Dr. John Kao Founder and CEO, Edgemakers
Dubbed “Mr. Creativity” and a “Serial Innovator” by The Economist, John is an innovation thought leader, practitioner and activist. He is a trusted advisor to leaders of companies, startups and nations on innovation strategy, implementation, and future trends. Currently he is CEO of EdgeMakers, whose mission is to revolutionize the way young people learn to become innovators. He is also chairman of the Institute for Large Scale Innovation, whose i20 group is an association of nation ‘chief innovation officers’.
John chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovation Council and has served as an advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative. His work has received coverage in such news media as the New York Times, The Economist, CNN, and The Colbert Report. John is also a Tony-nominated producer of film (sex, lies and videotape, Mr. Baseball) and theater (Golden Child, Flower Drum Song, Jitney).
John was a Harvard Business School professor from 1982-96, where he created curriculum on innovation and entrepreneurship. He is author of the best-selling Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity, which describes what leaders can learn from jazz, as well as Innovation Nation, which documents America’s growing innovation challenge. His education includes BA and MD degrees from Yale, a residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
John was recently named Yamaha Music’s first “Artist in Innovation”, and sometimes uses jazz to illustrate the principles of innovation during his keynote speeches. In the summer of 1969, John apprenticed to rock legend Frank Zappa. In his spare time, he plays jazz piano.