Simon Banks is an author, podcaster and international speaker on creativity, innovation and design and a happily recovering artist. He describes his geek-out spot as the intersection of creativity and design, learning, people and passion which he sees as essential building blocks for future leaders and developing a culture of innovation. His Big Why? To use his artist’s curiosity combined with his 20-year corporate career to build a more creative world to enable people and business to thrive in the Modern Age.

Simon has substantial experience, with over 1300 events facilitated across Europe, Asia, America and Australia across a diverse array of sectors and organisations. These include Keynotes, visual storytelling programs, exploring and developing strategy, innovation programs, rapid prototyping and design sprints and design thinking workshops.

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, Google, Sportsbet, Geoscience Australia, NAB, Carat Media, University of Technology Sydney, Laing O’Rourke, and Volkswagen, to name a few.

Simon is also a talented professional artist, exhibiting both in Australia and the UK, has lectured at the National Gallery of England and has developed programs for institutions such as The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

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 particular skill is audience engagement – a critical piece of the event jigsaw. Simon keeps the energy in the room at a high, putting the audience in a great place so they stay fascinated, smiling and happy. 

Drawing on his arts background, Simon is a masterful illustrator and uses these skills across all of his work including live on stage in a keynote, creating rapid visual representations of ideas and using it to hone and shift people’s thinking, especially in an innovation or strategic setting. This talent makes complex problems simple to understand and gives people a tool to use to solve wicked problems. His rapid-fire pace means feedback is instant, moving the event along at a cracking pace towards solutions while keeping everyone engaged.

He marries his creative abilities with his in-depth knowledge of the corporate world to ignite fresh, innovative thinking in his audiences…and help you create a unique event, one that will engage your people not just for the event, but for a long time afterwards too.

His book, A Thousand Little Lightbulbs: How to kickstart a culture of Innovation in your Organisation, is out now and provides a guide to leveraging 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 brings a fresh set of eyes to any conference, workshop or event. From designing the whole day’s agenda to assisting with presentation preparation, development of interactive programs and breakout sessions – whatever you need, Simon can work through it with you and design a bespoke, creative solution.

If you’re after an MC, keynote speaker, event facilitator or innovation maverick who can help your organisation embrace their creative potential with the professionalism, creative flair and energy your audience expects, you’ve found him.

Speaking topics

Future Skills: It’s time to be human

Welcome to the workplace of the future. It’s a new way of thinking, being and working built around imagination, empathy, multidisciplinary thinking and curiosity, something we all have in abundance, if we choose to use it. Explore that ‘if’ and find out what gets created in the space we give it. It’s time to be human.

A Thousand Little Lightbulbs

Kickstarting a culture of innovation (change that adds value) can feel pretty hard but it doesn’t have to. You don’t have to ride a unicycle or start eating kale salads, I promise (though I won’t stop you if you want to). Small steps can make a huge difference, so if you’re looking to kickstart a culture of innovation, fulfil your organisation’s potential and have a constant stream of little lightbulb moments this keynote is for you.

Busting Assumptions

Technology is driving and forcing change at a pace never seen, however technology by itself Is not enough. The intersection of humanity, creativity and technology is the most exciting part and where we will see the most revolutionary strides in the future. Digital transformation and human transformation go hand in hand. Embrace the marriage of humans and tech with this inspiring keynote.

Crafting beautiful stories

Humans have been telling stories since day one. They’re an essential part of our communication. A good story makes us think and feel, and speaks to us in ways that numbers, data, and dull presentation slides simply can’t. Learn why we need to put 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 and make meaning for your audience.

Getting to yes

Ideas can get stuck or shut down all too easily, killing inspiration and innovation in their tracks.

Getting to yes is a highly interactive keynote session that uses the principles of improv theatre, storytelling and Simon’s unique delivery style. He enables delegates to move to a place where rewarding conversations, captivating stories and great ideas exist and enable a culture of innovation and freshness to thrive every day.

Workshop Topics

Simon delivers a wide variety of workshops and conference programs that shift people’s stale thinking and develop skills essential for thriving in the future of work.

These include:

  • Design Thinking
  • Design Sprints
  • Visual Storytelling and Visual Communication
  • Innovation and Innovation Hackathons
  • Co-Creation and Co-Design programs
  • Storytelling
  • Rapid Prototyping
  • Creativity and Problem Solving
  • Visual Strategy programs

Testimonials

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.
- Practice Manager, Hayes Knight (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.
- Manager Marketing and Media, Marketing and Sales QLD 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.
- Internal Communications Specialist, Lumo Energy

The feedback has been nothing short of fantastic. Again thanks Simon for pulling off what will be a memorable night and of course now the bar for next year’s conference is set very high. Great job and really enjoyed working with you
- General Manager Small Business Programs & Services, Telstra

The feedback was fantastic from the conference. Thanks so much for your work with our sessions Simon. You were exceptionally professional, fun and really nailed the brief.
- Australian Wholesale Marketing Manager, Flight Centre Travel Group

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.
- Director General, QLD Department of Main Roads

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.
-Agile Coach - Digital, Commonwealth Bank

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.
- Executive Director, Ernst and Young

I tasked Simon with the job of MC and session facilitator at a national conference for accountants - Not the easiest of audiences, yet Simon’s unharnessed energy ensured the room remained engaged for the entire 3 days. Simon’s is fun, dynamic and forces the listener to move outside their comfort zone (in the right way). I have had the pleasure of working with Simon on numerous occasions and would personally recommend him to anyone seeking a speaker with a difference.
-Practice Manager, Hayes Knight (SA)

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.
-Head of Insights, eNett

Simon Banks speaker

Speaker Video

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CO-LAB - Collaborating on road safety - Part 2
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Simon Banks - Corporate Emcee Bio Whiteboard Animation

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