Salim Ismail

Founder of OpenExO & ExO Works
  • Discusses the new breed of businesses scaling 10 times faster then established organizations
  • Former Head of Brickhouse, Yahoo’s internal ‘ideas factory’ where game-changing ideas were brought in, built and launched
  • His last company, Angstro, was acquired by Google in August 2010

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Salim Ismail is the Founder and Chair of ExO Works, a team of innovation experts who create customized solutions for corporations and organizations seeking to remain relevant in today’s rapidly changing business environment.

Salim co-founded ExO Works in 2016 to help transform global business by catapulting organizations into the world of exponential thinking. ExO Works delivers a 10-week program called the ExO Sprint that leapfrogs an organization's mindset forward by two years. He is also the best-selling author of Exponential Organizations, a sought-after technology strategist, and a renowned entrepreneur with ties to Yahoo!, Google, and Singularity University. He consults with governments and the world’s top Fortune 500 companies on innovation and growth, and his work has been featured in premier media outlets like the New York Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, WIRED, Vogue, and the BBC.

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities, Inc. speakers bureau, Ismail travels extensively sharing a global perspective on the impact of breakthrough technologies and how organizations can leverage these disruptions to grow 10 times faster than their peers. His book quickly reached No. 1 on Amazon’s “Best-Sellers in Business Management” and was named Frost & Sullivan’s “Growth, Innovation and Leadership Book of the Year.” In presentations, he shares the five internal and five external characteristics that exponential organizations have in common and walks audiences through how any company, from a startup to a multi-national, can streamline its performance and grow to the next level. Audiences walk away with a tailored action plan for moving forward, a new process for leading-edge thinking, and an understanding of what emerging technology trends mean for the future. His captivating, educational, and downright jaw-dropping presentations have been called “mind-blowing” and “the best talk I think I’ve ever heard.”

Solving Humanity’s Greatest Challenges. Ismail has spent the last seven years building Singularity University as its founding executive director and current global ambassador. SU is based at NASA Ames, and its goal is to “educate, inspire and empower a new generation of leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.” SU – whose founders hail from Google and the X PRIZE Foundation – has empowered people from more than 85 countries to apply disruptive technologies – biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and neuroscience – to more than 100 startups and countless patents and ideas.

Tech Entrepreneur. Prior to ExO Works and Singularity, Ismail was a vice president at Yahoo, where he built and ran Brickhouse, the company’s internal incubator. His last company, Ångströ, a news aggregation startup, was sold to Google in 2010. He has founded or operated seven early-stage companies including PubSub Concepts, which laid some of the foundation for the real-time web, and the New York Grant Company, a direct response to 9/11. In its first year, the organization attracted over 400 clients and delivered over $12 million of federal grants to the local economy.

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Speaker Video

Growth and Exponential Organizations

Salim Ismail on Breakthrough Technology

Futurist Series

Exponential Organizations. As a result of accelerating change, a new breed of businesses is scaling 10 times faster than established organizational structures. Salim Ismail calls these exponential organizations. This talk describes the characteristics and attributed of these organizations and finishes with how to implement these ideas into established companies. He looks at today’s fastest growing technologies and the social impact they will have on our organizational, political, legal, educational, and medical systems. From artificial intelligence to biotech, these disruptive technologies are changing the face of many disparate industries and creating new innovations and opportunities. Audiences walk away with a tailored action plan for moving forward that utilizes five internal and five external strategies to spur astounding growth—like partnering with an incubator and transforming their organization’s leadership team.

Disruptive Convergence. Salim describes major breakthroughs occurring in a series of accelerating technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, biotech, sensors, neuroscience, medicine, and even energy. He describes the implications of these breakthroughs on both society and business, and will give a perspective on their impact tailored to each specific audience.

Future of Entrepreneurship. The confluence of new developments makes today the best time ever to be an entrepreneur. Salim talks about how accelerating technologies, crowd funding, incubators, fablabs, and cloud computing have made it faster, better, and cheaper to be an entrepreneur. This talk also covers the steps needed to create entrepreneurial ecosystems and start-up communities in different regions.

Exponential Medicine. The fastest technological improvement today is being seen in biotechnology. According to technology strategist Salim Ismail, by the year 2020 it will be cheaper to sequence your genome than to flush your toilet. What will this mean for personalized therapies? Will we eradicate allergies? Or grow replacement organs? Will artificial intelligence make better, more accurate diagnoses than human doctors? Could a computer be your future surgeon? Ismail tells incredible stories of the research and development he’s seen first-hand and the potential for next-generation disruptive technologies. He weighs the benefits with the sinister side and calls on society to prepare our systems from running the world (legal, political, medical) to meet the realities of the very near future.

Exponential Finance. Today there are eight billion internet-connected devices in the world. By 2020, Salim Ismail predicts there will be 50 billion. Will computer driven cars be a reality in three years? Will we see a dramatically lengthened lifespan and delayed retirements in a matter of 1-2 decades? What does this mean for investment, growth, and contraction in key industries? As the world becomes more digital, advancements in technology are skyrocketing. Technology strategist Salim Ismail knows the trajectory of fascinating projects that are sure to change our lives and challenge societal norms as we know them. His take on the impact of the financial services sector will have you thinking twice about where to put money and how much is needed for the future.

Future of Democracy. The information age and the resulting transparency is causing enormous stress for governments around the world. However, major opportunity exists in leveraging new technologies to transform major government activities such as regulatory frameworks, information management, intellectual property, and public services.

Future of Education. From his vantage point at Singularity University, Salim is at the forefront of the transformation occurring in education. He talks through the structural changes occurring in the education space and how governments and regions can chart a future for education systems.

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