Simon Banks

Simon describes his geek out spot as the intersection of creativity and design, learning, people and passion. 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 and learning by doing, which is at the heart of how creativity works. 

Simon has substantial experience, with over 1400+ events facilitated across Europe, Asia, America and Australia. He’s worked to turn creative thinking up to 11/10 and bring innovation out of teams with companies that include: Google;  EY; The Federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; Geoscience Australia; Laing O’Rourke; and Volkswagen, to name a few.  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 and then building the lasting innovation skills to deliver that change.

Creativity is at the heart of everything Simon does. He has exhibited his art across the globe, lectured at the National Gallery of England and developed and delivered programs for institutions such as The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Vivid Sydney and the  Sydney Fringe Festival, and continues to have a foot firmly planted in both the creative and corporate worlds. (It’s his secret special sauce for empowering people to think differently.) It’s also why he loves drawing live in all of his keynotes.

Simon lives by the mantra, no one ever went to an event and said, ‘you know what?  I wish I had a more boring time1’ Simon is known for his energy on stage and the question everyone asks is “where do you get it from?” He’s night quite sure but it’s definitely legal.

He prefers a moped to a Harley Davidson, and surfing over a corporate commute

And the question that everyone asks? Yes, all drawings in his presentations are his own.

Speaking topics

Creativity, my old friend, I’ve come to talk to you again

Guess what's topping the World Economic Forum's wish list for 2030? Creativity my friend! But hold on, is creativity just a special gift for a chosen few, or is it something we've all stashed away and need to dig out?

Remember that kid who could turn any nook into a possibility and make an adventure out of every chance? Well, being child-ish is quite different from being child-like; in fact, kids have a massive leg up on us adults. They're naturally imaginative, curious, and can create without a single worry hogging their minds. It's high time we hit pause, listen to our old creative friend and rekindle those skills we left behind.

In the whirlwind of automation and AI taking over, the future of work is waving its hands desperately, shouting, "We need your creativity, like, yesterday!" It's not asking politely; it's practically on its knees. Your creativity is your secret weapon in this ever-changing game.

Creativity isn't just a buzzword; it's the magic wand that unlocks a world of possibilities in your personal, career, and organisational puzzles. It's the superhero cape you wear to tackle challenges big and small in ways nobody else can.

Ready for a ride? It's time to shake things up: jump on board this keynote to infuse a splash of creativity into your every day, at work, home and play with.

Key outcomes

  • Explore the science behind creativity and how it makes us human
  • Understand that we all have unique creative intelligences and how to make use of them
  • Apply a creative mindset to both simple and complex problem solving
  • Develop the creative confidence to take risks and taking charge of your own creative journey
  • Learn how to get rid some of the organisational speed bumps that can pop us and stop us saying, “hello creativity, my old friend’
  • Develop the creative confidence to bring your awesome ideas into the world

Leading with Innovation: Now we’re talking!

Leading a continuous culture of innovation may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. You don't necessarily need to invest in bean bags, a ping pong table, or even set up a craft brewery in the lunchroom—unless, of course, that’s your jam.

The real game-changer is in the little stuff, the things that pack a punch. Your organisation's got potential itching to break free, and you're the visionary to unleash it. Forget about spreadsheets and Gantt charts; the real magic wand is right in front of you: it’s your awesome people!

This keynote is for those who’re ready to initiate and guide an innovative culture, unlock their organisation's hidden powers, and ride the wave of constant "aha" moments that keep the progress train chugging along as they delight their customers and smoke the competition; all aboard the innovation express!

Key outcomes

  • Embrace innovation: from a hard task to daily approach
  • Learn how to foster a culture where authenticity is not just encouraged but expected
  • Create an environment where people and innovation thrive, promoting ideas generation, fostering market-leading thinking, and outstanding results.
  • Acquire the tools to enable your teams to fulfil their innovation potential and envision possibilities they may have never seen before
  • Implement cost effective strategies to Identify and remove
  • innovation barriers
  • Learn how to generate a continuous flow of ideas and how to transform them into tangible actions focussed on driving positive change

Curiosity may kill cats, definitely not humans

Ever wonder what's really going on around you? Are you the kind of curious cat who stops, explores, and takes in all the goodness life has to offer? Are you?

Curiosity is like your superhero cape…and the good news is that this cape is available to anyone, anywhere, anytime. All it takes is a sprinkle of wonder and a dash of adventure and then you’re good to go on a journey where the ordinary transforms into the remarkable.

The future belongs to the bold question-askers, the fearless explorers, and the daydreamers. Curiosity is like the cool kid in town—it sparks discovery, customer centricity, and challenges the old, well-known ways of doing what’s always been done: skills that are very much in demand right now.

But how do you amp up your curiosity? Simple, it all starts with opening your eyes. When we do, we spot things others miss, things we didn't even know were there. And that’s exciting.

But here's the kicker: This isn’t a keynote like the ones you’ve seen before.

You will develop your curiosity and learning to see by embarking on an explorative quest into some of the most famous artworks of all time digging into their most hidden details, their connections and the stories behind them. Brace yourself for an explorative quest that goes beyond the surface, delving into hidden details, unravelling intricate connections, and uncovering the captivating stories behind these masterpieces. You’ll train your eyes in the skill of seeing the unseen, challenging paradigms and unearthing the stuff we usually speed past.

Curious yet? You should be!

Key outcomes

  • Learn how to use your visual intelligence to create new connections
  • Discover how the neuroscience of curiosity leads to discovery
  • Explore the crucial relationship between curiosity and critical thinking when solving complex problems
  • Embrace curiosity as a pillar of lifelong learning culture
  • Shed the blinkers and paradigms that narrow our thinking, moreover, never ever look at work of art in the same way
  • Apply your visual intelligence skills to all areas of your life

Occupational Philosophy: The new compass to navigate uncertainty

The thinking that led to the challenges we’re facing won't be the thinking that resolves them. It's crucial to challenge our biases and filters, letting go of presumed knowledge and becoming comfortable in the grey areas of ambiguous scenarios, where multiple truths and correct answers coexist.

Introducing 'Occupational Philosophy'!

Inspired by ancient thinkers asking: "How should we live?" We bring that curiosity to work—asking: "How should we work?" Let's ditch answers for better questions. In our complex world, embracing uncertainty, humility, and intense curiosity sparks creativity, empathy, and innovation—crucial for success in business, society, and overall in life. Philosophy isn't just for dusty bookshelves; let's make Occupational Philosophy a ‘thing’! You can be an Occupational Philosopher too, changing how organisations work and spreading the approach to our communities. Humility and curiosity cut through life's polarised debates, making a difference everywhere.

Packed with smiles, a new outlook, and a touch of adaptability and openness, this keynote is your ticket to making sense of a world that sometimes defies understanding.

Key outcomes

  • discover how to feel comfortable in a space where right or wrong may not be the answer
  • Get new insights on the moral and ethical principles that rule the world we’re living in
  • learn about how philosophy opens up to new perspectives on complex topics
  • gain a fresh point of view by reframing your questions
  • delve into the power of experimenting on a daily basis

The Art of the Story (or not sending your audience to sleep)

Humans have been telling stories since day one. They are an essential part of our 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, it puts information in a way that our 21st Century minds crave – simple, meaningful and engaging. Whilst technology can spice up storytelling, it’s the most basic human traits of human 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!)

Key Outcomes

  • Understand the neuroscience of storytelling and why we need to put storytelling into factual presentations to engage the brain
  • Be able to craft and create simple and compelling pictures to explain complex problems
  • Develop a framework to tell a purpose-led story about yourself and your company in a way that is engaging and captivating
  • Present with energy and positivity 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

Testimonials

I just wanted to say thank you so much for yesterday’s session! We had over 300 staff attend the live session and over 200 have registered for the webinar recording. I’ve received the feedback and it reflects what we saw during the session – that staff really enjoyed the topic, were engaged and loved your creative presentation style.
Rebecca Ryan (she/her), Leadership, Management & Enterprise | Learning & Development,
Australian Taxation Office

We loved having you as part of our DevFest events and Leadership Summits – thank you again for spending time with us and sharing your many talents. Your storytelling session was by far one of the most popular!
Katie Barry, Organisational Development Consultant,
Sportsbet

Ticket to Ryde was our first all staff conference to be delivered over 4 days – and we knew we had to create a memorable and high energy event with impact! Simon was a true professional. From our first conceptual brainstorming session, Simon worked closely with us until we moulded the prefect blend of information, fun and connection into our program. We went into the event knowing Simon would deliver and engaging, thought provoking keynote and he went above and beyond in facilitating our workshops with high energy and purpose. With 4 keynotes and 16 workshops facilitated over 4 days, it was a huge thankyou to Simon for inspiring our staff to be curious, creative and imaginative – bringing our ideas to life!
Kate Rodger, Organisational Development and Capability Lead,
City of Ryde

From the outset of our engagement with Simon, it was very clear how he could help our team to better solve business problems by avoiding tunnel vision thinking and improving the ROI of our most valuable resources, our people. His design thinking approach has helped accelerate our team development journey and has already started to produce great outcomes by making sure that the team focus on ready-to-use outcomes which are equitable, enjoyable and most importantly useful. Guaranteed, I would love to work with Simon again.
Nigel Nisbett, Director, Professional Services, Asia Pacific & Japan,
Boomi

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
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

Simon Banks speaker

Speaker Video

Simon Banks - Speaker showreel

Simon Banks - Speaker showreel

CO-LAB - Collaborating on road safety - Part 2

CO-LAB - Collaborating on road safety - Part 2

Simon Banks - Corporate Emcee Bio Whiteboard Animation

Simon Banks - Corporate Emcee Bio Whiteboard Animation

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