Keynote Speeches

Active Learning for Large Groups

Dave Robertson is an accomplished, and engaging speaker whose speeches on innovation have entertained audiences on every continent around the world. His talks are interactive, tailored to each audience, based on real-world examples, and end with clear calls for action.

Each talk is filled with market-changing insights and the specific skills leaders need to discover new sources for growth and profit among existing customers.

Watch David's speech at PopTech

David gave what NPR’s Joe Palca called “The best speech at PopTech.” Click on the video to see an excerpt.


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Human-Centered Design systems such as Design Thinking have swept the global business world and helped many companies improve their ability to innovate. Yet the way Design Thinking is often implemented focuses on individual desires and needs but can underestimate the powerful influence that our communities have on our behavior.

In this talk, Dave Robertson takes us to the next level of innovation, moving beyond understanding an individual’s needs to understanding the needs and desires of the communities we serve.  Moving from human-centered design processes like Design Thinking to Community-Centered Design is necessary for todays online world, where communities of interest form quickly and rapidly develop opinions about products in ways that are hard to reverse.


In 2003, LEGO almost went bankrupt. LEGO’s managers had followed the advice of experts – when you’re offering a commodity in a mature market, the only option is to disrupt before you get disrupted.  This simplistic and dangerous advice almost led them to ruin.  Yet, in one of the most successful turnarounds in modern business history, LEGO restructured its innovation management system and saved the company.  Today, LEGO is the most profitable and fastest growing company in the toy industry, and is 86% larger than they were only three years ago.

In this session, Robertson will tell the LEGO story, outline the lessons to be learned, and provide examples from other companies that have followed the same approach.  What makes the LEGO story so interesting is that they have taken the ultimate commodity – an injection-molded plastic brick with no patent protections – and turned it into a very profitable and fast-growing business.  The LEGO story has lessons for any company offering a mature product in a competitive industry that needs to restart growth and increase profits.

As part of this talk, Robertson can lead a variety of exercises that can help executives find opportunities for growth in their companies.  This can also be accompanied by a module that outlines some low-risk, high impact techniques for kickstarting innovation in mature markets.



Much of the business press focuses on big, world-changing innovations—disruptive innovations that will revolutionize markets. But Novo Nordisk, USAA, LEGO, Sherwin Williams, and others show that there’s a better, lower-risk path to innovation success.  Instead of betting big on risky, unproven ideas, these companies put together portfolios of tightly coordinated complementary innovations. Individually, each innovation is low risk and (often) low cost. But if done well they combine into a significant and sustainable competitive advantage. In this talk, Robertson will show how to use this powerful innovation strategy, and share the techniques and disciplines that any company can adopt to boost their innovation success.

Custom topics available upon request

Innovation Speaking Testimonials

A real high point for our congress

Christopher Beattie
Merck Animal Health

I’d seen David present before at an international business conference and when we were planning our Congress with innovation as the main theme, he immediately came to mind as our first-choice keynote speaker. Outside of the compelling background story of Lego’s innovation journey and the faultless delivery of his presentation, I was most impressed by how David actively contributed to our planning process and coordinated our (Lego-themed) innovation workshop. Enthusiastic and approachable, great to see a speaker so ready to immerse themselves in our event and engage with delegates outside of the meeting room. His contribution was a real high point for our congress.

He entertained the audience with one of the best-received presentations of the conference

Brad Barbera
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PDMA, The Product Development and Management Association

David’s keynote presentation at the PDMA AnnualGlobal Conference was truly a high point of the event.He literally woke everyone up to re-imagine how to apply the innovation dicta that we have heard before. Not only was his insight and content rich, he entertained the audience with one of the best-received presentations of the conference.

David Brings Clarity To An Often Ambiguous And Complex Discussion

Anders Wester
Tetra Pak

David’s presentation here at Tetra Pak was very much appreciated by both Tetra Pak and Nokia. David brings clarity to an often ambiguous and complex discussion.

A great contribution

The PDS Team

Thank you for speaking at PDS Connect 2017.  Your presentation really enhanced our theme and was a great contribution to the conference.

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