Michael Steep

Founder and Former Executive Director, Stanford Engineering Center for Disruptive Technology and Digital Cities, & Former SVP of Global Business Operations at PARC Xerox
  • Highly sought-after strategic leader who has advised clients including Airbus, BMW, and Google
  • Contributing editor to Forbes and a sitting member of the Smart City London Board
  • Helps audiences get ahead of disruption with practical tips for fueling innovative ideas powered by new technology

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Contrary to popular belief, global invention and innovation outside the corporation is growing at an exponential rate, but few people know that innovation inside traditional research and development is nearly flat. Drawing on more than 35 years of experience driving innovation and leading operations at companies including Apple and Microsoft, disruption leader and strategist Michael Steep shares valuable insights for how organizations can leverage emerging technologies and turn them into bottom line business opportunities. Throughout his career, Steep has worked in the presence of industry legends, including David Packard, Bill Gates, and Satya Nadella, witnessing firsthand some of the greatest breakthroughs and transformations within organizations and entire industries. All of this change has been powered by the invention of the digital camera, cloud computing, mobile devices, the internet of things, meta-materials, and predictive analytics.

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, Steep speaks passionately and with great insight about the importance of how to approach change focused on innovation and addressing how companies resist change to their own detriment. His keynotes are designed to help organizations and associations understand the impact of technology on their industries and their companies, and how to put in place a more effective way to manage innovation. He points to knowledge gleaned from his work alongside nearly 5,000 labs at Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, other leading research institutions, and the world-class faculty and Silicon Valley executives he engages with on projects, startup ventures, and innovation workshops to reveal specific process companies can use to transform early-stage technology into growth, and how to recruit, train, and retain talent. He is the speaker for groups asking themselves, “What can we do now to understand how new technologies will impact my company and drive innovation more effectively?”

Steep is the former SVP of Global Business Operations at PARC, where he worked with CEOs and R&D executives from companies including Cushman Wakefield, IBM, BMW, Google, Proctor & Gamble, L’Oreal, Airbus Group, and others to transform technology disruption of their industries into new lines of business. He is also the founder and former executive director of Stanford’s Engineering Program for Disruptive Technology and Digital Cities. In this role, he built a bridge between Stanford’s disruptive technologies labs and 30 corporate partners — including Amazon, Hitachi, and Visa — to create new opportunities for innovation and monetization.

Steep believes that we are at the beginning of a new golden age — where emerging technologies define who we are, what we can accomplish, and how we can redefine entire companies and industries. Just as Apple transformed the mobile industry through the introduction of the iPhone, emerging technologies will offer exponential opportunities if we know how to capitalize on them. As Steep explains, "Innovation is not a drawn-out process or the result of a ‘light bulb’ moment, but rather the ability to apply the right leadership, vision, technical expertise, and business model to a strategic problem faced by a company and by an industry."

Steep has had an exceptional career with more than two decades of global operating experience at companies including HP, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, and PARC’s world-renowned innovation center. In addition to serving on numerous corporate boards and digital city planning organizations, including Smart City London and the Saudi NEOM project, he is the author of the critically acclaimed book First Light of Day: A Cautionary Tale of Our Future. He earned his MBA from the University of Virginia, and his BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Michael Steep: Transforming Disruptive Technology Into Opportunity

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Mike Steep: Power of Disruptive Technology

Michael Steep: AI, Emerging Tech, Autonomous Vehicles

Michael Steep On Today's Technological Explosion

Michael Steep On Changing The Way We Look At Disruptive Technology

Michael Steep: Tech In Urban Life

How To Get Ahead Of Disruptive Technology Now. Mike Steep’s speeches offer audiences a first-hand look at the inner-workings of Silicon Valley and the specific processes that make the world’s most innovative companies so successful. An expert on “operationalizing innovation” who has worked to drive new products and strategies for companies including Boeing and BMW, Steep inspires audiences to rethink current business models and stresses that innovation is not necessarily the result of a “light bulb moment” but rather the ability to apply the right idea, technical expertise, business model, and even company culture to an existing problem. This speech answers the big question for companies today: “What can I do about technology disruption?” With anecdotes from his time working for Apple, Lexmark (IBM), Microsoft, and HP, Mike dissects technological advances and subsequent business successes and failures to provide an overview of where innovation really comes from, how to best create and implement change, and what each audience he speaks to should specifically aim to do now to stay ahead of disruption.

Reinventing Effective Leadership For Disruptive Innovation: How To Acquire The Right Talent, Expertise, & Organizational Structure To Transform Innovation. Constant change is the new mantra in companies today. Innovation, reinvention, restructuring … all require every level of the organization to not only embrace change but also to lead by example. Unfortunately, very few companies get it right. Instead of working within the company to mitigate resistance to change, many leaders struggle, finally giving up and instead going to the more expensive and illusive Plan B—a spin up of a new company or subsidiary to drive innovation with the hope to accelerate time to market. Steep helps companies lead effectively by touching on:

  • How to design an organization to enable more effective innovation
  • What leadership that creates real opportunity looks like
  • How to create an environment that attracts and retains the right talent
  • Real-world examples of successes and failures—plus what went right, and what went wrong

Discovering Exponential Opportunity: Find It Before It Finds You. Today, most established companies fail to spot exponential opportunity until it’s too late. That’s because five breakthrough technologies are changing the human lifestyle—and the way we think about technology disruption. These areas of innovation include: meta-materials, privacy-preserving analytics, predictive analytics on big data, content-centric networking, and printed electronics. This customizable speech tackles how these technologies are changing varied industries including automotive, financial services, manufacturing, aerospace, cosmetics, and pharma. Steep also shows how the few companies who have effectively embraced innovation, including BMW and Apple, have taken advantage of exponential opportunity to drive revenue growth. He provides a roadmap for companies seeking to replicate that success.

Transforming ChatGPT & Emerging AI Platforms into Opportunity. As a disruption leader and practitioner, Michael Steep possesses unsurpassed insights into emerging technologies and their potential impact on business and society long before these advancements enter the public conscious. In this keynote, he shares a leading-edge overview of how ChatGPT and other emerging AI platforms work, the pros and cons of these new technologies, and, most importantly, how organizations can purposefully leverage them in order to innovate and create new business opportunities.

Key takeaways from the session include:

  • A comprehensive understanding of the impact AI technologies have on society, consumer behavior, and predicting consumer motivation
  • A practical set of case study examples of how new technologies can be used to transform industry business models
  • Insight into what we need to know in order to use technology where it can be most effective to drive practical business results
  • An overview of what we need to know to equip leadership to incorporate emerging technologies into company strategies

Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, & Crowdfunding: Managing FinTech Disruption. Financial services is one of the industries most vulnerable to disruption by emerging technologies—but it’s not all bad. While new technologies will restructure the very nature of financial institutions and transactions, they simultaneously present untapped opportunities for growth and success. For example, while a new wave of startups are increasingly “disaggregating” banks, blockchains have the potential to restructure the cost of transacting. While institutions work to manage structural change, new privacy-preserving technology and content-centric networking are also creating new ways to think about security existing data. And new emerging technologies, including autonomous cars, are creating mobile networks that will merge big data layers from home to car to office. With this highly-customizable talk, Mike covers what organizations need to know now in regards to both existing and early-stage disruptive technologies that will have major impact on financial institutions and banking companies, presenting options for tapping into that change and getting ahead of innovations still yet to come.

The Theatre of Privacy: Is Privacy A Thing Of The Past? This speech looks at the complex issue of privacy in a highly-digital world. Steep examines the intersection of federal law, corporate policy, and consumer interests, and addresses pressing issues including how emerging technologies are changing the way businesses need to think about privacy, how companies should protect customer privacy while complying with federal law, and what the most effective and practical plan forward should be. Steep draws on case studies from companies with varied approaches but similar goals, including Apple and Microsoft.

Keys To Innovation: How To Harness The Forces Of Disruption. Mike Steep has identified five major disruptive forces at work in today’s global business environment and shares how they can be used to bring significant breakthrough change to various industries. With unparalleled experience stemming from his work on over 250 innovative projects across the world, Steep is singularly qualified to equip audiences with the tools and information they need to take advantage of the vast opportunities that today’s shifting digital and technological advancements present.

Steep has developed specific systems and models, such as the “Outside-In” model, that is ready for implementation at any company and are apart of his presentation on innovating from the ground up. The “Outside-In” model focuses specifically on locating key industry issues and using technology to turn those problems into significant revenue growth opportunities.

Understanding China. This talk is a comprehensive executive briefing on the current state of China. It is designed for the business executive who needs a comprehensive understanding of the economic, political, and business strategies needed undertake a successful business in China. It draws from Mike Steep’s 30 years of experience in the developing businesses in this market for companies including HP, IBM, Apple, Microsoft, and PARC as well as some of the work done at Stanford University, Imperial College London, and the Wharton School of Business. Steep uses real case examples of companies doing business in this market, outlines how to develop a strategy for entry, and identifies both the challenges faced and the likely trajectory of where China is going in the future. Steep visited China for the first time as a student immediately following the great opening undertaken by Richard Nixon and Zhou Enlai.

Technology in the Year 2045. Mike Steep is the author of the new fiction book First Light of Day, which takes place in 2045 and provides a look at the not-too far off reality where technology and computers quite literally have a mind of their own. Steep transports us years into the future and provides a companion guide of just how technology will achieve this fully autonomous state. With years of experience at Microsoft, Apple, and BMW, Steep is deeply aware to the fast pace of technology and the lack human ability to cope. This book allows the reader to close that gap and truly imagine the future of our world.

The Politics of Disruptive Technology. In this speech, highly sought-after strategic leader, Mike Steep, delivers a nonpartisan presentation on the realities of disruptive technology and the role of Silicon Valley in politics. He offers his expert perspective to audiences, helping them understand how disruptive technology can be used as a force in election outcomes, what the future holds for privacy, and how to think about regulatory and other issues that are impacted by technology.

An Optimistic Look at a Future of Opportunity. In this talk, Mike Steep provides an exciting, comprehensive look at how our work and personal lives have evolved, and what we can expect for our future. He takes a decidedly optimistic view and enlightens us all on how we can transform our experience into lessons that can lead to opportunity. Looking into the future, he helps audiences understand how work/life balance and education might be reshaped, as well as the new opportunities to grow our companies. With content developed from his extensive network of experts at Stanford, Silicon Valley, and corporate partners, Steep will ask telling questions such as: What we can expect from medical technologies? What are the new behavioral models for work/life balance? What new skills are required for career growth?

Each keynote is customized for your business, offering industry-relevant case examples and addressing how your industry will specifically be impacted.

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