Want to be more curious and creative in 2022? Check out The Occupational Philosophers Podcast (just below!)


The Official Bio

Simon Banks: NOT your ordinary keynote speaker

Creative, Experienced, Engaging.

…And (dare we say it), FUN!

If you want your audience engaged, the energy high and your people raving about your event, Simon’s for you.

Simon is an international keynote speaker and author, podcaster on creativity, innovation and design and a recovering professional artist. He has delivered over 1300 events across the globe.

His book, A Thousand Little Lightbulbs: How to kickstart a culture of Innovation in your Organisation, is out now and providing a guide to leverage the greatest innovation tool in your business: your people. His podcast, The Occupational Philosophers is a not-so-serious business podcast to spark imagination, creativity and curiosity and is downloaded across the globe.

Simon describes his geek-out spot as the intersection of creativity and design, people, learning and passion which he sees as essential building blocks for innovation.

With a foot planted firmly in both the creative and corporate sectors, he brings a unique perspective to business as usual. Simon’s clients span diverse industries, but they all value the biggest result he delivers: a shift in their thinking that brings big results that enable them to adapt and thrive.

It all ties in with Simon’s big why: To use his artists curiosity combined with his 20-year corporate career to build a more creative world and enable people and business to thrive in the modern age.

Never have our inbuilt creativity, curiosity and imagination been more important than they are today.

As the world around us changes at a rapid pace, (who saw 2020-21 coming?), business models are upended and 2019 thinking will not provide the answers we need in 2022 and beyond. As automation continues to take away the repeatable and mundane, our essential human skills are what we need more than ever to succeed.

In almost every global survey, from the World Economic Forum, Deloitte and Adobe through to LinkedIn, CEOs list creativity as the most essential skill they need in their organisation (and this was pre-2020; this stuff matters!) The great news is that all humans have creativity in abundance, and Simon helps turn it into a resource that can power your organisation.

If you want to kickstart a culture of innovation in your company, completely shift your thinking and break through the business-as-usual or ‘heard all this innovation stuff before’ boredom, then you need Simon’s book in your life.

Click below to find out more about A Thousand Little Lightbulbs.

What magic does Simon weave for you?

Simon speaks at, facilitates and MC’s conferences and events and delivers a large variety of innovation and design programs. These include visual storytelling programs, exploring and developing strategy, co-design programs, rapid prototyping and design sprints and design thinking workshops.

The ‘Simon effect’ is a unique combination of his ability to meld the corporate and creative sectors, bringing a completely different perspective to curly business conundrums.  His way of shifting thinking galvanises forward-moving, creative outcomes which outperform business-as-usual thinking every time (and it’s the asset that clients buy).

His solutions cover both digital and face-to-face offerings, both online and offline programs and events.

He works with companies who want to develop a culture of innovation every day, everywhere and who value nurturing market-leading thinking, great ideas, products and results by putting people, creativity and design at the heart of their innovation strategy.

Simon knows that if you’ve got a problem, you’ve got the solution, too. You might just need help to bring it to life.

Watch some recent footage of Simon on stage.

Creating a culture of innovation – change which adds value – doesn’t happen by accident. Nor does it happen by endlessly throwing around the latest buzz words in meetings.

You need someone who knows the terrain to help your people forge their own path to innovative, creative solutions that fit your company’s quirks like a bespoke suit.

Simon’s unique blend of energetic enthusiasm, creativity and humour (what he’s known for) is your guarantee for a program or event that lives on in the memories of your people, for all the right reasons. With his authentic passion, he engages audiences instantly; they’re along for the ride and unlocking great ideas.

He marries his creative abilities with his knowledge of the corporate world to ignite fresh, innovative thinking in his audiences… and provides a roadmap to ensure that creativity lasts long after the event is over.

He’s worked to turn creative thinking up to 11/10 and bring innovation out of teams with companies that include: EY, The Federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, BHP Billiton, Sportsbet, Geoscience Australia, NAB, Carat Media, University of Technology Sydney, Laing O’Rourke, and Volkswagen, to name a few.

Simon’s spoken at and facilitated an enormous range of events, running 1300+ across Europe, Asia, America and Australia, including:

After a successful career as an artist and then a solid 20-year stint in corporates, Simon brought together his two specialities to create VisualFunk, his company that brings creativity and fresh thinking to organisations that want to grow, develop and foster a culture of innovation in their teams to produce great ideas, products and results.

With a high-energy, savvy approach that engages audiences instantly, Simon is a consummate, unflappable professional, without compromising on the fun. Many event clients say he’s the easiest person they have ever worked with (and that’s something that he prides himself on).

Watch Simon’s evolution from artist by night and corporate worker by day to International Keynote Speaker and innovation and creativity thought leader in the video below:

Now based in Sydney, Simon loves to travel (and like most, is waiting for travel to open up again) and live life to the fullest. When he’s not presenting, he can often be found surfing, creating and illustrating in his studio and finding new adventures with his family.

If you want to make sure you fulfil the innovation potential in your organisation and that your event, conference, training day or keynote are remembered for all the right reasons, you need Simon – or his book!

Get in touch with Simon today to have a chat about how he can bring out the best in your people at your event.

The Unofficial Bio

Hi, I’m Simon.

I’m an author, podcaster and International keynote speaker (and a little bit different) as you might have gathered. I don’t want to be a boaster but I like to subscribe to the ‘mighty fine online’ theory as well.

If you’re an event planner, you may be here because you want a speaker for your event or program who understands how important a well-run event is, isn’t a pain in the arse, connects with your audience and is fun to work with.

I’ve been on your side. I know that hiring the right person for your event is mission-critical.

You just want your event to run smoothly, your people to be engaged, their thinking shifted, and if everyone raves about it for a long time afterwards? That’s the gold standard but you’ll take that too! (Who wouldn’t?)

If you’re a leader, you may want to talk to someone who knows how to inspire your people about new thinking, ideas & innovation, even if they think they’ve heard it all before. In 2022, that’s more important than ever before. You may be wondering how to even get started with a culture of innovation in your organisation that isn’t lost in more change rollout jargon or lost in all the noise.

You may be thinking about how your team can continue to thrive and hit your sales targets in the 21st Century as disruption shapes our landscape in new ways every day. (And hasn’t disruption taken off in a way that we never expected recently?)

You may have a project where you need a really fresh set of eyes and someone who can help your team to shift their thinking and embrace their creativity and curiosity.

Well, good news! I think you’ve landed in the right place!

I come from two very different backgrounds: creative and corporate. I really like to have fun as well. Whilst I didn’t realise it at first, my left of centre mix has been a great blessing.

I know a LOT about ‘doing’ creativity and about how to get it working in a corporate setting, without scaring anyone off. It’s the foot planted firmly in both the creative and corporate worlds that sets me apart.

I love the human potential of creativity and curiosity so much, I’ve even written a book about it – and started a podcast.

Why? First let me tell you about the book…

We all come to a stage in our lives when we know that we need to do something different.
We need to break the mould.
Break out of the routine.
Maybe do something slightly rebellious or outrageous.

Some may call it a mid-life crisis. Spoiler: I got to that point too.

I couldn’t afford a Ferrari and I’m far more attracted to a Moped over a Harley Davidson, so I chose to write a book instead.

Logical? Nope. Satisfying? Well, maybe.

Whilst I wondered about the Harley Davidson vs Moped and riding into the hills, I’m glad I stuck with the writing.

Check out A Thousand Little Lightbulbs: How to kickstart a culture of Innovation in your Organisation here.

Now it’s out and at large in the world, I’ve got a lot to share.

I also create a podcast, The Occupational Philosophers, a not-so-serious business podcast to spark imagination, creativity and curiosity and is downloaded across the globe. the curious, creative, and imaginative star that you are, or would like to be? Me and John Rice chat every week in a not-so-serious business way on staying curious, creative, asking those really great questions (and leading a most interesting life in the process).

My big why? To use my artist’s ingenuity combined with my 20-year corporate career to build a more creative world and enable people and business to thrive.

The problem is, 95% of people I work with think they don’t have any creativity at all. NONE.

That’s why I love bringing fresh thinking out of a crowd; enabling a roomful of people to realise that they ARE innovative thinkers, even if their jobs and lives have told them otherwise so far.

There is just so, so much hidden potential that people can ignore.

That potential shouldn’t be – and in today’s world just can’t be – wasted.

Once a team can develop creative confidence, try new things and back their ideas, then watch out as this is when positive change happens at speed.

I know that building a team of fresh thinkers and constantly improving and adapting may be the end game, but it’s tough when you have immediate benchmarks and KPI’s to meet, and a team has heard all this innovation mumbo jumbo before.

It’s also hard when you’re up against a culture that might not be so supportive.

Using a very active and hands-on approach, I help teams rediscover their long-squashed creativity, design and problem-solving skills so that they can develop market-leading products, services and ways of working that delight their clients and can make a real difference.

Absolutely, each organisation is different, but I have never met a team that doesn’t want to develop the very human skills they need to thrive in the 21st Century.

I believe that innovation is EVERYONE’S job – everyone, every day, everywhere.

We all have a role to play in making the world a better place.

If you’d like to talk to me to figure out how your next project, workshop, online or offline event can have your people raving and really shift the innovation capabilities/the way you think in your organisation, give me a call or contact me today.

Here’s to your next event, workshop or keynote address knocking the ball out of the park and getting the outcomes you’ve dreamed of; well into the future.

Happy Days,


You're In Good Company

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City of Ryde
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Change Management institute
Metro South Health QLD
CPA Australia
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Schlinder Goup Ltd
Queensland Government
Simon facilitated our inaugural innovation event in September 2016 in Melbourne, where over a dozen teams participated. He brought great energy to the session, engaged the teams very well, coached us along the way, and made the event fun. Simon is a great presenter and facilitator and I would recommend him for other organisations looking to run innovation sessions, hackathons, or similar events.
Kristian Kish, Head of Insights, eNett
Ongoing value of the training we participated in with you has been amazing! And the few of us who were a part of the original training group are keen to introduce the other members of our team to the experience we all rave about. Thanks once again for an amazing experience, the best training I have ever done.
Norman Holmes, Team Leader, Community Partnerships, Mission Australia
Simon was first recommended to me by a mutual friend and I subsequently invited him to facilitate one of our MBA in Entrepreneurship (MBAe) masterclasses at the UTS Business School on the topic of Visual Communications, which he delivered with great energy and skill. Simon challenged attendees to think differently and develop more confidence around their visual expression. It was noticeable how in the following weeks students were more likely to uses simple graphics and sketches in their communication. I look forward to working with him again on future classes.
Jochen Schweitzer, Director MBA Entrepreneurship, University of Technology Sydney
Wow! What an impact our 2 days with Simon has had on our team. The team are constantly thinking outside the square for business improvement ideas and 'acting' more creatively. This is an absolute strength to this team and Sanitarium, and we are already seeing the business results. Well done and we can't wait for our next session in April.
Darren Watts, National Sales Manager, Sanitarium
Thanks for an amazing session on human centred design and prototyping Simon. We are still raving about what we learnt... Of course I love any chance to get out the cardboard, scissors and Lego to start building prototype collaborative engagement pieces.
Jane Tietzel, Manager (Stakeholder Engagement), QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads
We were very happy with how the conference went and your work was great in keeping them all pumped over 2 days. Everyone enjoyed your session and found it valuable. Feedback shows it was the best conference they had attended. Thank you so much I hope we can work together again soon.
Wendy Doxey, Practice Manager, Hayes Knight (SA)
We needed a creative and exciting way to bring two very different groups of people together. Simon worked with us to do this and is a natural at helping people relax into the experience of doing something that for many was completely out of their comfort zone. But it is in this space of risk and creativity that the team is formed. Great job.
Peter Horlsey, Volunteer and Corporate Engagement Manager, Cerebral Palsy Alliance
What a cracking event yesterday. Everything was superb. Everyone’s still talking about it. The vibe in the office is charged, as it was at the event also. Absolutely nailed the brief and got everyone excited about our new brand. Thanks for keeping so cool under pressure and a huge thanks to your team for being so wonderful and helping us during the madness that was the room set up. YOU’RE AMAZING!!!
Leanne Medeiros, Senior Internal Communications & Events Specialist, REST Industry Super
It has been such a pleasure working with you Simon. Your creativity, client service and professionalism have been impressive!
Brooke Wright, Manager People and Organisational Change, Ernst and Young
We just concluded our annual national conference - featuring Simon Banks as our emcee, keynote speaker and workshop facilitator. Simon was a key component in making our conference special, with his insightful approach and energetic delivery. A picture tells a thousand words, and Simon's skilful pictorial reflecting our three days together will serve as a permanent reminder of what we discussed - and how we are going to make things happen over the coming year. I highly recommend Simon for his ability and his unique approach!
David Wyner, Managing Director, PSC Reliance Franchise Partners
Everyone absolutely LOVED the experience. They were still talking about and referencing their experience on Friday! After 9 years – I’ve finally topped the best event !! Everyone was so engaged, Friday night was beyond hilarious. The laughing from everyone, cheering – was just incredible! Thankyou again for making it such a tremendous success.
Debbie Hough, HR Manager Australia & New Zealand, Sennheiser
Simon brought our organisation new skills and a new mindset. Simon's approach to engagement and problem solving promoted and placed our staff front and centre in bringing solutions to our organisation's challenges. Simon is an expert facilitator, a great artist, and an exemplar of positive creativity. I look forward to the opportunity of working with you again in the future.
Mathew Harvey, Manager of Digital and Technology, Public Trustee of QLD
The feedback was fantastic from the conference. Thanks so much for your work with our sessions Simon. You were exceptionally professional, funny and really nailed the brief.
Christie Hopp, Australian Wholesale Marketing Manager, Flight Centre Travel Group
Your energy, style and humour was very engaging and enabled the whole team to get in touch with their amazing creativity, to have fun and to step outside their comfort zone. Thank you for making it seem effortless, I really do appreciate how much hard work goes into delivering something that works so well.
Suellen McCaffrey, Human Resources Manager, St George Community Housing
As our event MC/facilitator, Simon's creative approach kept our audience engaged, entertained and wishing he wasn't Sydney based. Feedback from event attendees included "Simon's activities were very easy, non-threatening and fun", "my mind and body were kept active", "his creative activities were refreshing" and "Simon’s visual representation of our event really captured the themes of the day". Aside from being very generous with both his time and contribution to prior to the event, Simon flexibly supported the event coordination on the day with humour and finesse. Looking forward to working with Simon again in the future.
Ayesha Fathers, Regional Development Coordinator, EMR Alliance
I have had a chance to speak with most of the trainees and their mentors and they all loved the session! It was a perfect way to encourage mentor/mentee dialogue, as well as learning more about one another – and the wider group. Thanks again for delivering such an awesome session, and helping to establish such an integral relationship between our trainees and their mentors.
Kylie Jones, Indigenous Employment Support Coordinator, Chevron Australia
I would like to thank you for your role as facilitator and MC at the Department of Transport and Main Roads DG Customer Led Innovation Challenge. Your role was integral to making the day a success and was greatly appreciated by myself and all the participants.
Neil Scales, Director General, QLD Department of Main Roads
Simon was very well received and a pleasure to work with. He was very professional, lively and flexible. Simon took the time to research his presentation and had a great understanding of our objectives and more importantly the audience. Simon also unexpectedly brought some humour into his MC role and we received many positive comments.
Margot Streater, NSW State Manager, AILA
I cannot speak highly enough of Simon. He was great at setting the atmosphere and enabling us to connect with our team mates. He kept everyone on their toes and had some great ideas on ice breakers and games without anyone feeling embarrassed about being involved.
Trish Cooney, Manager, Community Relations, CatholicCare
Simon supported me in a bid for new work. His creative skills and imagination helped us communicate our proposition in a highly effective way and I believe this helped differentiate us from our competition. He was very professional, organised and flexible which helped us meet a very tight deadline. I look forward to working with him again soon.
Penny Shield, Executive Director, Ernst and Young
We called on Simon to help us with an internal event we held recently. From the outset he was brilliant, from thoroughly understanding our needs through to fulfilling his role as MC. Simon was able to engage the audience, inject energy and keep everyone entertained. The feedback from attendees was exceptional and left the crowd wanting more. I would have no problems recommending Simon.
Shane Muarenko, Agile Coach, Commonwealth Bank
This is the very best program I personally have ever experienced. Thanks so much Simon, I believe you have found your calling, not just in art and facilitation but bringing a whole bunch of people together that would not normally associate. I couldn't rave about you highly enough. Thanks again for a wonderful experience.
Brenda Sellers, Qld Management Team, BlueScope Steel
Simon is a very talented artist in many ways! And VERY good value - not only do you get someone who can create fabulous visuals of what your presenters are saying that embed the messages but you get a dynamic and interactive MC who can connect those excellent messages!
Amanda Gore, Best Selling Author, Award Winning International Keynote Speaker
Wow Simon! what a great fun night we had at our Sales Awards dinner last Friday at Byron Bay. Thank you so much for being such an amazing emcee. You were exceptionally talented, professional, high energy, creative and humorous! Most importantly everyone had heaps of fun and had great laughs, it was such a wonderful experience for all of us, so thanks again, look forward to work with you again in future.
Rachel Lim, Marketing and Events Coordinator, South East Asia Pacific, Arjo Huntleigh
Simon and his team designed and delivered workshops and visual facilitation activities for the entire leadership team (200 or so) to explore the vision for the new city of Canterbury Bankstown.The outcome was a visual representation of our new organisation, what we do and how we deliver services to our community which will be essential to driving our organisation forward. Simon displayed excellent customer service and worked across many areas of our organisation with our staff to ensure the vision captured a broad range of views and perspectives.
Janelle Davidson, Senior Project Officer Organisational Development, City of Canterbury Bankstown
Simon Banks presented a keynote speech and workshop at our company conference a few weeks ago and we are still buzzing with inspiration and innovative ideas since. His brief was to work his keynote and workshop material around our conference theme of innovation and technology, and boy did he do his research. We were very impressed with his knowledge of our industry and how he could weave his expertise into our conference theme. Simon has a genuine ability to engage any audience and empower that audience to think outside the negative "No" thinking behaviour and flip that to a positive "Yes" I can behaviour. I would highly recommend Simon for any company event in any industry. Simon can mould his magic and inspire any organisation that is looking for innovative thinkers in their organisation.
Mackenzee Beckenham, Bid Advisor and Project Manager, Barker Ryan Stewart
Simon recently facilitated at our Senior Leaders Workshop - he was fantastic at keeping the group motivated and is very adaptable. He reads people extremely well so can quickly adjust the flow on the day to deliver the right outcomes - and ensures energy levels never wane. His visual creations of the day / session add another valuable dimension to any event.
Bridget Candy, Head of Internal Communication, METCASH
I had the opportunity to work with Simon to bring to life our Values Week. Entitled "Seeing is Believing" Simon both educated and entertained our employees through graphic facilitation workshops. He empowered all participants to connect with their perception of the SA Water values through visual communication. Simon and his team provide a fun, intelligent, inspiring and engaging approach to learning that gets employees to reconnect with their inner creative. Simon's authentic approach with people is evident as is his commitment to ensuring that he delivers valued outcomes for his clients. I look forward to having the chance to work with Simon in the future.
Kathryn Gallina, Director People and Culture, Business SA
Just wanted to say a huge thank you for work at the conference last week, the day was excellent and the feedback we are receiving about you and the overall day is the best ever! I think you were a great addition both years, you kept the exercises different each time which certainly helped and I think staff were all really happy, particularly the way you managed the event.
Courtney Aspland, Manager Marketing and Media, Marketing and Sales, Sunshine Coast TAFE
I just wanted to say thank you for all of the work you did – before and during the CEO Forum. Simon, you made the day loads of fun for everyone. I am looking forward to finding more wonderful ways we can use your talents going forwards.
Julieanne Dowse, Internal Communications Specialist, Lumo Energy