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Ozan Varol

"Ozan's speech to our team was insightful, thought-provoking, and most importantly, actionable. If you want to help your team open their minds to new possibilities—and not only dream about moonshots but also find ways to successfully land them—Ozan will deliver above expectations." Financial Services

When the stakes are high, the unknowns are threatening, and the problems seem insurmountable, you need a superhero — which means you need Ozan Varol.

DANIEL H. PINK

Ozan Varol is a rocket scientist turned award-winning professor, #1 bestselling author, and internationally acclaimed speaker. He is one of the world’s foremost experts in creativity, innovation, and critical thinking. He helps industry-leading organizations reimagine the status quo with moonshot thinking.

Varol has been called a “true original” by Adam Grant and dubbed a “superhero” by Dan Pink. His work has been described as “must read” by Susan Cain and featured in the Wall Street Journal, Time, BBC, CNN, Washington Post, Fast Company, and more. His books and articles have been read by millions around the globe.

Varol is consistently ranked one of the top speakers at conferences and private events. Audiences love his blend of big ideas, witty stories, and down-to-earth humor. He’s a master at simplifying complex topics and delivering numerous “a ha!” moments. Varol has the rare ability to get people to drop their phones and leave them with practical insights they can implement right away to level up in work and life.

Varol’s diverse personal background (as a former rocket scientist turned lawyer turned professor and popular author) allows him to connect with wide-ranging audiences. He’s trusted by institutions like Microsoft, Intel, adidas, Accenture, Deloitte,  Salesforce, General Electric, Google X, CVS Health, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Navy.

He’s the author of two bestselling books, Awaken Your Genius and Think Like a Rocket Scientist. The books have been translated into 25 foreign languages and received numerous accolades, including being selected as:

  • One of Amazon’s Top 20 business books of the year
  • Adam Grant’s # 1 pick of his top 20 leadership books of the year
  • One of Inc.com’s “6 Business Books You Need to Read This Year (according to Bill Gates, Satya Nadella, and Adam Grant)”
  • One of 6 Groundbreaking Books of Spring 2020 (according to Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Dan Pink, and Adam Grant)

Featured Videos

Ozan Varol Profile Photo
Ozan Varol

Ozan Varol: Moonshot Speaker Reel 2023

Ozan Varol Profile Photo
Ozan Varol

Ozan Varol: Keynote Speaker Reel 2023

Ozan Varol Profile Photo
Ozan Varol

Ozan Varol: Strategy vs. Tactics

Ozan Varol Profile Photo
Ozan Varol

How Ozan’s Audiences are Applying Moonshot Thinking

Ozan Varol Profile Photo
Ozan Varol

Ozan Varol: Flying in the Face of Uncertainty

Ozan Varol Profile Photo
Ozan Varol

Ozan Varol: Are You at the Forefront of Change?

Ozan Varol’s Speech Topics

  • Reimagine the Status Quo with Moonshot Thinking

    Moonshot thinking is a way of turning the seemingly impossible into the possible. It’s the key to leaving behind the baggage of history and fostering innovation. 


    Businesses that take moonshots perform better, attract and retain top talent, and inspire teams and customers. In times of unrelenting change and uncertainty, it’s moonshot thinking that sets apart industry-leading businesses from the rest.


    In this keynote, Ozan reveals his 4-step moonshot model to help you launch your own moonshot, spot opportunities you couldn’t see before, and create an extraordinary advantage to shape the future of your industry. The keynote draws on Ozan’s #1 bestselling book, Think Like a Rocket Scientist, which has been called “dazzling” by Adam Grant and “must read” by Susan Cain. 


    You’ll learn:

    • How invisible assumptions constrain your business (and what to do about it) 
    • How to abandon the “We’ve always done it that way” mindset and reimagine the status quo
    • Why obstacles and uncertainty present opportunities to innovate
    • The single principle SpaceX used to revolutionize rocket science (and how you can use the same principle to transform your business)
    • Why breakthroughs begin with a smart question—not a smart answer 
    • How to nail your next product launch using an unstoppable astronaut training strategy
    • How to place little bets on innovative ideas without risking it all
  • Awaken Your Genius: Escape Conformity, Ignite Creativity, and Become Extraordinary

    We say that some people march to the beat of a different drum. But implicit in this cliché is that the rest of us march to the same beat. We copy and paste from our peers and competitors, chase trends, and adopt the latest fad. We hide the creative genius of our employees under outdated modes of working. 


    An extraordinary group of organizations think and act with genuine independence. They stand out from the crowd because they don’t copy the crowd. They unlock the full creative potential of their employees and create a thriving workplace that attracts and retains top talent. They become remarkable in an increasingly competitive marketplace and generate raving customers.


    In this keynote, which draws on Ozan’s bestselling book Awaken Your Genius, Ozan will share practical strategies that you can use to escape conformity, ignite creativity, and become extraordinary. 


    You’ll learn:

    • How to ignite the creativity of your team members and unlock their superpowers
    • How to discover your edge—the qualities that make your organization extraordinary
    • The secret to fostering an engaged and motivated workforce 
    • Why brainstorming doesn’t work (and what to do about it)
    • What you can learn from Netflix’s biggest mistake
    • Why there actually are stupid questions (and how to ask better ones)
    • How to look where others don’t look and see what others don’t see
    • Why success creates complacency (and what to do about it)
  • Innovation and the Future of Work

    The old ways of working no longer work. Businesses can’t afford to live in a world of endless meetings, bureaucratic red tape, and broken ways of collaborating that decrease employee morale, hurt engagement, and hamper innovation. 


    The pandemic-induced disruptions—including greater uncertainty, talent shortages, and supply chain constraints—are just the beginning. Although people yearn for a return to “normal,” or try to predict the “new normal,” there is no such thing as normal. There is only change. Never-ending, constant change. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast, but constant nonetheless.


    As we return to work, how can businesses stay at the forefront of change instead of being unraveled by it? In this keynote, Ozan shares research-backed tools and tactics for accelerating innovation in the new world of work. 


    You’ll learn:

    • What you can do to activate a culture of belonging, boost psychological safety, and set up the ideal environment for creation and collaboration 
    • How to strengthen your organization with lessons learned during the pandemic, instead of reverting to “business as usual”
    • Why searching for certainty is a mistake—and how to thrive, not just survive, in uncertain conditions
    • Three science-backed strategies for avoiding burnout and cognitive overload
    • How to let go of past successes and continuously reimagine the status quo
  • Think Different: The Power of Cognitive Diversity

    Many businesses strive to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace. But they often overlook cognitive diversity—which is based on differences in viewpoint or perspective. As a result, groupthink and conformity thrive even in institutions whose lifeblood is creativity. Employees hide their best selves rather than go against the grain. 


    In this keynote, Ozan shares a lively, research-backed roadmap that business leaders can use to promote a thriving corporate culture that harnesses cognitive diversity and fosters innovation. 


    You’ll learn:

    • The two reasons why most modern workplaces stifle cognitive diversity and undermine creativity
    • How you can promote psychological safety where employees feel free to speak up and share their best ideas
    • How to harness the power of diversity while maintaining team unity and alignment
    • Why innovation often begins with input from industry outsiders
    • What you can do to foster collaboration across organizational silos

What other organizations say about Ozan Varol

I am in my 40th year in this company, with 20+ years of executive conferences, and this was one of the best guest speaker segments I experienced. Practical, relevant, topical, and applicable—your points and presentation style was spot on.

Telecommunications

What other organizations say about Ozan Varol

I’ve seen countless keynote speakers in action. Ozan was among the top 3 speakers I’ve ever encountered in my life. His keynote — full of relatable and engaging anecdotes — gave me practical tools I could implement right away to make a meaningful difference in my professional life as CEO.

Education Programs

What other organizations say about Ozan Varol

Ozan was a runaway hit at our annual conference. Many attendees called him “the best keynote speaker” they had ever seen. His book, Think Like a Rocket Scientist, is one of my favorite business reads, and it was made even better by hearing Ozan personally speak about reimagining the status quo. A rising “star” himself, Ozan Varol is the real deal – so book him!

Education Programs

What other organizations say about Ozan Varol

Ozan’s speech to our team was insightful, thought-provoking, and most importantly, actionable. If you want to help your team open their minds to new possibilities—and not only dream about moonshots but also find ways to successfully land them—Ozan will deliver above expectations.

Financial Services

What other organizations say about Ozan Varol

Ozan’s presentation was fantastic – his content is thought provoking, challenging and compelling packed with pertinent examples to bring his concepts to life. Ozan was also a pleasure to deal with throughout developing our event. He was always responsive and worked with us to make sure his keynote would meet our needs. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Ozan as a speaker and author for teams looking to improve and challenge how they work and think.

Banking

What other organizations say about Ozan Varol

Ozan’s keynote was very well received. He customized his presentation so well to our industry (Pharma R&D). Many speakers during the rest of our two-day leadership retreat made references to the concepts he introduced.

Pharmaceuticals

What other organizations say about Ozan Varol

An exceptional keynote speaker—who’s also gracious, humble, and enjoyable to work with. Speaking at our Annual Meeting, he delivered an insightful message that resonated with the civic, political, and business leadership of our community. A former Mayor referred to him as “the most on-point speaker we’ve had in 30 years.

Chambers of Commerce

What other organizations say about Ozan Varol

Ozan spoke at our internal company kick-off events and was a revelation for many in the audience. His talk was inspirational, thought-provoking, and energizing. Ozan’s talk resonated with our employees so well that people continually referenced Ozan and “moonshots” for not only days but weeks afterwards! Highly recommend him a speaker.

Human Resources

What other organizations say about Ozan Varol

Ozan is well on his way to becoming a household name. He is incredibly bright, professional, easy to work with, responsive and kind. He speaks with ease and keeps his audience intrigued and engaged. His stories are fantastic.

Financial Services

What other organizations say about Ozan Varol

Ozan’s presentation rocked the house at Lawyernomics and got rave reviews from the attendees. Many called it the ‘highlight of the conference.

Legal

What other organizations say about Ozan Varol

I felt like I was watching a live TED talk!

Manufacturing

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