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Stephen  Shapiro

Stephen Shapiro

Hall of Fame Speaker

Stephen Shapiro

Hall of Fame Speaker


Stephen Shapiro cultivates innovation by showing leaders and their teams how to approach, tackle and solve their business challenges. Applying the knowledge he has accrued over decades in the industry, Stephen is able to see what others can’t: opportunities to improve innovation models and the cultures that support them.

The first innovation opportunity Stephen spotted was the opportunity to innovate within his own life. Halfway through his 15-year tenure at Accenture, while co-leading the company’s business process reengineering practice (focused on business efficiency), he realized he no longer wanted to be responsible for people losing their jobs. So he did exactly the opposite by building Accenture’s thriving 20,000-person process and innovation practice focused on growth and job creation.

In 2001, after publishing his first book, 24/7 Innovation, Stephen left Accenture to become a full-time innovation speaker and advisor to clients around the world. Since then he has published four more books – Goal-Free Living (2006), The Little Book of Big Innovation Ideas (2007), Personality Poker (2010) and Best Practices are Stupid (2011) — and spoken to audiences in 50 different countries. His sixth book, Invisible Solutions, was published March 3rd, 2020.

Today, Stephen continues to focus on transforming the way businesses like 3M, P&G, Marriott, Nike, and Microsoft improve innovation practices through customized keynote speeches, advisory engagements and other services. Passionate and captivating, Stephen’s high-energy approach to innovation gets audiences out of their seats and into new ways of thinking about their business challenges.

Stephen served a six-year term on the Board of Directors of National Speakers Association (NSA) and is the recipient of the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, NSA’s highest earned designation. In 2015 he was inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame (CPAE).

He has a degree from Cornell University in Industrial Engineering, which has helped him optimize the entire innovation process using the engineering techniques he learned there.

He was also involved with Girl Starter, a movement that encourages and enables young women to launch their own businesses. He was a judge and mentor on the TLC television show and has supported the speaking tour and other endeavors.

Stephen is based in Orlando, Florida and loves traveling to meet his clients around the world.


Speaker Videos

Personality Poker in Action

Stephen Shapiro on ABC News

Innovation Philosophy

BNET Interview

TEDx NASA | Innovation Keynote

Speech Topics

Reveal Hidden Solutions to Important Opportunities

What if your organization had an effective and systematic approach to deal with any problem or opportunity?

To find better solutions, you need to first ask better questions. The questions you ask determine which solutions you’ll see and which will remain hidden.

This interactive keynote contains a very simple tool to reframe any problem multiple ways: twenty-five lenses that help you gain different perspectives. Packed with powerful stories and practical tools, this speech will enable everyone on your teams to start mastering any challenge.

This keynote/workshop will help the audience…

  • discover why we are hardwired to ask ineffective questions and how to work through those barriers
  • understand the power and importance of well-defined questions
  • reframe any problem multiple ways to help you find the optimal solution

During this customizable and interactive keynote, the audience will not just leave with new concepts, they will have powerful tools they can apply every day.

For longer sessions, teams will have a chance to apply the twenty-five lenses. Not only does this leave people with a deeper understanding, but you also will capture valuable insights that the company can use. This can be done with audiences of any size.

This enlightening experience brings to life the concept in Stephen Shapiro’s latest award winning book, Invisible Solutions.

Innovate Where You Differentiate

To get the most from your innovation efforts, you need to know how to choose where to place your bets. If you try to be great at everything, you’ll be great at nothing. The key is to define and refine your differentiator – the reason why customers do business with you and not someone else. This practical and powerful keynote (or workshop) helps teams get clarity around what makes them special and then gives them the tools to use that to prioritize investments.

The two key frameworks people learn are:

  • The 5Ds of Differentiation – Your differentiator needs to be Distinctive, Desirable, Durable, Disruption-Proof, and Disseminated to have long-lasting impact. You will leave the session on a clear roadmap for defining your differentiation strategy.
  • The Innovation Targeting Matrix – This simple model helps organizations drive tenfold improvements on their innovation ROI

You will discover that being different is not the same as being differentiated.

Armed with these tools, everyone in your organization will gain clarity on how to prioritize their time so that each and every person makes the greatest impact. The goal is to innovate where you differentiate.

Read his Harvard Business Review article, “Do You Know What Makes Your Company Distinctive?” to learn more on his perspectives on differentiation.

All participants receive access to a digital portal with a variety of materials, including 4 pages of questions they can ask customers to clarify their differentiator. You don’t just leave this session with new insights; you leave with the tools necessary to turn the concepts into reality.

Innovation in a World of Uncertainty

We live in challenging times. Inflation. Supply chain disruptions. Pandemics. War. Talent shortages.

Given this level of uncertainty, we need a different approach for innovation. When you can’t predict what will happen next, traditional long-term investment strategies fail.

The key to being nimble during these turbulent times is to focus on placing many small bets – rather than a few large ones.

But what bets do you place? Which bets should you kill? And when should you double down? Answering these questions is the key to success.

During this interactive session, you will discover:

  • How to place better (more frequent yet smaller) bets
  • How to determine which bets are not worth further investment (experimentation)
  • How to avoid failure – and what to do when you do fail
  • How to create a culture of experimentation – quickly and inexpensively

We also have fun with a simple gambling simulation that demonstrates how we can lower our risk with our bets. The key is getting as many insights about the future, for the lowest possible investment.

This practical session will not only give everyone the tools and mindset for creating small experiments, but also will leave them with specific actions they can take within the next seven days to make progress with their innovation efforts.

The concepts are so simple to implement that companies can create an entire culture around experimentation with little effort, time, or cost.

The “small bets” approach demonstrated during this session are truly a game changer for any organization of any size.

Personality Poker®

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? Play Personality Poker® with Stephen Shapiro! This fast-paced, highly interactive game will help you discover:

  • Your primary innovation personality
  • Your innovation blind spots
  • Why the person you like the least is the person you need the most
  • What is missing from your team that is limiting innovation and success
  • 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 has been done with audiences of more than 1,000 people in a Vegas casino! Be ready for an incredible way to kick off your conference as it will set the tone for the rest of your event!

Innovate the Way You Innovate

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 customizable and 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 enlightening experience brings to life the concept in Stephen Shapiro’s latest books, Invisible Solutions and 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.” Focus your 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.
  • The pragmatic approaches shared in “Innovate the Way You Innovate” have increased innovation ROI tenfold or more.

Innovation for Innovators

You’ve decided to invest in innovation.

You have a team of innovators ready to change your culture.

Now where do you begin?

Stephen’s presentation, consisting of content from his best-selling book, Best Practices are Stupid, is specifically designed for individuals tasked with making innovation a reality in your organization. Throughout this impressive presentation, Stephen will 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

“Innovation for Innovators” provides the basics and the specifics necessary for any company to create a pervasive culture of innovation. It is often most powerful when done as a longer workshop rather than a keynote.