now navigate whatever challenges or opportunities emerge.
    ● Mindsets and tactics to ensure relevance, adaptability, and sustainable success.
    ● The ability to rethink old approaches and discover new ones.

    The Innovative Leader - A modern framework to lead with confidence in the face of uncertainty and change


    The business you're running today isn't the business you'll be running next year. In this moment of volatility and uncertainty, we are being called to lead in a radically different way… more decisive, creative, and adaptable. So how can we use this defining moment to ensure relevancy, sustainability, and success in the future?

    In this inspiring and practical keynote, battle-tested CEO, venture capital investor, and leadership expert Josh Linkner delivers a modern and accessible framework to help leaders thrive in the face of uncertainty and leverage their skills to move into uncharted territory with confidence.

    You’ll learn how to unlock inventive thinking, creative problem-solving, and ingenuity in every box of the org chart. The most successful leaders today help everyday people become everyday innovators. They make sure that innovation is an everyday business. This can’t-miss session goes way beyond the future of work. This is the future of growth, the future of relevancy, the future of leadership, and the future of success.

    This keynote serves leaders & teams who are
    ● Being called to lead in a bold, new way
    ● Overwhelmed with the demands of modern leadership
    ● Craving a more innovative approach to drive explosive growth, gain competitive advantage, and get more from their teams

    The audience will leave with
    ● A modern framework for innovative leadership
    ● Insights from some of the world’s most prolific leaders
    ● A behind-the-scenes view of legendary business disruption
    ● Strategies to drive growth, engagement, and success amid change and uncertainty

    Josh Linkner on Speaking

    I provide a systematic approach, simple framework and a set of tools that can be used immediately to drive meaningful outcomes.

    SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn / take away from your presentations?

    LINKNER: I want people to understand the mission-critical nature of prioritizing innovation. At the same time, I provide a systematic approach, simple framework and a set of tools that can be used immediately to drive meaningful outcomes. I work hard to strike the right balance between being highly energizing and motivating, while at the same time providing real depth and practical strategies so audiences leave both fired up and with a specific new way of approaching their work.

    SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How to you prepare for your speaking engagements?

    LINKNER: I always have at least one kick-off call, sometimes many more. I do in-depth research on the organization, audience, industry, and competition. I’ve never given the same talk twice. Instead, I custom-craft my presentations to leave the biggest possible impact. I include fresh stories from the host’s industry, as well as perspective from both my research and also experience as a tech entrepreneur.

    SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements / unusual situations arise while on the road?

    LINKNER: About 15% of the time, I incorporate live jazz in my events as a living metaphor for innovation. I began my career as a jazz guitarist, and whether or not you like listening to jazz, it is an incredible teaching ground for innovation and creativity. To bring this to life, I hire other jazz musicians from the local market where my speech is, and then invite the audience to become “honorary jazz musicians” for the session. Not only do they listen, but for the finale I invite the audience to compose as jazz song and then several audience members come join me on stage to perform it (I supply percussion instruments). The whole event is memorable, engaging, and energizing. I’ve done this in many places – from Las Vegas to Cali, Columbia to DesMoines, Iowa – with tremendous success.

    SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?

    LINKNER: The message of creative approaches to challenges of all sizes resonates with many audiences. I’d had wonderful feedback from large organizations such as IBM, Coke, J&J, and Ford as well as associations of all shapes and sizes.

    Since I have extensive experience in working with entrepreneurs and hyper-growth companies, I always love working with emerging companies as well. While my message spans industries, the best fit for me are leaders that are serious about taking their results to the next level and who are not afraid to challenge the status quo. Those that want to coast are not the best fit, since I energize and arm audiences with a fresh, entrepreneurial, innovative approach to drive their companies and careers.

    SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to become a speaker?

    LINKNER: I love making a difference. The real reward for me isn’t the standing ovation (although, that is awesome and makes me feel good that I connected with an audience). The real reward is the emails I get six months later, telling me how I made a meaningful difference in people’s lives. When I hear how an organization has enjoyed 20% growth from a specific perspective I shared, or how a person went on to try something new and is now flourishing with a new product or service… THAT is the real reward.

    I am very passionate about the craft, and study it religiously. The only reason to give a speech is to change the world, so speaking is my vehicle to drive positive change in the world.

    I use PREZI which makes captivating visual transitions, and I use gorgeous professional images, quick video clips, humor, story-telling, and big, memorable ideas to reinforce the message. Audiences are both educated and entertained.

    SPEAKING.COM: Which of your keynote topics are the most popular?

    LINKNER: While I list several topics on my site, I generally customize each talk for a specific audience. I love speaking about innovation, entrepreneurial fire, and innovation approaches to leadership.

    My presentations are unique in that I never use a single bullet point. I use PREZI which makes captivating visual transitions, and I use gorgeous professional images, quick video clips, humor, story-telling, and big, memorable ideas to reinforce the message. Audiences are both educated and entertained. My talks are fast-moving, fun, interactive, energizing, and at the same time, rich with substance and real-world context.

    What I enjoy most is connecting with audiences at an emotional level and helping them shift their thinking about approaches to drive better outcomes. I love entertaining, but love results far more. Audiences are leaning forward and engaged the entire time, and also walk away with new tools, approaches, and frameworks to enable their success. Fun and energizing meets practical and productive.

    SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the successes you’ve helped clients make?

    LINKNER: Big jumps in top-line sales. New product/service launches. Transforming a culture from autocratic to progressive. Helping to streamline processes, improve morale, and even reduce error rates. Innovation is a powerful weapon that can be aimed at just about any business problem and, when focused, drive meaningful results.

    SPEAKING.COM: What other projects are you currently working on?

    LINKNER: I’m in the process of writing my third book. Also, I invest in tech startups in Detroit. I do this not only to make money, but more importantly to make a difference. By backing passionate entrepreneurs, we’re driving real social change in our troubled city.

    I’ve been involved in the launch and/or financing of over 100 startups over the last 20 years, and I love helping people create something out of nothing. I also just launched a new concept to disrupt the stale world of leadership development ( I continue to write weekly for Forbes, the Detroit Free Press, and Inc. Magazine. Also, I truly love the craft of speaking and look forward to continuing to deliver 65-70 keynotes each year. Exclusive Interview with Josh Linkner
    Fostering a Culture of Creativity with Josh Linkner
    In this compelling interview, Josh discusses:

    • Opportunities for building creative cultures.
    • Creativity trends.
    • Tips for fostering a culture of creativity. Read the Full Interview

    "The single biggest blocker of creativity isn't natural talent, it's fear."
    - Josh Linkner

    What People are Saying about Seeing Josh Speak

    Rating Entries

    “When Josh speaks, business improves.”

    —Earvin “Magic” Johnson

    “In today’s fiercely competitive global marketplace the most important resource any business has is the creative thinking of its people. Josh Linkner lays out a road map that will guide individuals, teams, and companies to higher levels of creativity. It is a journey that will lead to better ideas and breakthrough thinking.”

    —Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company

    “We very much enjoyed your talk and workshop. You created just the right finish and exclamation point in our program. The feedback from our team – amazing, energizing messages, entertaining and humorous, actionable learnings, things people can do right away.”

    —Sajeena Warrier, Managing Director, Intel Security

    “Building a culture of innovation in large companies is critically important, and there’s no beer way to learn than with a trusted roadmap of tools and real-life examples. Josh Linkner illustrates how innovative thinking is possible for every employee and business leader, so we can all unlock our full creative potential.”

    —Mike Kaufman, CEO, Cardinal Health

    “Josh Linkner helps organizations discover and exploit their strengths in a changing business world. He clearly shows how to reignite innovation and unlock new business value such as speed, agility, persistence and partnership.”

    —Alan Boehme, Chief Innovation Oicer and Global CTO, The Coca-Cola Company

    “Josh Linkner, CEO of ePrize, is a tremendous business leader who has established a successful and sustainable company, as well as a culture that nurtures employees to help them maximize their potential.”

    -Hon. Jennifer M. Granholm Governor, State of Michigan

    “Thank you for today. It was inspirational, unrestricting, and energetic. It was one of the best days I’ve had out of the office. Your energy is contagious and my creative thinking was uninhibited.”

    -David Riemer, Sr. Marketing Manager, Kmart

    “Josh Linkner’s keynote presentation was truly inspiring and one of the main highlights of our conference.”

    -Tel K. Ganesan, President, TiE Con

    “Josh’s energy, enthusiasm and love for what he does really shines through. He also puts the right balance of simple, concise messages with humor. Yet at the same time you know he is serious by the examples of what he does with his own business. The presentation and content were both a ‘10’.”

    -Lisa K Miller, VP Events, MEDC

    “Josh’s presentation, was defiantly a 10: interesting, informative and deeply inspirational. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Many participants said that they left energized and motivated to make fun changes to improve creativity in their own lives and in their work place”

    -Rob Pasick, Ph.D, Founder & CEO, LeadersConnect

    “Josh’s presentation provided inspiration and a powerful reminder to our team that problems can be solved and good ideas made great through the use of creative thinking. We are incorporating his ideas into our daily activities and thoroughly enjoyed his use of humor to engage our team. Josh is an excellent presenter.”

    -Karen Davis, Executive Director, Make-A-Wish Foundation

    “Josh Linkner’s message – that creativity is the most important organizational competency in the 21st century – compels and informs at the same time. With an engaging mix of data, anecdotes, and field-tested techniques, Josh outlines the innovation landscape and then reveals proven techniques for building and sustaining a creative culture.”

    -Samuel Gerace, Chief Executive Officer, Veritix

    “I’ve attended so many speeches throughout the years, and found Josh’s presentation to be one of the best – if not the best – I’ve ever seen! Josh conveyed a serious message in a lighthearted and entertaining manner, with plenty of practical, useful information. His polished delivery and use of visuals, including laugh-out-loud video clips, gave the audience so much more than just “a talking head.” Great stuff!”

    -Jonathan Liebman, Chairman/CEO, Specs Howard School of Media Arts, Inc.

    “Josh’s presentation was one that made you watch, listen and learn and is a clear example of when you connect with people – they can gain insight and knowledge that will help open doors to new opportunities.”

    -Nathan Forbes, Managing Partner, The Forbes Company

    “When Josh Linkner was presenting to our group you can just feel his talent and passion. The energy of the diverse audience was completely engaged as Josh clearly and thoughtfully delivered his message about creativity and innovation. Josh’s presentation was easily one of the best I have ever heard.”

    -Danny Ferry, General Manager, Cleveland Cavaliers

    “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.”

    -Bill Emerson, CEO, Quicken Loans

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    Books by Josh Linkner:

    The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation

    Companies, communities, and individuals fall for many reasons, but one of the most common―and easily avoidable―is the failure to reinvent. When people and organizations rest on prior successes rather than driving purposeful transformation, they discover too late that they have lost their market position altogether to competitors and external forces.

    The most successful companies, brands, and individuals make reinvention a regular part of their business strategies. Transformation demands an ongoing process of discovery and imagination, and The Road to Reinvention lays out a systematic approach for continually challenging and reinventing yourself and your business. Venture capitalist and serial entrepreneur Josh Linkner identifies six elements in any business that are ripe for reinvention and shares examples, methods, and step-by-step techniques for creating deliberate, productive disruption.

    Throughout The Road to Reinvention, Linkner also explores the history―the great rise, unprecedented fall, and now rebirth―of his beloved hometown, Detroit. First rising to greatness as the result of breathtaking innovation, Detroit had generations of booming growth before succumbing to apathy, atrophy, and finally bankruptcy. Now, the city is rising from the ashes and driving sustainable success through an intense focus on reinvention. Linkner brings an insider’s view of this incredible story of grit, determination, and creativity, sharing his perspective on Detroit’s successes and setbacks as a profound example of large-scale organizational and personal transformation.

    Change is inevitable. You need to decide: Will you drive that change, or be driven away by it? Will you disrupt or be disrupted? By choosing to deliberately reimagine your own status quo, you can secure a strong future for both your company and your career.

    Big Little Breakthroughs: How Small, Everyday Innovations Drive Oversized Results

    A surprisingly simple approach to help everyday people become everyday innovators.

    The pressure to generate big ideas can feel overwhelming. We know that bold innovations are critical in these disruptive and competitive times, but when it comes to breakthrough thinking, we often freeze up.

    Instead of shooting for a $10-billion payday or a Nobel Prize, the most prolific innovators focus on Big Little Breakthroughs—small creative acts that unlock massive rewards over time. By cultivating daily micro-innovations, individuals and organizations are better equipped to tackle tough challenges and seize transformational opportunities.

    How did a convicted drug dealer launch and scale a massively successful fitness company? What core mindset drove LEGO to become the largest toy company in the world? How did a Pakistani couple challenge the global athletic shoe industry? What simple habits led Lady Gaga, Banksy, and Lin-Manuel Miranda to their remarkable success?

    Big Little Breakthroughs isn’t just for propeller-head inventors, fancy-pants CEOs, or hoodie-donning tech billionaires. Rather, it’s a surpassingly simple system to help everyday people become everyday innovators.

    Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity

    We live in an era when business cycles are measured in months, not years. The only way to sustain long term innovation and growth is through creativity ae at all levels of an organization. Disciplined Dreaming shows you how to create profitable new ideas, empower all your employees to be creative, and sustain your competitive advantage over the long term. Linkner distills his years of experience in business and jazz ae as well as hundreds of interviews with CEOs, entrepreneurs, and artists ae into a 5-step process that will make creativity easy for you and your organization. The methodology is simple, backed by proven results.

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