Lisa Bodell Profile

  • Bestselling author of Kill the Company and Why Simple Wins.

  • Futurist and Founder of Futurethink - the world's largest source of simplification + innovation tools and training.

  • Through her work with and study of the culture of thousands of companies, innovation and change expert Bodell has learned the most effective way for organizations to innovate, and how transformational change really happens.

  • Bodell’s thoughtful insights, humor and audience-engaging keynotes reflect her and her company’s years of research on corporate culture and its impact on innovation and change.
  • Lisa Bodell is a globally recognized futurist and innovation expert. She sparks new and creative thinking at every turn. She is the CEO of futurethink, a firm that trains businesses in how to become world-class innovators. She is an award-winning author and has helped ignite innovation at the NYSE, Pfizer, Google and Lockheed Martin, to name a few.

    A leader on simplifying innovation and change management, Bodell is often called upon by global companies to help them eradicate workplace complexity that is killing their ability to innovate and adapt. Simplicity is fast becoming the competitive advantage of our time and Bodell offers tested tools and takeaways to motivate organizations and individuals to action.

    Bodell recently received the coveted Top5 Speaker Award from for her inspiring speeches that have been helping organizations around the world achieve tangible results. As an adviser to the Association of Professional Futurists as well as Novartis’ Diversity and Inclusion Board in Switzerland, Bodell has been advocating her message of simplicity and innovation to global think tanks.

    With a deep understanding of best practices across industries Lisa Bodell has contributed her expertise to a wide variety of media, including: Fast Company, WIRED, The New York Times, Inc., Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, The Huffington Post, FOX News, and CNN.

    A Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Bodell has addressed capacity audiences at Google, Cisco Systems, Accenture, Citigroup, and Merck and is often the highest-rated presenter, as she engages audiences and empowers them with practical tools, tips, and resources that they can use to create immediate and effective change. Praise for Bodell includes: “insightful, engaging and energetic” (Google); “relevant and compelling” (Accenture); “ignited a spirit of innovation” (Mastercard Worldwide); “winning business ideas” (Citigroup).

    Let Bodell show you how simplicity can be your new operating system and North Star towards creating an innovative workplace culture!

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      “Complexity is crippling our organizations. It’s stifling our people and keeping them from doing their most meaningful and impactful work.” Lisa Bodell, a global leader on simplification, collaboration, and innovation, has a solution. Lisa shows organizations how to eliminate complexity and leverage simplicity – unleashing creativity and sparking the energy so essential to innovate and compete in a rapidly changing world. FutureThink, which she founded in 2003, works with leading brands worldwide and has become the largest source of innovation research, tools, and training in the world. Lisa is the author of two groundbreaking books, Why Simple Wins: Escape the Complexity Trap and Get to Work That Matters and Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution. She ranks on the list of Top 50 Speakers Worldwide and captivates audiences with her energy and humor. Lisa’s keynotes leave audiences inspired to change and arms them with radically simple tools to get to the work that matters.

      After earning her business degree from University of Michigan, Lisa launched her career at Leo Burnett in Chicago, where she discovered a gift for uniting strategically-driven ideas with forward-thinking themes. She went on to build two successful businesses before moving to New York and focusing on the simplification and innovation space with FutureThink.

      Lisa brings a compelling perspective to the sought-after topics of simplification and innovation to over 100,000 people each year. A thought leader and serial entrepreneur, her transformational message has inspired executives at top-ranked organizations such as Google, SAP, Citigroup, and the Department of National Intelligence.

      Lisa has contributed her expertise to a wide variety of media. She is a monthly contributor to Forbes and has frequently appeared in other media including: Fast Company, WIRED, The New York Times, Inc., Harvard Business Review, and CNN. She has also been featured in many major books such as Warren Berger’s A More Beautiful Question, Adam Grant’s Originals, and AfterShock, the 50-year celebration based on futurist Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock.

      Lisa has taught innovation at both American University and Fordham University and has a TED talk on the topic. She has served on the board of advisors of several organizations, including the Global Agenda Council for the World Economic Forum, the United States National Security Agency, the Association of Professional Futurists, and the Novartis board of Diversity & Inclusion.

    Lisa Bodell Speaking Videos

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    Lisa Bodell's Speech Descriptions

    Lisa Bodell’s presentations focus on innovation and creating positive change. She helps companies get out of the status quo and reignite curiosity and creative problem solving. The key messages are that each of us is an agent of change, that change is purposeful and involves a toolkit, and that little changes can have a big effect. In fact, one program focuses solely on the details involved in making little changes: Little BIGS®, where participants will leave with concrete and actionable steps to create positive ripple effects of change in their own organizations. Bodell also talks to current and future leaders about how to ensure success for their businesses.

    Bodell’s takeaways are proven transformational methods that she and her team at futurethink, an innovation-training firm helping businesses become world-class innovators, have successfully implemented with Fortune 500 companies around the world. The characteristics that define Bodell as a successful global speaker are the same as those that define her success as a CEO, a laser-focused ability to provide radical thinking and offer on-the-spot business solutions, with an inspired vision that motivates people to action.

    Her new book and keynote: WHY SIMPLE WINS: Escape the Complexity Trap and Get to the Work that Matters, is a sought-after topic at every organizational level. In her presentation, Bodell shares tools and takeaways on how organizations and individuals can eradicate complexity and allow Simplicity to be their new operating system, and North Star towards an innovative workplace culture.


    Complexity is crippling our organizations. Unproductive meetings, irrelevant rules and reports, and endless emails keep people from doing the work that matters most. Worse, complexity dampens morale and creates feelings of futility. It doesn’t have to be this way. CEO and TED-talk veteran Lisa Bodell shows organizations how to unleash the energy, collaboration, innovation, and engagement lying in wait by embracing a mindset of simplification right now. This spirited presentation shows how small changes can have a profound impact on the organization’s people, competitiveness, and ability to adapt. Lisa offers techniques used by the nimblest of companies to save time, kill rules, and simplify everything. Drawing on research from her book, Why Simple Wins, Lisa’s energy, engaging stories, and interactive exercises prove that using simplicity as an operating principle is the surest path to organizational transformation.

    You will learn:

    • How simplification sparks action and enables groups to move faster with more focus than everyone else.
    • Why simplification is not just a method but a mindset and a habit – a key to resilience and adaptability.
    • How to create a workplace where there’s more time to innovate and think.
    • How asking questions helps eliminate organizational and individual busywork that’s outlived its time.
    • Web-based real-time interactive exercises reveal what’s holding people back from embracing simplification.
    • How killing complexity increases trust, engagement, talent retention, and helps people be their best.


    Embracing simplicity as an operational mindset can unleash the power of people to be their best and focus on work that really matters. But simplicity needs an advocate and leaders who step up to send a message that simplicity is a priority that will reap outsized results. In this presentation, Lisa Bodell delivers real world tools leaders can use to create a culture with simplicity in its DNA and a bias for action. Lisa, author of the bestseller Why Simple Wins, unpacks stories and insights leaders can use to inspire their people, ignite disruptive thinking, build agility, and turn problems into possibilities. With energy, humor, and revealing online interactive exercises, Lisa shows that simplicity is the catalyst that accelerates innovation, collaboration, engagement, and growth. Simplicity will create a sustainable competitive advantage because it’s the absolute foundation of resilience in the face of never-ending change.

    You will learn:

    • How to cultivate a dynamic culture of simplification that makes challenging outdated practices the norm, creating space for more
    innovation to happen.
    • Drive an agenda that makes simplification a seamless part of your operating system, placing equal importance on eliminating work
    as adding it, fostering a more balanced approach.
    • Align teams in identifying and eliminating time-wasting habits, allowing them to reach their goals more quickly.
    • Set the groundwork for enduring change and improved problem-solving by reducing stress and giving teams the space to think.
    • Create a strategic advantage by better focusing teams, driving proactive change, retaining talent effortlessly, and outpacing
    the competition with increased agility.
    • Online interactive exercises reveal what’s holding your organization back from embracing a mindset of simplicity.


    If your organization is not innovating as fast as you’d like, it’s time to address it – before it’s too late. In most organizations, the very structures put in place to help them grow all too often hold them back. If you want people to approach change differently, you have to help them change their approach. In this presentation, Lisa Bodell delivers a high energy and inspiring call to arms to start a revolution in how we think and how we work. Lisa is founder and CEO of FutureThink, the largest source of innovation research, tools, and training in the world. Her insights help increase the capacity for innovation by shifting mindset and engaging everyone in the process of killing off the status quo. In this presentation, Lisa inspires people to think differently and provides the tools to solve problems that stand in the way of breakthrough innovation in your organization.

    You will learn:

    • How our current organizational values and structures, designed to help innovation take hold, often hold it back – and how to
    change that.
    • How to unleash the dormant potential in teams by reigniting critical aptitudes such as curiosity, inquiry, and creative problem-
    • Practical yet provocative techniques for reinvention and innovation with current products and services.
    • Proven methods that reignite change and transformation and make everyone a change agent.
    • Examples of how even the smallest changes can have big impact.
    • What’s holding your organization back from innovating through the use of online interactive exercises.

    Lisa Bodell on Speaking

    I want to inspire people to create change; change that they truly desire.

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

    BODELL: I want to inspire people to create change; change that they truly desire. Not just encourage change for shareholder value, but also really create change that simplifies their lives, simplifies their work, and simplifies things to give more value to a customer. My goal is to provide inspiration and give people simple things they can use.

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

    BODELL: I love to speak. If I could be in front of Madison Square Garden every day, I would just be the happiest person on earth. But I customize all my talks. What I mean by that is I really want to understand the industry because when I go in, right off the bat, I play a game with people and I try and see how well they can determine the change in their industry.

    I present some headlines from the future that may or may not be true. And by doing that, by getting people engaged in the content of statements like, “Wow, is that artificial intelligence thing in insurance really true?” or “Is that medical device in my home really true?” I can better uncover trends by doing it in the game aside way. I customize all my talks right up front and make them really interactive.

    The other thing I do is I concentrate on who is in my audience, not from a demographic standpoint, but frankly, an emotional standpoint. I know, as a speaker, it’s not what I tell them, it’s how I make them feel. If they leave my speech not just learning something new and giving them something practical, that’s fine. I’d rather have them say, they felt empowered.

    Frankly, I try to make them feel a little uncomfortable, because I think that agitation creates change and that they were inspired by my words to do it. Those things make me very happy.

    The organizations that benefit from my message are those that are the antithesis of fostering change. They are global multinational companies, they’re complex, they’re established, so, they have that status quo, and they are very regulated.

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

    BODELL: The organizations that benefit from my message are those that are the antithesis of fostering change. They are global multinational companies, they’re complex, they’re established, so, they have that status quo, and they are very regulated.

    The good news is, because change is hard and people like simple tools to really disrupt things, even small businesses like the message. But I think my message particularly resonates with the large, complex, big Fortune 500 companies, because they don’t know how to do it. And my approach is kind of revolutionary to them.

    My talks that help people discover the future through change. I love talking about ‘killing the company,’ because that’s about how you actually get rid of things and create change.

    SPEAKING.COM: Which keynote speaking topics are your favorite, and why?

    BODELL: My talks that help people discover the future through change. I love talking about “killing the company,” because that’s about how you actually get rid of things and create change. When I get to put my futurist hat on, because I’m a trained futurist, and I really get to structure their thinking about the future. This is not about what products you have, but whom you hire, and the future is not about who you are, but who you’re becoming.

    I show my audiences why and how change evolves over time, and it’s never what they think, that’s where I really get passionate, because people don’t know how to think about change and the future, and I think I’m really good about bringing it down to their level, but showing it in creative ways. So I really dig talking about futurist stuff.

    SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?

    BODELL: Well, you’re not going to believe this, but it was the Marlboro cowboys, and this is how this happened: I’m not a smoker, but I used to be in advertising and I worked on the Philip Morris brand, and it was my first account. And I used to go on shoots with the cowboys for different ways to do print and TV, film, then we’d be there with the horse wranglers and we’d be on these ranches that were incredible, and we came back from one of the shoots and I had to present the TV ads with the cowboys to the executives at Philip Morris, and I had never given a presentation before. My boss, I could tell, was really nervous, but I got up there and it was that moment of, I knew when I was done that I was going to be a speaker somehow in my life because when I finished, and I think people were not expecting a 22-year-old to give that speech.

    I was really passionate about it; about how things were done and how we brought all this creativity together, and the message it was sending and all this other stuff. I remember one of the cowboys came up to me after all and he said, “Y’all did really good.” And so that was one of those moments where I realized, “I can really do this,” and I never thought about it until that moment. Exclusive Interview with Lisa Bodell
    Why Simple Wins, with Innovation Speaker Lisa Bodell
    In this far-reaching interview, Lisa discusses:
  • Ways companies can reignite curiosity and creative problem solving.
  • The concept of the Chief Simplicity Officer and simplifying every aspect of an organization.
  • A simple toolkit for sparking positive change.
  • Defining a "stupid rule."
  • Skills to ensure leadership success. Read the Full Interview
    Innovative Leadership with Lisa Bodell
    In this far-reaching interview, Lisa discusses:
  • Ways companies can reignite curiosity and creative problem solving.
  • The concept of the Chief Simplicity Officer and simplifying every aspect of an organization.
  • A simple toolkit for sparking positive change.
  • Defining a "stupid rule."
  • Skills to ensure leadership success. Read the Full Interview
  • "Strategic imagination is about leaders who cannot just think how to drive forward your business today, but can actively think about who your company is becoming."
    - Lisa Bodell

    What People are Saying about Seeing Lisa Speak

    Rating Entries

    “Lisa has the winning combination you look for in a keynote speaker – she is insightful, engaging and energetic. She was the top rated speaker at two Google events and inspired our audience to start an innovation revolution.”

    “Lisa’s message will not only open your eyes to what’s happening in our world, but will also provide you the tools to be able to take action … Her energy is contagious.”
    Cisco Systems

    “Lisa’s message is incredibly relevant and compelling. I find her work to be thought-provoking, challenging and necessary given today’s complex and ever-changing business environment.”

    “Lisa brought energy to the room of over 300 people and ignited a spirit of innovation across our Global Product Team. Our top session of the annual meeting.”
    MasterCard Worldwide

    “Bodell made my leadership team think in new ways and helped us develop winning business ideas right in the room. My team now embraces innovation rather than fearing it.”
    Citigroup Corporate Investment Bank

    “Lisa Bodell is one of the most dynamic and powerful keynote speakers our association has ever had. Her delivery, style, and expert content completely energized an audience of 500 and a breakout session of 50. She is incredibly successful at sizing up an audience and totally tailors her speech to address the needs and concerns of an industry.”
    National Association of Confectionery Dealers

    “Hearing from Lisa at our Annual Leadership Team meeting about how to kill complexity in order to get to our most valuable work was exactly what the senior leadership at City National Bank needed to hear. Lisa was engaging, informative and really helpful. She provided us with useful and pragmatic tips on how we can work to simplify for ourselves before we turn to do the same thing for and with our teams.”
    City National Bank

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    Books by Lisa Bodell:

    Why Simple Wins: Escape the Complexity Trap and Get to Work That Matters
    Complexity is killing companies’ ability to innovate and adapt, and simplicity is fast becoming the competitive advantage of our time. Why Simple Wins helps leaders and their teams move beyond the feelings of frustration and futility that come with so much unproductive work in today’s corporate world to create a corporate culture where valuable, essential, meaningful work is the norm. By learning how to eliminate redundancies, communicate with clarity, and make simplification a habit, individuals and companies can begin to recognize which activities are time-sucks and which create lasting value.

    Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution
    In the ever-changing world of business, we′ve arrived at a point where process has trumped culture, where the race toward efficiency has made us complacent and unable to reach our potential. Stuck in the land of status quo, we′ve forgotten how to think. And the very structures put in place to help businesses grow are now holding them back. It′s time to Kill the Company.

    This book is a call to arms: to start a revolution in how we think and work. But instead of more one-size-fits-all change initiatives forced upon employees, we need to embrace smaller, positive behavioral changes that create ripple effects throughout the organization. Thinking can no longer be exclusive to the creative team or lead strategists. Rather, a culture of curiosity must be fostered among the ranks to shake up our standard practices, from unproductive meetings to go-nowhere strategic planning. This revolution can and will awaken our ability to think, and ultimately, to innovate and grow.

    In Kill the Company, innovation specialist Lisa Bodell urges companies to shift the mindset from business as usual to the company of the future, to move from what she calls “Zombies, Inc.” to “Think, Inc.” This involves both risk and trust: to allow all employees the opportunity and environment to be curious and inquisitive—even challenging and provocative when the situation calls for it. Too often, this type of behavior is seen as threatening, says Bodell, who has actually been told by CEOs that they discourage employees from thinking. In step with the call to Kill the Company, is a plea to kill fear, complacency, and the all-too-familiar answer from our leaders: “I can′t be bothered with your (perhaps brilliant) idea.”

    Bodell also looks at how we got to Zombies, Inc., exploring how our educational system contributes to the lack of inquiry and problem-solving skills, showing how conformity is rewarded early on. She also draws from the work of such education luminaries as Sir Ken Robinson and the groundbreaking Blue School (founded by members of the Blue Man Group).

    In the end, readers of Kill the Company will have a full sense of how much riskier it is to stay here in the status quo than to break out and think.

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