Simon Banks

Creativity, innovation, and design specialist

International keynote speaker

Author, A Thousand Little Lightbulbs: How to kickstart a culture of Innovation in your Organisation

Co-host of the Occupational Philosophers Podcast

Recovering professional artist,

And forward thinking and creative confidence pro.

Simon Banks


‘No-one ever went to an event and said,
“Hmmmmm, I wish I had a more boring time!

Reimagine what’s possible:

Paper plane

Simon’s an author and his book, A Thousand Little Lightbulbs: How to kickstart a culture of Innovation in your Organisation, provides a tool to leverage the greatest innovation asset 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 appreciated by an international audience.

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.

He uses his artist’s curiosity combined with his 20-year corporate career to help build a more creative, innovative world. The aim is to help business thrive in the modern age through cutting-edge reimagination, co-creation and radical collaboration. To ignite results and keep innovation rolling.

Drawing on the practical world of creativity and design, Simon’s big point of difference is an active, hands-on approach for everyone present. People learn by doing. This ensures that the audience has those big ‘a-ha’ moments intrinsically. It’s not just a framework shoved at them from the front of the room.

Duck jumping with lightbulb

Together, people ‘do’ the practical work of creative problem solving: designing solutions, being highly curious and experimenting quickly. With Simon’s guidance, people get involved in the ‘doing’ of innovation that develops creative confidence, so they can go back into their organisation and empower others on their innovation journey.

Simon’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.

Paper Plane

Simon’s spoken at and facilitated an enormous range of events, running 1400+ across Europe, Asia, America and Australia, including:

With a high-energy approach that engages audiences instantly, Simon is a consummate 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).

Simon’s clients span diverse industries, but they all value the biggest result he delivers: a shift in their thinking so they can reimagine what’s possible.

Simon Banks with moon and duck

What Magic Does Simon Weave For You?

Savvy, energetic, sharp and original, Simon will take your organisational conversation about innovation from ‘meh’ to ‘hell yeah’. His way of inspiring reimagination 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:

Paper plane

Keen to find out more?

Touch pointing

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 is your guarantee for a program or event that lives on in the memories of your people, for all the right reasons.

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 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 creative adventures with his family.

If you want to make sure you fulfill 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

Paper plane

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 boast, 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, get the result you’re looking for, 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 to reimagine what’s possible. To grow their ideas & innovation capacity, even if they think they’ve heard it all before. In this business climate, that’s more important than ever. 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 just lost in ‘business as usual’.

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 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, is not-so-serious business podcast to spark imagination, creativity and curiosity and is downloaded across the globe. Me and John Rice chat every fortnight 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 reimagine what’s possible.

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 in everyone that people 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 or event can have your people raving and really shift the conversation around what’s possible 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

Thank you Simon for your outstanding work! You bring life and energy to the room and engage the audience from start to finish. You go above and beyond when investing in the set-up, resources and creative planning for the session. Your inclusive and collaborative approach makes you an absolute delight to work with and we can’t wait to have you back to influence and impact the next cohort of the Australian Rural Leadership Program!

Penny Gladwin, Manager Learning, Australian Rural Leadership Foundation

The keynote was awesome. Your presentation style rocks. You have made the most of doing talks remotely, your drawing and visuals are such a clever adaptation to this new online environment. I really enjoyed spending time with you.

Peter Seaman, Head of Continuous Improvement and Innovation – International Visitors at nib Health Funds

Simon Banks hosted the noumi Executive Strategy Session Roadmap to 2025 recently. Simon was engaging, innovative and kept the two days of presentations and discussions on time and focussed. Simon’s intelligent and witty summary of each session was topped only by his outstanding illustration of each session, which captured key points of each workshop and presentation in a picture. I would recommend Simon to anyone who values a friendly, flamboyant, creative and professional conference facilitator, who brings much more than organisation to your company’s professional event.

Dr Sonja Kukuljan PhD, Group General Manager Nutrition, Freedom Foods Group Nutritionals

As MC for EDA’s flagship event, the National Economic Development Conference (NEDC21), Simon Banks steered us through this virtual 3-day event with expertise and creativity. Simon kept delegates engaged in the virtual world, reminding attendees to tap into their creative thinking and facilitating great discussion and thought. Simon’s attention to detail and professionalism is evident in the way he prepared for the conference, ensuring he had strong program content knowledge so he could engage with expert speakers and delegates successfully. We look forward to working with Simon again, hopefully to experience all he can offer in a face to face environment!

Jacqueline Brinkman, Chief Executive Officer, Economic Development Australia

Thankyou for enabling us to create an event that truly commemorated the creativity that drives our industry, unpacked the curiosity that underlies every great idea and celebrated the power of storytelling in every way.
Every single attendee that I spoke to was inspired by the power of the insights that you shared, and your transparency in doing so. We all walked away motivated to grasp, shape and fulfil the potential of our industry – and to do so together.

Shane Allison, President, PRIA

If you’re thinking,
‘Hmmm, I’d like to know more’

Hands holding a bell and a butterfly