Links of interest
About John Kao
Dubbed “Mr. Creativity” and a “Serial Innovator” by The Economist, John Kao is a thought leader, practitioner and activist, who has played a leading role in the fields of innovation and business creativity for over 30 years. His knowledge is eclectic and blends the perspectives of musician, facilitator extraordinaire, former Harvard Business School professor, Harvard-trained psychiatrist, best-selling author, serial entrepreneur, and Tony-nominated producer of film and stage. Recently, Yamaha Music Corporation named him their first “innovation artist.”
John has spent much of his career developing compelling learning experiences for innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders. As a Harvard Business School professor from 1982-96, John created acclaimed MBA and executive courses on innovation and entrepreneurship. He ran an executive program on innovation at Stanford University’s Bowman house for three years and also served as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Innovation at the US Naval Postgraduate School.
For the past three years, John has focused his innovation pedagogy on young people. He is founder and CEO of EdgeMakers, whose mission is to empower young people worldwide to become highly effective innovators “ahead of schedule.”
John was an early proponent of what he calls “large scale innovation,” or innovation at societal scale. And for those that seek to develop innovation capacity, he counsels them to invest in innovation learning. He has been advisor to the governments of Finland, Singapore, Abu Dhabi among others, as well as to a variety of US government agencies. For three years, he served on a White House/Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology Innovation Policy Dialogue led by Dr. John Holdren and Minister Wan Gang. His advisory work has lead him to interact directly with world leaders including Chancellor Angela Merkel, former Finnish Prime Minister Esko Aho and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
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 media as the New York Times, The Economist, CNN, and The Colbert Report. As a self-described innovation activist, John is a trusted advisor to leaders of companies, startups and nations who are on the hot seat to deliver meaningful innovation strategies and action agendas.
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 McLean division of Massachusetts General Hospital and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
In the summer of 1969, John apprenticed to rock legend Frank Zappa. In his spare time, he plays jazz piano.