Josh Linkner

Featured Speaker

NY Times Best-Selling Author, Tech Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist and Innovation Expert

In-Person Fee Range
$20,001 to $50,000
(Inquire for virtual fee)

Travels From
Michigan, United States

NY Times Best-Selling Author, Tech Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist and Innovation Expert

Josh Linkner (who started his career as a jazz guitarist) personifies creativity, entrepreneurship and disruptive innovation. He has been the founder and CEO of five tech companies, which sold for a combined value of over $200 million.


Josh is the author of five books, 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, as well as his latest book, Hacking Innovation. He is also the Founding Partner of Detroit Venture Partners, investing in and mentoring over 100 startups. His latest book is Big Little Breakthroughs: How Small, Everyday Innovations Drive Oversized Results.

Accolades and Awards

Josh has twice been named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and is a President Barack Obama Champion of Change award recipient. He is a regular columnist for Forbes, The Detroit Free Press, and Inc. Magazine. His work on innovation has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, CNN, and The New York Times. And yes, he still plays a mean jazz guitar.

Keynote Speaker

Josh Linkner brings a unique and diverse set of experiences to any project, and helps organizations drive creativity, innovation, and performance.  He ignites immediate and profound results and will show how to unleash hidden creativity and fresh thinking in every setting – from weekly staff meetings to major innovation sessions to new product breakthroughs. Organizations learn to tap into a deep well of inspiration and new ideas — any one of which lead to dramatic outcomes to leadership, innovation and performance. People come alive as they engage their curiosity and wonder – what seemed ordinary becomes an opportunity for new discoveries.


Deeply passionate about his hometown, Josh is playing a key role in the much-publicized turnaround of Detroit, Michigan.  A multi-generational Detroiter, he is working on the front lines to reinvent his troubled city.

BIG LITTLE BREAKTHROUGHS: How small, everyday ideas drive gigantic 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 instead on Big Little Breakthroughs – small, creative acts that unlock massive rewards over time. By building a daily habit of creativity, leaders and organizations not only enjoy a high volume of small wins, but also the daily practice of micro-innovations — the fastest route to discover the massive breakthroughs we seek. How did a convicted drug dealer use a Big Little Breakthrough to launch and scale a massively successful fitness company? Why was a nurse practitioner able to use daily micro-innovations to solve healthcare problems that the biggest corporations couldn’t crack? How did a tattoo lead to a 30% boost in performance for a publicly traded restaurant company? Big Little Breakthroughs isn’t just for propeller-head inventors, fancy pants CEOs, or hoodie-donning tech billionaires. Rather, it is a simple yet effective method for all of us to cultivate the power of human creativity. Focusing on a simple and deliberate approach to daily practice, the system enables people from all backgrounds, training, and walks of life to expand their creative skillset and mindset. It helps everyday individuals and leaders unlock inventive thinking and harness innovation to tackle tough challenges and seize bold opportunities. 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 fact, cultivating high volumes of micro-innovations not only de-risks the creative process, it builds the much-needed skills that lead to colossal transformations...and the creative confidence to take responsible risks.

FIND A WAY: How creative problem solving can tackle any challenge

In uncertain times, we can no longer rely on the models of the past and expect the same results. Creative problem solving has long been the core ingredient in overcoming adversity and seizing new opportunities. In this inspiring keynote, participants will learn specific techniques and leave both energized and better equipped to conquer challenges and drive possibilities. How can smaller organizations outpunch their competition and grow with limited resources? How can leaders bounce back and recover after facing painful setbacks? How can creative resilience be harnessed to conquer adversity? In this high-energy session, participants will see how creative problem solving can become their most powerful resource. They’ll uncover specific techniques to unlock inventive thinking and win even against impossible odds.

THE 5 MINDSETS OF INNOVATION: How the world’s most innovative leaders think and act

Having interviewed hundreds of top innovators, leaders and organizations around the world, New York Times bestselling author and tech entrepreneur Josh Linkner uncovered the five most powerful mindsets that are the building blocks for jaw-dropping innovation. In this high-energy keynote, your audience will learn to embrace these powerful approaches in order to conquer adversity and fuel growth. How did an oddball idea save the cattle industry over $1 billion? How did a large hotel chain create a new revenue stream and drive competitive differentiation without investing a penny? How did the leaders of a small organization stave off a near-certain extinction, even when they were overwhelmingly outmatched by a powerful enemy? Each mindset is reinforced through surprising, real-world examples, laugh out loud moments, and practical takeaways. The five mindsets are portable and can be applied immediately to any role, job function, or industry. This memorable session will leave your audience inspired, moved, and better equipped.

THE MUSIC OF BUSINESS: Problem solving, collaboration and agility from the dangerous world of jazz music

Be prepared to be amazed. Josh Linkner, a jazz guitarist since age 14, credits a musical background for giving him a different way of looking at business. In this stunning interactive presentation, a live jazz performance by Josh and his band is woven with stimulating dialogue. You’ll actually hear, through their music, fresh ways to unleash your organization’s creative mojo. In jazz, 99% of the notes are improvised; created in real-time. Yet it’s the structure of a jazz combo – not the inherent talent of individual musicians – that allows for such breathtaking creative expression. In today’s business landscape of dizzying speed, exponential complexity, and ruthless competition, we can no longer just play the notes on the written page. You will learn powerful lessons inspired by jazz musicians (a/k/a “real-time innovators”) to help you.

THINK AND ACT LIKE A STARTUP: How celebrity entrepreneurs generate game-changing solutions

Have you ever wondered how Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg think and act behind the scenes? How do the billionaire founders we revere invent bold ideas, do more with less, and change the world as a result? What would happen if the founder of Snapchat or Zoom joined your organization? Tech startups aren’t the only ones who can think differently. We can all use this same creative thinking in our own careers, companies, and communities. In this energizing and surprising keynote, five-time tech entrepreneur and venture capital investor Josh Linkner demystifies startup thinking and shares a specific methodology that we can put into practice immediately. Audience members will learn to embrace the creativity, grit, and vision of a startup and then channel this approach to drive growth, innovation, efficiency, and customer delight. Participants get an insider’s look as Josh Linkner decodes startup thinking to help leaders of any size company in any industry or profession: Understand how an entrepreneur would attack their organization with the specific goal of dislodging it. Reimagine their role through the lens of an entrepreneur. Harness the ferocity of entrepreneurial thinking. Embrace “startup speed” to increase velocity in their own organizations Learn the five best approaches used by startups to create disruption. Avoid the weaknesses that plague entrepreneurs by exposing the four biggest startup death traps.

RETHINK. REBOOT. REINVENT. An innovative framework to navigate volatile times

Over the past 24 months, the world as we knew it was turned upside down. The COVID pandemic sent shock waves through our economy, supply chain, and workforce, ringing in a new era of accelerated transformation. The successful models of the past have been rendered obsolete, requiring leaders to rethink their strategy in this defining moment. In this inspiring and actionable keynote experience, 5-time tech entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, venture capitalist, and world-renowned innovation expert Josh Linkner helps leaders respond to volatility with creative confidence. Exploring the core mindsets, habits, and tactics of the most innovative leaders on the planet, Linkner leaves audiences with an elevated capacity for inventive thinking and creative problem-solving through his battle-tested Reinvention Framework: • Reset. Pause, take inventory, and reassess. Recalibrate vision, goals, customer needs, market opportunity, regulatory environment, and competitive threats. • Release. Let go of existing assumptions and beliefs. Challenge conventional wisdom, defy traditional approaches, and reexamine previous models. • Reimagine. Spark fresh ideas using proven tools for creative problem solving and inventive thinking. • Redefine. Establish new rules of engagement. Retool existing approaches, models, and systems. • Realign. Reengage and reconnect key stakeholders (team, partners, customers, suppliers, media, investors) to the new reality. • Relaunch. Put new models into action intentionally while refining and readjusting in real time. • Reclaim. This deliberate framework will allow your organization and leaders to regain confidence, market leadership, and momentum. Participants (and their organizations) will leave the session… • Reenergized. Fueled with inspiration and energy to forge ahead in uncertain times. • Reequipped. Armed with a proven framework and specific tools to reinvent a new future. • Ready. Emboldened to meet the challenges of the day and drive sustainable success

All Josh Linkner Books

Big Little Breakthroughs: How Small, Everyday Innovations Drive Oversized Results
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Hacking Innovation: The New Growth Model from the Sinister World of Hackers
Purchase Book
Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity
Purchase Book
The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation
Purchase Book

“Josh … I’m sure I speak for everyone in the GEICO IT organization when I say that we thoroughly enjoyed your presentation. Your talk was both inspiring and motivational; and far exceeded our expectations. Thank you again for doing a great job and it was a pleasure to meet you.”

- | GEICO University

“Josh Linkner made a huge impact on our organization. His message on creativity and innovation was spot-on and his work has had a lasting effect. After hiring him for one conference where he was voted the top speaker by far, we promptly invited him back to present to a larger audience. His keynote was high-energy, interactive, and left us with specific tools and techniques to improve our creative output.”

- | Mercedes Benz

“Josh has unmatched ability to embrace innovation. At his repeated visits to Viacom, Josh has consistently offered the strategic ideas and practical techniques necessary to drive creative thinking.”

- | Viacom

“Josh, everyone had nothing but great things to say about your presentation. You did a wonderful job at entertaining and enlightening the crowd with your message. Thank you so much!”

- | Visa

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Recent Books

Big Little Breakthroughs: How Small, Everyday Innovations Drive Oversized Results
Purchase Book
Hacking Innovation: The New Growth Model from the Sinister World of Hackers
Purchase Book

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