David Robertson Speaker, Speeches, Booking Agent | MFL Global

David Robertson

Professor of Practice at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

David Robertson is a Professor of Practice at the Wharton School where he teaches Innovation and Product Development in Wharton’s undergraduate, MBA, and executive education programs. Robertson has been a student, teacher, and practitioner of the art of innovation for his entire career. In his latest quest to understand innovation, David Robertson hosts Innovation Navigation, a Wharton Business School Business radio program offering live, unscripted access to world-renowned thought leaders, executives, and faculty. As a Professor of Practice at the Wharton School, Robertson brings brilliant minds worldwide to share their innovation knowledge and experience to the listening public. Broadcasting weekly from The Wharton School’s Ivy League campus via Sirius XM’s trailblazing Wharton Business Radio Network channel, the program delivers invaluable advice for executives or managers who want to boost their organization’s ability to innovate.

From 2002 through 2010, Robertson was the LEGO Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at Switzerland’s Institute for Management Development (IMD), which received the #1 worldwide ranking by the Financial Times for its executive education programs. At IMD he was Program Director for IMD’s largest program, the Program for Executive Development, and co-Director of the Making Business Sense of IT program, a joint program between IMD and MIT Sloan. Prior to IMD, Robertson was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, a consultant at McKinsey & Company for 5 years, and an executive at four enterprise software companies.

David is the author of Brick by Brick: How LEGO Reinvented its Innovation System and Conquered the Toy Industry, and co-author of Enterprise Architecture as Strategy. He has published in Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, and many other journals.

LEGO’s story can inspire positive change and boost strategic innovation. David tells the story not only using slides, movies, and props, but also gives small LEGO toys to each member of the audience to illustrate key points in the talk. He offers both speeches and masterclasses from 60 minutes through to 2 days.

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Innovation Management - The LEGO story

Using the case study of LEGO, this session will explore how to manage innovation across a company. In 2003, LEGO almost went bankrupt. LEGO’s managers had followed the advice of experts – “head for blue ocean”, “practice disruptive innovation”, “open innovation”, “develop the full spectrum of innovation” – and that advice almost led them to ruin. 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, growing sales at 24% and profits at 45% per year every year for the past four years. The goal of this session is tell the LEGO story and the lessons to be learned about how to lead and govern innovation across a large company.

Enterprise Architecture: What to Tell the Management Team

In this talk, Professor Robertson will use material from his book. Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution to show why enterprise architecture is a top management issue, and what management should do to transform their company’s architecture. Using data from a survey of over 150 companies and case examples from leading companies such as ING DIRECT, Toyota, and Johnson & Johnson, Robertson will show why architecture is often a barrier to strategy execution, and how companies can design and implement a new architecture that improves agility, lowers costs,and increases profitability and growth.

The Third Way to Innovate – Innovating Around the Core

Much of the business press focuses on big, world-changing innovations—innovations that will “disrupt” industries, lead companies to “blue oceans,” and revolutionize markets. But CarMax, LEGO, ING Direct, and others show that there’s a different, 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 add up to a significant and sustainable competitive advantage. In this talk, Robertson will show how leading companies use this powerful innovation strategy and share the techniques and disciplines that any company can adopt to boost their innovation success.

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 about architecture. His framework allows people around the table to have effective dialogue about Information Technology and how it can or should support business processes.


David’s keynote presentation at the PDMA Annual Global Conference challenged the audience to think harder about their innovation efforts. 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. He was truly a high point of the event.


At Grundfos, David Robertson gave an inspiring and eye opening presentation of the many possibilities offered by open source innovation. Approaching the innovation process as something which can be shared with the outside world potentially adding millions of new ideas to our own is very new to us and has certainly been an inspiration to our organization.


Through his experience with LEGO and other companies, Professor Robertson delivered an engaging, creative and interactive session with my team and colleagues. The result…our own reflection and introspection on the barriers and catalysts that hinder and nurture innovative spirit, skills and the ambition to create value.

Philip Morris International


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Brick by Brick

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Enterprise Architecture as Strategy

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Fees & Details

Fees From*

  • UK:

    £15k to £30k

  • Europe:

    £15k to £30k

  • US:

    £15k to £30k

  • Africa/Asia/ME:

    £15k to £30k

Travels From

  • United States



* This Speaker's fee falls within the ranges shown above. Ranges are presented as a guideline only. Speaker fees are subject to change without notice. For an exact quote, please contact us.

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