Stephen’s dynamic speeches inspire teams to enhance their creative abilities and engage more meaningfully with their business challenges. His insights have transformed the way that companies like Nike, NASA and USAA tackle innovation within their organizations.

His keynote speeches, based primarily off the content in his best-selling books Best Practices are Stupid and Personality Poker, discuss a variety of topics and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of any organization. Stephen also creates custom speeches upon request.

Keynote Speech Topics:

1. Innovate the Way You Innovate: Increasing Innovation ROI Tenfold

Well-intentioned leaders, in their attempts to boost innovation, are inadvertently destroying it. What if “thinking outside the box” actually kills innovation? What if failure is not a necessary component of innovation? It’s time to innovate the way you innovate. During this interactive keynote, you will discover that innovation isn’t just about generating occasional new ideas; it’s about staying consistently one step ahead of the competition. This educational experience brings to life the concept in Stephen Shapiro’s latest book: “Best Practices Are Stupid.”

You will discover why:

 you don’t want to innovate everywhere. Avoid trying to improve every aspect of your business. Instead, “innovate where you differentiate.” Focuses energy where there is the greatest potential impact.

 asking for ideas is a bad idea. Avoid suggestion boxes or abstract questions. They create a lot of noise and wasted energy. Instead, provide well-framed challenges to increase creative output. “Don’t think outside the box, find a better box.”

 expertise is the enemy of innovation. Breakthroughs are rarely developed by experts within your industry or area of specialization. Instead, reframe your challenge to find solutions elsewhere.

This keynote is customized to address the specific topics of greatest interest to your audience.

Learn more about Best Practices Are Stupid.

2. Personality Poker: Creating High Performing Innovation Teams

Contrary to conventional wisdom, opposites do not attract. As a result, in business, we tend to surround ourselves with people who are similar to us. Although this is great for efficiency, this lack of diversity can kill innovation. How can you increase your innovation potential? Come play poker with author Stephen Shapiro. While playing this fast-paced, highly interactive game, you will discover:

Your primary innovation style and your innovation blind spots

Why the person you like the least is the person you need the most

How to create a high-performing innovation team that leverages divergent points of view

This is the most interactive keynote you will ever experience. And we have done it with audiences as large as 1,000 people. This is an incredible way to kick off your conference as it will set the tone for the rest of your event.

Learn more about Personality Poker.

3. Creating a Pervasive Culture of Innovation: Innovation for Innovators

You’ve decided to invest in innovation. You have a team of innovators ready to change your culture. But where do you begin? This presentation is designed specifically for individuals tasked with making innovation a reality in your organization. We address a wide range of issues such as:

• Why failure is bad but experimentation is good

• How to measure innovation to ensure you are innovating efficiently

• What organization structures help push innovation to the lowest levels of the organization

• How to identify your organization’s differentiator and its impact on innovation

• How to motivate everyone in the organization to participate in innovation

• How to maximize your innovation ROI with a challenge-centered approach

The “Innovate the Way You Innovate” presentation provides the basics. This presentation provides the specifics necessary for any company to create a pervasive culture of innovation.

The content of this presentation is from the Best Practices Are Stupid book.

4. Making the Impossible Possible: Creative Thinking for Front-Line Employees

Are you looking for a presentation that will help everyone in your organization be more creative? If so, this is the presentation for you. We use a number of different techniques that will increase the quality of solutions you receive from each and every employee.

• Making the impossible possible. This fun technique has its roots in magic and is fundamentally different than how most people solve problems.

• Make connections. Most people solve problems through their “expertise” lens. But this limits potential solutions. Instead find someone else who has solved a similar problem.

• Predict what the competition will do. A good source of creative inspiration is to look at what you fear your competition will do…and then beat them to the punch.

• Speaker’s Corner. Inspired by Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, London, this technique is a free-market approach to developing solutions. It is fast, fun, and wildly efficient.


Stephen Shapiro is the best presenter of ideas since Tom Peters.”
Michael Johnson, former Writer, Business Week 

I give Stephen Shapiro my highest recommendation as a speaker on the topic of innovation. I would strongly recommend him to any organization.”
Julie Meringer, former Managing Director, Forrester Research Inc. 


When Stephen steps on the stage, he’s like a bolt of lightning.”
Traci Fenton, CEO, WorldBlu Inc.



Contact Stephen

Stephen’s speeches are tailored to address specific topics or
themes and are suitable for all audiences and industries.
Contact him to discuss presenting at public or private events.


RELATED VIDEOS    |    View All

Best Practices
Are Stupid

Stephen on ABC News.

Personality Poker

Personality Poker
in action.

Stephen on ABC News

5 minutes talking about 5 tips from Stephen’s book, “Best Practices Are Stupid.”

Stephen speaking at TEDxNASA

A 6 minute presentation to 1,700 aerospace engineers.
The title of the speech: “Sometimes Rocket Science Isn’t Rocket Science.”

Personality Poker in Action

Watch clips of Stephen Shapiro playing Personality Poker with 300 executives.