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.
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, 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, 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 is:
- 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 books of 2020 in three categories (non-fiction, business, and science)
- 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).
Ozan’s keynotes typically last for 1 hour, which includes a Q&A period. Ozan also conducts workshops (ranging from 2-4 hours) for businesses interested in applying his strategies to real-life problems and getting more in-depth, personalized advice from him.
You can read testimonials about his keynote speeches below and watch a segment from a previous presentation.
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How to Think Like a Rocket Scientist
Rocket science is often celebrated as the ultimate triumph of technology. But it’s not. Rather, it’s the apex of a certain thought process—a way to imagine the unimaginable and solve the unsolvable. It’s the same thought process that enabled Neil Armstrong to take his giant leap for mankind, that allows spacecraft to travel millions of miles through outer space and land on a precise spot, and that brings us closer to colonizing other planets.
Today, thinking like a rocket scientist is a necessity. We all encounter complex and unfamiliar problems in our lives. Those who can tackle these problems— without clear guidelines and with the clock ticking—enjoy an extraordinary advantage.
In this keynote, Ozan will reveal nine simple strategies from rocket science that you can use to make your own giant leaps. You’ll learn:
- The single principle Elon Musk used to revolutionize the aerospace industry (and how you can use the same principle to transform your business)
- What sets apart top performers when it comes to solving complex problems
- How invisible rules constrain your business (and what to do about it)
- How to reframe questions to generate better answers
- What George Costanza and rocket scientists have in common, and what you can learn from both in starting your next project
- How to nail your next product launch using an unstoppable astronaut training strategy
You won’t be a rocket scientist by the end of this keynote. But you’ll learn how to think like one.
Future Proof: How to Thrive in a World of Constant Change
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed what has always been true: The world around us is evolving at dizzying speed, and the ground we stand on is never solid. Business leaders of all kinds are trying to keep the train on the tracks, while reacting to a multitude of new frontiers: remote work, declined demand, and disrupted consumer behavior.
In this keynote, I’ll explain how businesses can thrive in a world of constant change. I’ll cover how you can leave behind the baggage of history and reinvent yourself. I’ll explain how to cultivate agility, which is the business superpower that will enable you to define the future. I’ll bring in insights from my former career in rocket science where people routinely tackle seemingly insurmountable challenges while the clock is ticking. I’ll share with you examples from elite companies who have evolved with the times, as well as my own personal experience of thriving under change.
Reimagine the Status Quo for Breakthrough Innovation
We’re genetically programmed to follow the herd. Thousands of years ago, conformity to our tribe was essential to our survival. Not anymore. The ability to disrupt established methods and find new ways of looking at old ideas is one of the most sought-after qualifications in all fields. It’s a superpower that allows you to see things that others miss.
Yet this super power is becoming increasingly rare. Businesses plant their lightning rod where lightning struck last and wait for it to strike again. This worked once, so let’s do it again. And again. And again. Over time, imitation makes the original obsolete.
This keynote reveals how to question and redefine conventional wisdom to generate breakthrough innovation. I’ll explain:
- How to implement first-principles thinking to question outdated assumptions that are holding you back.
- The one simple question that created a transformative marketing campaign and revolutionized an Olympic event (and how you can use the same question to transform your business)
- A 2-step process for squashing fear of uncertainty and failure
- The secrets that the world’s elite companies use to not only endure market shifts and global changes, but leverage them to their advantage.
- How to use a simple technique called combinatory play to redefine the rules of the game.
When you learn how to reimagine the status quo, you won’t just change the way you view the world. You’ll be empowered to change the world itself.
Think Different: The Power of Cognitive Diversity
Many businesses strive to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace. But an often-overlooked aspect of the issue is cognitive diversity—which is based on differences in viewpoint or perspective. According to cutting-edge research, cognitive diversity can promote problem-solving and increase innovation by bringing a wide variety of perspectives to the table.
Most businesses stifle cognitive diversity. As a result, groupthink and conformity pop up even in institutions whose lifeblood is creativity. Employees hide their best selves rather than go against the grain.
In this keynote, Ozan will share a lively, anecdote-filled roadmap that business leaders can use to promote a thriving corporate culture that harnesses cognitive diversity. You’ll learn:
- The two reasons why most modern workplaces stifle cognitive diversity and undermine creativity;
- How conformity led to the biggest disasters in rocket-science history (and what businesses can learn from these disasters);
- Why the best ideas come from great teams, not great individuals; how to harness the power of diversity while maintaining team unity
- How businesses can promote psychological safety where employees feel free to speak up