Luke Williams Profile

  • Author of the international bestseller Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business.

  • Executive Director of Entrepreneurship, Associate Professor of Marketing, and Founder of the W.R. Innovation Lab at New York University's Stern School of Business.

  • Inventor of more than 30 U.S. patents and designer of over 100 products.
  • To succeed in the modern commercial world, business leaders need to transform their thinking and recognize that constant change is necessary to stay ahead. Top innovative companies recognize the power of disruptive innovation, the game changing ideas which can revolutionize a market or an industry.

    Luke Williams, author of the international bestseller Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business, is respected around the world as being at the forefront of thinking on innovation leadership. He can demonstrate the ways in which organizations can revolutionize their strategies to deliver effective innovation.

    Luke is Executive Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Professor of Marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He is also a Fellow at one of the most globally significant innovation companies, Frog Design.

    Much in demand as both a collaborator and speaker, Luke has worked with companies in helping them to develop new products and services as well as helping them to address systemic failings and to put new innovative procedures in place. His views on disruptive innovation, entrepreneurship and the fast moving changes we see in our culture have been featured in BusinessWeek, Fast Company, The Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      At some time, someone somewhere is going to disrupt your entire industry. Shouldn’t it be you? Luke Williams, author and globally recognized authority on disruptive innovation, reveals a way of thinking that has the power to transform your business and stay ahead of the game.

      Luke Williams is one of the world’s leading business thinkers on innovation strategy. He has worked with leading companies across the globe and is a dynamic and sought-after management speaker, having lectured in 21 countries and addressed the United Nations General Assembly and the World Innovation Forum.

      Williams is Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern School of Business; Founder and Executive Director of the W.R. Berkley Innovation Labs; and a Fellow at Frog Design— one of the world’s most influential product strategy and design firms. He is the inventor of 30+ U.S. patents and has designed more than 100 products in industries ranging from transportation to finance, and healthcare to consumer electronics.

      His views are regularly featured in media ranging from Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Fast Company to The Wall Street Journal and The Economist. He is the author of the international bestseller, Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business.

    Luke Williams Speaking Videos

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    Luke Williams's Speech Descriptions

    Luke Williams guides his audience through the dominant danger facing even the most successful companies; if all you do is incrementally improve your products or services your options will get narrower and narrower until your customers leave for an innovative alternative. He demonstrates that the only companies which thrive are those prepared to take bold steps continuously.

    To bolster such innovation, Luke explains how it must be led from the top and how innovative products and services cannot be expected from any company which does not have innovative structures and leadership.

    Luke will show you how to adapt to changing markets and the rapid technological and cultural paradigms shifts of our age. After hearing Luke’s ideas, not only will you have a sense of the challenges facing your business but you will be enthused and excited about the new ways he has shown you how to approach them.

    Disrupt: Sparking Business Transformation with Innovation
    Successful companies operating in mature industries that embrace incremental change find themselves on a path that gets narrower and narrower. Eventually, they reach the end of the path, and by then, their customers have forsaken them for a new offering that nobody saw coming. In cases where companies do take disruptive risks, it’s often because they’re backed into a corner and there’s no other choice. But companies that try to differentiate themselves by focusing on incremental innovation instead of game-changing, disruptive innovation will differentiate themselves right out of business. They simply cannot afford to wait until they get backed into a corner. Companies need to be consistently making bold moves, even at the very peak of their success. This is exactly the sort of thing that new start-ups and small-scale enterprises are best at. But, it’s an approach to business that can be learned and applied just as effectively by large organizations and industry incumbents—in fact, by anyone who’s willing to challenge the status quo wherever they are.

    Disruptive Thinking: Fostering a Culture of Game-changing Leadership
    To compete today in a fast-changing world, businesses need a steady stream of disruptive strategies and unexpected solutions to stay ahead of the game—solutions that revive stagnant markets or completely reinvent the competitive dynamics of an industry. Disruptive Thinking is about fostering a culture of innovation leadership that provides the framework and motivation to generate those strategies and execute those solutions. It is an essential skill for any business leader, from a small start-up to a global corporation, with the desire to transform organizational processes and behaviors, and ask, “Why hadn’t we ever thought about our business and culture this way before?”

    Innovation for Growth: How to Spot Markets Ripe for Disruption
    Globalization, accessibility to an overwhelming array of products and information, and technological innovation are rapidly changing the marketplace in significant ways. As a result, consumers are changing the way they buy, and businesses need to change the way they compete. The Internet and the infrastructure of massive connection have already reinvented many industries, but we’ve barely scratched the surface. We’re still surrounded by countless products, services, and business models that are built on the logic of the past. Many of the decisions that define these businesses were made years ago, in a different age, and a different context. Winning organizations in the next decade will be those that discard these old business decisions and remake the market landscape by implementing ideas that are not easily conceived of or replicated by a competitor.

    The Disruptive Age: Thriving in an Era of Constant Change

    As much as we might desire it, the future we face will not be predictable. We are living in a fast-changing and uncertain time––a disruptive age. And we are entering this new global order with a way of seeing and thinking better suited for a world now several centuries behind us. A world that could be explained in simpler terms, when you could expect and carefully plan for gradual shifts in the status quo. But the scale of the challenges we face and the accelerating speed of innovation demands a new approach to innovation leadership––a new way of opening minds to uncomfortable solutions. A way of forcing improbable insights and fostering counterintuitive ideas. To thrive in this new era, organizations and institutions, executives and entrepreneurs need to rethink the habits that have made them successful in the past, and challenge the conventional wisdom and industry models that have defined their world.

    What People are Saying about Seeing Luke Speak

    Rating Entries

    Luke will challenge you to evaluate and change you current thought processes. His ideas about disruptive vs incremental change are well thought out and will make you think about what you are currently doing in your business. If you are considering a speaker for your next event that will challenge you to create a growth culture in your organization I would highly recommend Luke.


    “Luke Williams’ presentation was extremely well received. His Wednesday night keynote was engaging, informative and provocative. People also very much appreciated that he stayed with us Thursday morning for the panel discussion – it really sent a message that he was interested in helping us with our conference objectives. I appreciated that Luke did seem to customize his presentation and his approach to the panel discussion to focus on the work we intended to pursue at the conference.”
    – Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units

    “Luke Williams rocked it. Great energy, engaging, stimulating lots of audience questions, held the audience in palm of his hand. You’re representing a great speaker.”
    – Consumer Healthcare Products Association

    Luke was an excellent speaker and did a nice job reading the room. Everyone seemed to enjoy his remarks.”
    – FedEx

    “To say that Luke Williams ‘knocked it out of the park’ at our annual meeting is putting it mildly. Your message at our annual meeting was targeted, funny, insightful, and hard-hitting. You did exactly what we hoped you would do by setting the tone for the whole annual meeting. Moreover, you set the bar high for the rest of the presenters. Thank you for your professionalism, your warmth, and your energy. Our annual meeting was a huge success because of your presentation.”
    – North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives

    “Luke Williams was out of sight, awesome!!!! Totally on trend with our industry, and magnetic in his delivery.”
    – American Apparel

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    Books by Luke Williams:


    Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable to Spark Transformation in Your Business

    Master a complete five-step program for identifying and executing on disruptive business opportunities! Now updated and even more effective, Luke Williams’ Disrupt, Second Edition combines the design industry’s most powerful “disruptive thinking” and “disruptive leadership” techniques with real business implementation discipline.

    Drawing on his pioneering experience innovating at the legendary frog design (and teaching innovation at NYU Stern School of Business), Williams shows exactly how to generate and execute on a steady stream of disruptive strategies. Using real-world examples, Williams shows how the more unexpected an idea, the smaller the number of competitors, and the more successful the company that brings it to market.

    You’ll walk through generating your disruptive hypothesis, defining your disruptive market opportunity, creating multiple disruptive ideas, shaping them into an actionable solution, and persuading key stakeholders to adopt or invest in your solution. Best of all, you’ll discover powerful ways to lead disruptive thinking in a new section added to this edition: The Disruptive Leader.

    Disrupt, Second Edition is for all entrepreneurs, product and marketing managers, R&D specialists, strategists, and senior executives seeking to create disruptive products, services, and customer experiences. It offers you a systematic and proven way to redefine your company’s future, stun your industry, and leave your competitors scrambling to catch u

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