John Kao is an authority on the intersecting subjects of corporate innovation and transformation, design and the future of business.
Dubbed a "serial innovator" and "Mr. Creativity" by The Economist, he has made a career out of helping organizations go from "getting" the importance of innovation to "getting innovation done". John has worked with a wide range of Fortune 500 companies, startups and government agencies around practical issues of strategic innovation and organizational transformation.
In addition to his other accomplishments, John is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, sought-after keynote speaker, Tony-nominated producer and business pioneer. For 14 years, he taught at Harvard Business School, where he developed courses, lectures and executive seminars that addressed the topics of entrepreneurship, venture management, innovation, leadership and organizational change. He has also been a visiting professor at the MIT Media Lab and is at present the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Innovation at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey.
John is well known as a thought leader in the innovation field. He is author of "Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity", a Business Week best-seller that has been published in 12 languages. He was recently named one of the 200 most creative Americans and one of the 200 top management authorities worldwide.
John has previously founded companies in life sciences, innovation and e-services, and feature film production. He has advised governments and companies worldwide. He also serves as Vice President of Arts & Business in the UK and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. John has produced both film and theatre; his credits include: production executive on sex, lies, and videotape, executive producer of Mr. Baseball and producer of Golden Child.
John's experience in the design field is multifaceted. He chaired the Aspen Design Conference in 1995, which took up the question of reinventing the relationship between design and business, and edited a monograph based on the conference called "Designing Business". He has collaborated with a variety of world renowned designers, including David Rockwell, Nigel Holmes and David Carson. His approach to innovation is strongly informed by the disciplines of design.
John has broad experience in public speaking and executive education. He has given keynote addresses for such organizations as IBM, Intel, Accenture, The U.S. Navy, Nokia, Milia, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Government of Ireland, The U.S. Department of Commerce, The American Marketing Association, Fortune magazine, Forbes magazine, Business Week, Citibank, The World Economic Forum, Global Business Network, the TED Conferences, Columbia Pictures and the Government of Singapore.
John's keynote speeches on innovation are distinguished for their vivid call to arms as well as their practical and original frameworks for action. He has been known to illustrate the fundamentals of innovation (of "jamming", in his words) by playing jazz piano in a way that provides musical examples of the innovation process at work. He has "performed" such illustrations before audiences at Madison Square Garden and the Grand Ole Opry.
Born in Chicago, John Kao was trained in philosophy (B.A., Yale College), psychiatry (M.D., Yale Medical School; residency, Harvard Medical School) and business (M.B.A., Harvard Business School).
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