Bran Ferren

Technologist, Designer, Engineer, and Former President of Research and Development at Walt Disney Imagineering
  • Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Applied Minds, a technology, design, and R&D consulting firm whose clients include General Motors, Intel, and more
  • Named one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” for his revolutionary approach to problem solving
  • Helps companies understand how to develop customer solutions that combine technology innovation, practical problem-solving, and ground-breaking design

Play Video View Fees Add to List

Check Fees & Availability

Please see our privacy policy regarding how we handle data.

One of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business,” Bran Ferren is a master of the arts and sciences. Equal parts artist, designer and scientist, and engineer, he is an expert on leveraging curiosity and creativity to inspire innovation. His 2014 TED Talk entitled “To Create for the Ages, Let’s Combine Art and Engineering” has been translated into 27 languages and viewed over one million times. He is co-founder and chief creative officer of Applied Minds, a company that, for 20 years has provided advanced technology, creative design, and consulting services to both commercial and government clients. 

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, in speeches, Ferren details how technologies will transform experiences including storytelling and designing, as well as how to combine design and engineering to develop products that stand the test of time. Answering questions like, “Why should we care about this new technology?” and “What are these things going to do that are going to make our lives more valuable, more interesting, and better?” Coming from what he calls a “fundamentally different” perspective, as a storyteller, Ferren opens up new conversations and ideas about what technology means for the future of human interaction, work, and play. He also offers predictions about how he thinks technology will evolve and the problems and opportunities it will present.

Prior to Applied Minds, Ferran held various leadership positions, including president of Research and Development for the Walt Disney Company. At Disney, he advised CEOs Michael Eisner and Frank Wells, as well as senior leadership on emerging technology and business opportunities, and led the development of key innovations for divisions such as ABC Television. At Disney’s Imagineering division, where he was president of Creative Technology, he was responsible for advanced technology research and development for the theme parks and played key roles in creating major park attractions such as Test Track by General Motors, and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Prior to that, Ferran was president of Associates & Ferren, a company acquired by Disney.

In addition to being a prolific inventor named on over 570 domestic and foreign patent applications and 269 issued US patents, Ferran is also an Oscar nominee and Academy Award winner for Science and Technical Achievement, whose work has appeared in films such as “Altered States” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” Major theater credits include award-winning special effects, lighting, and sound design for Broadway shows including “Evita,” “Cats,” and “The Lion King.” For his work in theater, he has received two New York Drama Desk Awards, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle award, the Maharam Foundation Award, and the American Theater Wing, Hewes Design Awards. He has pioneered technologies and staging concepts for music legends including Emerson, Lake & Palmer, R.E.M., Depeche Mode, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, and Paul McCartney.

His body of work has been recognized by the Wally Russell Lifetime Achievement Award in Lighting Design, the Kilby International Award for significant contributions to society, the US Intelligence Community Seal Medallion, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Inland California Chapter, Honor Award, and the Sir Arthur Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society.

Ferran has been a senior advisory board member or consultant for science, advanced technology, and innovation to over two dozen U.S. government and military agencies and the U.S. Senate. A popular public speaker, he has delivered over 250 keynote speeches worldwide.

Continue Reading »

Speaker Video

Bran Ferren TED Talk: To Create For The Ages, Let's Combine Art & Engineering

The Art & Science of Innovation: Creating Solutions for a Better Future. Bran Ferren argues that, when designing solutions, most people either approach problem-solving from the perspective of the engineer/technologist or from the perspective of a storyteller. Meaning, they are either focused on the specs and technology requirements of an innovative product, or on the way a “big idea” innovation will be received by the public and how it will change lives. Ferren argues that, in order to be successful both now and for the future, we must be thinking about both engineering and design. Using examples from his own career and an overview of the new and coming technologies that will change lives, Ferren helps companies better understand how to create products and customer solutions that take advantage of both the best and newest technology solutions and design principles that customers will love, and how to successfully execute.

Continue Reading »

Need more ideas?

Click one of these resources below for another way to find more speaker ideas for your audience.