When the stakes are high, the unknowns are threatening, and the problems seem insurmountable, you need a superhero — which means you need Ozan Varol.
—DANIEL H. PINK, New York Times bestselling author of WHEN, DRIVE, and A WHOLE NEW MIND
Ozan is a rocket scientist turned award-winning professor, #1 bestselling author, and internationally acclaimed speaker. He is one of the world’s foremost experts in creativity, innovation, and critical thinking. He helps industry-leading organizations reimagine the status quo with moonshot thinking.
Ozan has been called a “true original” by Adam Grant and dubbed a “superhero” by Dan Pink. His work has been described as “must read” by Susan Cain and featured in the Wall Street Journal, Time, BBC, CNN, Washington Post, Fast Company, and more.
Ozan is consistently ranked one of the top speakers at conferences and private events. Audiences love Ozan’s blend of big ideas, witty stories, and down-to-earth humor. He’s a master at simplifying complex topics and delivering numerous “a ha!” moments. Ozan has the rare ability to get people to drop their phones and leave them with practical insights they can implement right away to level up in work and life.
Ozan’s diverse personal background (as a former rocket scientist turned lawyer turned university professor and popular author) allows him to connect with wide-ranging audiences. He’s delivered keynote speeches to small and large crowds at conferences, start-ups, and Fortune 500 companies across numerous industries. He’s trusted by institutions like Microsoft, Intel, adidas, Accenture, Deloitte, Salesforce, General Electric, Google X, CVS Health, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Navy.
Ozan is the #1 bestselling author of Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life. The book has been translated to over 20 foreign languages and has received many accolades, including being selected as:
- One of Inc.com’s “6 Business Books You Need to Read in 2020 (according to Bill Gates, Satya Nadella, and Adam Grant)”
- One of Amazon’s Top 20 business books of 2020
- Adam Grant’s # 1 pick of his top 20 leadership books of 2020
- One of 6 Groundbreaking Books of Spring 2020 (according to Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Dan Pink, and Adam Grant).
A native of Istanbul, Ozan grew up in a family of no English speakers. He learned English as a second language and moved to the United States by himself at 17 to attend Cornell University and major in astrophysics. While there, he served on the operations team for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers project that sent two rovers–Spirit and Opportunity–to Mars. He built stuff that went to the red planet and wrote code that snaps photos of the Martian surface. Ozan then pivoted and went to law school. He graduated first in his class, earning the highest grade point average in his law school’s history.
What others are saying
SEE SAMPLES FROM OZAN’S KEYNOTES
Ozan’s Speaker Demo Reel.
Strategy vs. Tactics.
How are Ozan’s audiences applying moonshot thinking?
Flying in the Face of Uncertainty.
Are you at the forefront of change?
Don’t see your preferred topic listed here? Please get in touch with me at this link. I’m happy to work with you to craft a keynote that will resonate with your audience.
Reimagine the Status Quo with Moonshot Thinking
Moonshot thinking is a way of turning the seemingly impossible into the possible. It’s the key to leaving behind the baggage of history and fostering innovation.
Businesses that take moonshots perform better, attract and retain top talent, and inspire teams and customers. In times of unrelenting change and uncertainty, it’s moonshot thinking that sets apart industry-leading businesses from the rest.
In this keynote, Ozan reveals his 4-step moonshot process to help you launch your own moonshot, spot opportunities you couldn’t see before, and create an extraordinary advantage to shape the future of your industry. The keynote draws on Ozan’s #1 bestselling book, Think Like a Rocket Scientist, which has been called “dazzling” by Adam Grant and “must read” by Susan Cain.
- How invisible assumptions are constraining your business (and what to do about it)
- How to abandon the “We’ve always done it that way” mindset and reimagine the status quo
- Why obstacles and uncertainty present opportunities to innovate
- The single principle SpaceX used to revolutionize the aerospace industry (and how you can use the same principle to transform your business)
- Why breakthroughs begin with a smart question—not a smart answer
- What sets apart top performers when it comes to solving complex problems
- How to nail your next product launch using an unstoppable astronaut training strategy
- How to become the disrupter (instead of the disrupted)
Innovation and the Future of Work
The old ways of working no longer work. Businesses can’t afford to live in a world of endless meetings, bureaucratic red tape, and broken ways of collaborating that decrease employee morale, hurt engagement, and hamper innovation.
The pandemic-induced disruptions—including greater uncertainty, talent shortages, and supply chain constraints—are just the beginning. Although people yearn for a return to “normal,” or try to predict the “new normal,” there is no such thing as normal. There is only change. Never-ending, constant change. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast, but constant nonetheless.
As we return to work, how can businesses stay at the forefront of change instead of being unraveled by it? In this keynote, Ozan shares research-backed tools and tactics for accelerating innovation in the new world of work.
- What you can do to activate a culture of belonging, boost psychological safety, and set up the ideal environment for creation and collaboration
- How to unlock the most innovative ideas from your employees
- The secret to fostering an engaged and motivated workforce
- How to strengthen your organization with lessons learned during the pandemic, instead of reverting to “business as usual”
- Why searching for certainty is a mistake—and how to thrive, not just survive, in uncertain conditions
- Three science-backed strategies for avoiding burnout and cognitive overload
- How to place little bets on innovative ideas without risking it all
- How to let go of past successes and continuously reimagine the status quo
Think Different: The Power of Cognitive Diversity
Many businesses strive to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace. But they often overlook cognitive diversity—which is based on differences in viewpoint or perspective. As a result, groupthink and conformity thrive even in institutions whose lifeblood is creativity. Employees hide their best selves rather than go against the grain.
In this keynote, Ozan shares a lively, research-backed roadmap that business leaders can use to promote a thriving corporate culture that harnesses cognitive diversity and fosters innovation.
- The two reasons why most modern workplaces stifle cognitive diversity and undermine creativity
- How conformity led to the biggest disasters in rocket-science history
- What you can learn from Netflix’s biggest mistake
- How to harness the power of diversity while maintaining team unity and alignment
- How businesses can promote psychological safety where employees feel free to speak up and share their best ideas
The Art and Science of Making Better Decisions
Research shows that 50% of decisions made by organizations fail. What sets apart great business leaders from the rest is their ability to make quality decisions consistently.
In this keynote, Ozan shares research-backed methods on overcoming analysis paralysis and making quality decisions—faster. He draws on his #1 bestselling book, Think Like a Rocket Scientist, and his former career in rocket science where people routinely make critical decisions in conditions of immense uncertainty while the clock is ticking.
- Why half the decisions made by organizations fail
- The one question that most business leaders fail to ask when making decisions
- Why brainstorming doesn’t work (and what to do about it)
- How to ask probing questions to generate better decisions
- How to shift your perspective to spot hidden possibilities
- Why quality decision-making requires looking outside your industry
- How to use a decision premortem to uncover problems before they occur