It’s been a long and interesting journey from paralyzing stage fright to a sought-after international keynote speaker.

I’ve spoken at events ranging from customized talks and coaching for companies like IDEO, Apple, Google, Amazon, The Home Depot, GE, and many more; to large international keynotes at SXSW, HOW Design Live, Awwwards, Pausefest, FUSE, Tech Open Air, Fifteen Seconds Festival and more alongside speakers like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Nest founder Tony Fadell, Martha Stewart, CEO Tony Hsieh, and John Maeda.

My talks are consistently scored by attendees as one of the best at every event by as much as 4 times other speakers because I give honest and actionable takeaways the audience can immediately implement. I’m the only speaker named an Adobe MAX Master, voted by attendees as one of the top 20 speakers at the conference, for 4 consecutive years with those sessions receiving an average score of 4.9 out of 5 from over 8,000 attendees. I have been chosen for solo keynotes at SXSW for two consecutive years, given the highest-rated keynote in the history of HOW Design Live, and more.

I also love working with universities having been a guest lecturer at Yale, Princeton, MIT International Design Center, School of Visual Arts, Parsons, and more. I am also an IDEO trained Design Thinking teacher and instructor.

If you’re interested in having me speak at your company, see how I can help coach your team, or speak at an upcoming event please contact me and I will be happy to provide references, attendee scores from past events, and pricing. I do often book up months in advance so please contact me as early as possible. Contact me now so we can discuss how we can work together.

2X solo keynote speaker voted in by attendees

Conflux internal design conference opening keynote

4X opening keynote speaker and highest rated talk in the history of the event

4X Adobe MAX Master top 20 speaker, voted by attendees


I’m an IDEO trained Design Thinking instructor.

I have used, taught, and led teams using Design Thinking to produce world-class creative and help change companies. I’m a trained IDEO Design Thinking instructor who has worked with senior members of IDEO to build a custom curriculum and content which I’ve taught a variety of intensive workshops alongside their team and on my own to thousands of people all over the world.

Watch my talks in action

This is a sampling of some of the international keynotes I have given at major conferences and events over the past few years. You can see more of my talks and interviews on The Crazy One YouTube channel.

Watch my keynote opening for Steve Wozniak at NICE Interactions 2014

I was honored to deliver the opening keynote at NICE Interactions before Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. The talk focused on what drives social media and its role in customer service.


I’ve taught at these companies and more on leadership, creativity, career development, and culture. instructor ‘Running a Design Business: Leading a Creative Team’.

Leading a creative team comes with a unique set of challenges that must be navigated with care in order to get reports to be able to perform at their best. In this course, I break down the tenets of impactful leadership for creative professionals. Covers how creative leadership is unique, why it’s important, the ways leaders can improve what they are doing, and how to help foster the kind of culture that is most beneficial.



What attendees say about my talks

“I’ve been attending industry conferences and company off-sites since the early ’90s, and have heard everyone from Seth Godin to Jared Spool to Guy Kawasaki to Malcolm Gladwell and countless people in between but can honestly say Stephen was far and away and without reservation one of THE best presentations I’ve ever seen.”

Watch my keynote at the 2018 Fifteen Seconds Festival in Graz, Austria

This keynote called “The power of crazy: How you can inspire creativity and innovation in anyone” looked at how every company wants more creativity and innovation from its teams, but few understand how to create a culture that fosters leadership, drives innovation, and delivers results. This keynote shared unique insights on creativity and innovation that I have learned through leading creative teams for some of the world’s biggest brands and working with senior teams at Apple, Google, Facebook, and more.


I’ve been a guest lecturer at these universities.


I’ve spoken at these events and more

SXSW solo keynote

2020 – Emerging trends in design, leadership and culture
 – Building an in-house design powerhouse

Pausefest – Melbourne, Australia

2019 – Opening keynote: Don’t underestimate the power of crazy

Adobe MAX

2017 – In-house powerhouse: building & managing an empowered internal creative team (scored 4.91 out of 5  by attendees)
– Building your personal brand (scored 4.89 out of 5  by attendees)
– Most attendees of any speaker at the entire event

2016 – Success Is a Choice: Building Creativity and Leadership in Your Team (scored 4.95 out of 5  by attendees)
– 1% Inspiration. 99% Design Thinking. (scored 4.9 out of 5  by attendees)

2015 – Beyond the Lightbulb: How to Concept, Design, and Prototype Great Ideas (scored 4.98 out of 5  by attendees)
– The Crazy Ones: How to Build a World-Class Career (scored 4.89 out of 5  by attendees)

2014 – The Crazy Ones: How to Be a Leader Who Inspires Creativity and Innovation (scored 4.87 out of 5  by attendees) press coverage

2013 – Secrets to Creating a Successful Mobile Roadmap, Apps, and Mobile Websites (scored 4.79 out of 5  by attendees)

2012 – Using Adobe’s Web Tools to Rethink Digital Branding (scored 4.8 out of 5  by attendees)
 (watch the video on Adobe TV)
2012 – Create Anywhere


2019 – The Crazy Ones: How to make design core to every business
2018 –
The future of digital design
– Design Thinking Workshop
2017 – Building Atomic Design Languages
2016 – The Future of Digital Branding is Proactive Storytelling
 The Crazy Ones: How To Be A Leader Who Inspires Creativity and Innovation
– How Starwood Hotels Creates Design Leads Brands Online press coverage
2010 – Memory Loss and Hamburger: Getting the Best From In-house Design Teams press coverage

REACH: Accelerating Creative Leadership

2017 – The Crazy Ones: How To Be A Leader Who Inspires Creativity and Innovation

Fifteen Seconds Festival – Graz, Austria

2018 – The Power of Crazy
 – The Crazy Ones: How To Be A Leader Who Inspires Creativity and Innovation

Design Thinkers Toronto

2017 – In-house powerhouse: building & managing an empowered internal creative team

Design Thinkers Vancouver

2018 – Creative powerhouse: Ho to building & managing an empowered creative team

Digital Design and Innovation Summit

2014 – How State-Aware Design is Going to Change Mobile

AdTech New York

HTML5 Changes Everything

Talks and classes on leadership and innovation at Apple, IDEO, Adobe L’Oreal, GE, Carrefour, and more.

Social Media Week NYC

2013 – Bringing Real Life Brand Experiences to Online Communities


Connecticut – The Crazy Ones: How to Be a Leader Who Inspires Creativity and Innovation

Online Marketing Expo – Barcelona, Spain

2013 – Opening Keynote: Agile is the new smart

NYC Creative xChange

2016 – The Power of Design Thinking

Usability Experience Professionals Association

International Conference
– Putting Brand at the Center of UX Design
– What is ‘State-Aware’ Design and Why is it Going to Change Everything?

NYC UXPA 2013 – How To Succeed in Mobile When You’re Really Trying (scored 4.8 out of 5 | highest score of any presenter)
NYC UXPA 2012 – Become a Presentation Superstar (scored 4.7 out of 5  by attendees) – watch the video
– How Starwood Build Emotional Connections and Brand Loyalty Online (scored 4.8 out of 5  by attendees)
 – watch the video

HOW Design Live

2020 – Overcoming barriers to creativity and change (main stage keynote)
– The future is creative (main stage keynote)
2019 – Why innovation is rarely authorized (panel)
2018 – In-house powerhouse: How to build and manage an empowered in-house creative team

In/Visible Talks

2021 – The age of consequence design

AIGA LeadCon

2018 – How to lead an empowered creative team

InVision Design+ Series

2017 – Design + Finance
 – watch the video

Adobe Tech Summit

2017 – Inventing the future keynote

Generate NYC

2016 – 1% Inspiration. 99% Designing, Prototyping, and Testing

NY Festivals

2017 – ‘Who Owns Creativity’ panel

World Usability Day

Building Brands with Every Interaction

Engage: NYC Digital Storytelling Conference

2015 – Inside Successful Interactive Storytelling
2016 – Experience is Not Enough

Saatchi & Saatchi

Experience and Wellness through Design panel

Future Trends

The Future of Crowdsourced Branding

World Future Trends Summit

Using Global Travel Trends to Create Award-Winning Mobile Experiences

Private Brand Movement

Transforming from a Graphic Design Team to a Brand-Building Force

The Mobile Marketing Conference

Best Practices in Mobile Web Design


– NYC Open House
– NYC Creative Jam Judge
– Brooklyn Creative Jam Speaker

Social Media & Community 2.0

Non-traditional Insight-Driven Community Building

Client & Agency Summit Presented by FUSE

Reclaiming client-side creativity

Customer Contact East

Social is real. But is it it’s own channel? (scored 4.7 out of 5 by attendees)

Total Customer Experience Leaders

The Crazy Ones: How to be a leader that inspires creative and innovative customer solutions

Makers of Barcelona

How To Lead World-Class Creative Teams

Digital Luxury NYC

How Starwood Hotels Creates Unique Brands Online press coverage press coverage

Marketing World

2013 – Getting Your Mobile Strategy Off The Ground (scored 4.8 out of 5 | highest score at the conference)
2012 – Rebuilding and Revitalizing Your Brand (scored 4.8 out of 5 | highest score at the conference)

San Francisco Art Directors Club

Houston Art Directors Club