I’m an international keynote speaker and author, podcaster on creativity, innovation and design and a recovering professional artist. I’ve delivered over 1400+ events and am an experienced, proven and acclaimed presenter who’s helped people shift their thinking and develop great ideas in industry-leading companies around the globe.

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I keep the work I do directly with clients private.
Here are some of the recent public conferences where I’ve been a conference speaker

IABC Global Conference

IABC

New York, 2022

Virtual Lean
Summit 21

Virtual LEAN Summit

Global Audience, 2022

Human Insights Conference

Human Insighs Conference 2022

Sydney, 2022

National Development Conference (MC)

National Economic Development Conference

Virtual, 2021

PRIA National Conference

Public Relations Institue of Australia

Gold Coast, 2022

WANT A GUEST SPEAKER WHO REALLY INSPIRES?

My conference speaker geek-out spot is at the intersection of creativity and design, business and people, with some passion and inspiration thrown in. I think these are essential building blocks for reimagining what’s possible.

I use my artist’s curiosity combined with my 20+ year corporate career to help build a uniquely creative world to enable people and organisations to thrive in the ever-evolving business space. I’m here to help you bring fresh, cutting edge thinking and practical strategies to your workplace to ignite your people and achieve your business goals while keeping the innovation ball rolling.

Simon Banks on stage
Head statue with VR

The future is creative

Predicting future trends can be tricky, we’ve all learned that over the last few years.

Our creativity (connecting the dots in different ways) is essential for business as it helps us to adapt, thrive and grow – whatever the future trends are saying.

Building that creative muscle in our organisations empowers us to do all the things that machines, A.I. and technology can’t do. It’s all about our brilliant human capabilities. When your people have creative confidence as part of their business process, you’ll find your results skyrocket and your people thrive.

How does this work
in a
keynote presentation?

I’m not your ordinary keynote speaker. (Not boasting, I’m just a little different.)

As a practicing artist with a foot firmly planted in both the creative and corporate worlds, I ‘get’ creativity and the alchemy that becomes possible when we use it. I’m passionate about the critical role creativity – and its wingmen, curiosity and imagination – can play in our lives. I believe the world can only be a better place when we embrace our creativity and a more whole way of thinking, working, and doing.

I like to practice what I preach and bring a creative approach into the way I present keynote presentations. I use my visual storytelling skills to bring content to life with drawing (I’m handy with a Sharpie).

Just as I do in my Innovation Workshops, I draw on the practical world of creativity and design practices to provide an active, hands-on approach for everyone in the room (or on Zoom). People learn by doing and we get to do creativity. It’s not just a framework or a ‘follow my three steps’ shoved at them from the front of the room.

Simon showing the ogre sketch

HERE’S THE DEAL: IF YOU WERE BORN,

YOU’RE ALREADY CREATIVE.

Statue head with gloves

As the world around us continues to shift apace, it’s never been more important to be the creative human you’re designed to be. Whilst every business management trend will tell you how important creativity is, I’ll show you how to embrace your creativity every day to drive innovation and put you on the path to achieving the business goals you desire.

We’re on the edge of a revolution (yes, them’s big words!) if we choose to accept our limitless creativity, curiosity, and imagination.

And that’s what I love to bring into my keynote presentations – passion, creativity, energy and a tangible experience of what’s possible when we embrace what we were born to do.

If you’re after a better-than-average inspirational speaker (I don’t want to be too boastful) who ‘gets’ audience engagement and isn’t your average PowerPoint warrior, then I’m pleased to meet you.

And just before I go, let me tell you: I have a pretty compelling presentation style for both the online and offline environments. As a recovering professional artist, I’m comfortable wielding a Sharpie. As such, I use my drawings throughout all my keynote speeches. It makes for great audience engagement as the screen comes alive with animation and energy.

Mmmm. Sounds great,

Man with a bird head pointing to the left

Hello Creativity, it’s good to see you!

Remember that kid who saw possibility in every corner? Where every moment was a mini adventure? That was your creativity speaking, and it’s waiting to say hello – if you’re willing to listen. Future trends show us just how important our creativity is. As automation and AI rapidly change the world around us, your business strategy for the future of work needs your creative intelligence more than ever. It’s pleading for it: innovative thinking and reimagining what’s possible play a critical role that will only grow in importance.

As this keynote explores the neuroscience of why our creativity makes us human, be ready to embrace your creativity like a long-lost bestie. Every human is creative. When we open our eyes, are curious and use our natural-born creativity, the possibilities are endless – personally, for your career, for your organisation and the dent you and your organisation want to make in the universe.

This keynote presentation will enable you to kickstart your creative brain like never before as you say, “Hello creativity, it’s good to see you.”

Keynote outcomes:

  • Understand how normal creativity is and how it’s what makes us human (hello neuroscience!)
  • Explore what’s possible when we are highly curious and look at the world with fresh eyes
  • Build a tailored step by step process as you develop the creative confidence to bring your awesome ideas into the world
  • Understand how to get rid of some of the speed bumps that can pop up and stop us from using our creative intelligence
  • Explore how natural it is to spend time out of our comfort zones and how it enables us to think big, stay fresh and be the creative change maker we were designed to be
Statue head over a brain

A Thousand Little Lightbulbs:
How to Kickstart and build a culture of Innovation in your organisation.

Kickstarting a culture of innovation can feel pretty hard. Let me tell you, it’s not that hard to change your thinking and fulfill the hidden innovation potential in your organisation.

The good news is, I promise you don’t have to ride a unicycle, grow a Hipster beard or start drinking kale and quinoa smoothies (though I won’t stop you if that’s really important to you). Small steps and smart thinking can make a huge difference. If you’re looking to kickstart a culture of innovation, develop to your full potential and have a constant stream of little lightbulb moments that lead to massive forward motion, this keynote speech is for you.

Duck head jumping

Keynote Outcomes:

  • Reframe the Innovation Challenge: Move innovation from pretty hard to completely normal
  • Change your thinking: innovation isn’t about one type of thinking. It’s about embracing all types of thinking in your organisation: analytical thinking, creative thinking, social thinking, deep thinking and conceptual thinking (I.e. All diverse thinking caps welcome!)
  • Shift your culture: create a culture where people and innovation thrive, along with brilliant ideas, market-leading thinking, products and results
  • Inspire your team: understand how to enable your team to thrive and fulfil their hidden innovation potential so they see more forward-thinking possibilities than ever before
  • Recognise three common innovation handbrakes and how to release them (without spending a cent)
  • Move from theory to action: create a bias towards action to drive product innovation
  • NOTE: The Thousand Little Lightbulbs Keynote Presentation is based around my book, A Thousand Little Lightbulbs and its innovation framework. As with all of my keynote presentations, they can be delivered as innovation or ideation workshops tailored to your business event

Ok, this sounds good.

Reimagine how you solve problems and

keep creativity alive

Watch a Preview of Simon’s Reimagine Keynote

Four different colored head statues

You know those days, weeks, maybe even months where it can just feel like:

  • All this “stuff” is happening around us and we just have to use our emotional resilience to tough it out?
  • We’re just runners on the treadmill of crisis management 101?

  • We just have to keep sprinting (and keep attending the resilience training workshops) until we can get back to the normality of ‘how things were’?

Over the last few skew-whiff years, we’ve heard so much about the ‘re’ words – resilience, rebuilding and recovery. These are all important. However, we can’t do any of them unless we embrace another ‘re’ word – reimagine.

When we engage our curious and creative minds and reimagine what’s possible, we can write the uniquely creative stories we want to be in. With imagination, we can do better than merely adapting to the current ‘treadmill’ environment. We can thrive by shaping the environment, creative spaces and story we want to be part of. Yes, times are a little different (tell us something we don’t know!) and we need new ways of thinking and operating to not only just get by, but to thrive. Creative spirits aren’t just for downtime, it’s time to bring them to work, too.

Keynote Outcomes:

  • New tools and frameworks to build your critical and creative thinking and reengage your imagination
  • How to reframe the way you see problems as you develop your curiosity intelligence
  • Build creative entrepreneurship into your organisation as well as the ability to look at the world around you with a different set of eyes
  • Say hello to a refreshed soul and realise you have a smile on your face as you engage and reconnect with your creative spirit (we all have one)
  • How to encourage a creative a workplace culture where imagination and fresh thinking thrives
  • How to build emotional resilience in times of stress by tapping into the creative resources we all have inside us
  • Learn how to build imagination into your innovation process to create innovation that excites

The art of the story:
Principles to get real, get going and upshift your communication game

Humans have been telling stories since day one. They are an essential part of our communication, whether that’s in person or digital communication. A good story makes us think, feel, and speaks to us in ways that numbers, data, and presentation slides simply can’t. Most importantly, if you know your storytelling techniques you can put information in a way that our 21st Century minds crave: simple, meaningful and engaging. Whilst communication design technology can spice up storytelling, it’s the most basic human traits of effective communication and connection that drive a story and its ability to cut through.

If you’re after a session that busts through your company’s addiction to corporate speak and teaches you how to tell awesome stories, this one’s for you. (And think you can’t draw? Get ready to bust that myth once and for all!)

Head statues with lightbulb and star

Keynote outcomes:

  • Understand the neuroscience of storytelling and why we need to use storytelling techniques in factual presentations to engage the brain
  • Be able to use visual communication design to craft and create simple and compelling pictures to explain complex problems
  • Develop a framework and harness the principles of effective communication to tell a purpose-led story about yourself and your company in a way that is engaging and captivating
  • Present with energy and creativity and always leave a positive emotional legacy
  • How to put storytelling at the heart of your culture and the way you connect with your clients

Thriving ideas:
Get your team to a place where big ideas and great conversations exist every day.

Do you want to take your collaboration skills and creative leadership to the next level? Ideas can get stuck or shut down all too easily if your team lacks creative intelligence. In the blink of an eye, that flash of inspiration can be gone, never to return.

An organisation that routinely kills ideas is an organisation that’s not fit for the future.

However, it can be hard to find your creative flow in a world of 1000 emails, constant pings and endless checklists. How do you make sure that you future-proof your business and enable ideas and great stories to thrive across your organisation?

Good news, there is a way.

This highly interactive keynote session uses the principles of improv theatre, storytelling and a good dash of humour to engage your people. They’ll move to a place where rewarding conversations, captivating stories and great ideas exist every day, and the collaboration skills, strategies and team spirit speak via the results you see now, and into the future. Oh and if you like to snooze at the back of the room, bad luck as you’ll certainly be out of your seat for this one!

Who said learning had to be boring?

Simon Banks on stage

Keynote outcomes:

  • Understand how to find your creative intelligence to help your team move forward every day
  • Explore a skills matrix that shows you how to spiral ideas upwards and keep ideas alive, even in a world of 1000 emails a day and meetings you don’t want to be in

  • Get rid of accidental go-to responses that can kill great ideas in their tracks, and watch your team bloom (as well as your leadership coaching)
  • Understand the importance of active listening and get skilled up in how to do it
  • Understand creative leadership and how to manage your energy and state. See how that affects every human on your team, and what to do when it’s low so you can all benefit

Curious??

Here’s what some happy clients say about having me as a keynote speaker

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 environment. I really enjoyed spending time with you.

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

I wanted to write to you personally to say thank you on behalf of myself and our CEO Louise Harland-Cox, but most importantly a thank you on behalf of every single one of our members.

With you, we were able 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.

Thanks so much for your energy, enthusiasm, and most importantly – time.

Shane Allison,
President, Public Relations Institute of Australia

Thanks so much Simon! I had a blast. So many great comments on Facebook. Such an awesome effort getting everyone going online, it was great. Thanks so much for your time, our members truly appreciate it.

Keirin McCormack,
JCI Australia National President

Have some Keynote Speaker questions? I’ve got some answers:

I live by the science of ‘you move, you improve’. As such, I always get people out of their seats, chatting with others, engaging in short, sharp activities and have highly visual content. This means loads of live drawing, bringing the screen to life. Throw in some smiles and laughter and it’s a pretty good launchpad for audience engagement.

Great question! It’s great to kick off your event with a BANG and get everyone into the right headspace for the day/s of content. A great keynote speech can also often come at the end of the event, with a “How can we send everyone off on a high and with a big smile?” Either way, always make sure the start and end of your event are full of energy. Your audience will thank you for it, and they won’t be asleep, either.

Not really! Let me explain: when I think of motivational, I think of someone shouting, “You can do it, believe in yourself!” This is great – I love Tony Robbins – however, I don’t really speak about motivation. I’m about getting people excited about the potential that exists in them already and bringing that out in a fun way that stays with them long after the keynote is over. Saying that, if people don’t feel motivated and just a little excited after you’ve spoken to them, maybe you’re in the wrong career.

Yes, yes, yes! (And with bells on!) All keynotes can be delivered from one-hour all the way up to three -day workshops. Get in touch to talk with me about what you’ve got in mind.

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

Hands holding a bell and a butterfly