John Kao has a long history of serving as a trusted advisor to leaders of both companies and countries. His expertise lies in developing innovation strategies and execution plans. He then works with his clients to achieve breakthroughs and actionable insights.
John has had unique experience working with public sector leaders on innovation. He has carried out benchmarking studies of large scale national and regional innovation systems to identify their strengths and weaknesses and has worked closely with senior leadership in defining transformational agendas for innovation. He has also facilitated strategic conversations among diverse constituencies within a given innovation ecosystem - public, private and non-governmental - to create alignment around a shared agenda.
John’s work also builds on extensive private sector experience. He is known for his systematic approach to innovation. John defines innovation as the capability of continuously achieving a desired future. When considering the future, however, most organizations start with the past and then extrapolate forward as if innovation were simply a planning exercise. John advocates another approach. He knows how to activate a senior team to define a vision for innovation that can galvanize an organization or a society.
John also knows how to generate a communications strategy for innovation. And most importantly he knows how to deploy processes aimed at understanding the current state of the organization (assessment), envisioning the future and “over the horizon” business opportunities that might represent discontinuities from current understandings (foresight) and then working back to the present in order to create an integrated innovation stewardship, communications and strategy plan for getting to the desired future (action). His work iterates among these agendas of assessment, foresight and action, and often takes the form of a journey that unfolds over time. John has carried out substantive assignments for the governments of Finland, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and others. He has also worked closely with global companies such as BASF, American Express, Nike, and Intel.