Tom Kuczmarski

Nationally Recognized Expert and Author on Innovation

Tom Kuczmarski, founder, senior partner, and president of Kuczmarski Innovation, is a nationally recognized expert in the innovation of new products and services. Over the course of his career, he has helped hundreds of clients, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 corporations, learn to systematically unlock the value of innovation.  

Tom Kuczmarski teaches product and service innovation at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management where he is Senior Lecturer and Visiting Scholar in the Center for Innovation and Technology.  Over the course of three decades, he has taught over 5,000 executive leaders representing companies and industries from all over the world.

Tom Kuczmarski is the co-founder of the Chicago Innovation Awards, which annually celebrates, educates, and connects innovators in the Chicago region.  The awards, which are endorsed by every major business association in the Chicago region, showcase the creative spirit of America’s heartland.  In 2013, the Awards expanded to include a new venture, The Innovators Connection, designed to help expand the region’s economy by creating business connections among innovators large and small. 

Tom Kuczmarski is the author of six books on innovation, leadership, and new product, service, and business model development. His most recent titles include “Innovating Chicago Style: How Local Innovators are Building the National Economy,” which profiles the first decade of winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards and the lessons of innovation that they reveal, and “Apples are Square: Thinking Differently about Leadership,” which was co-authored with Dr. Susan Smith Kuczmarski and explores the qualities of the ideal leader and how to build those qualities into one’s own career. 

Tom Kuczmarski is extensively published and cited on radio, television, and in national periodicals including: The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Newsweek, Bloomberg Business Week, The Today Show, Planning Review, Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Marketing News, Advertising Age, Crain’s Chicago Business, Business Marketing, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, and many more. He has a chapter published on new products and services in the Marketing Encyclopedia, a publication of the American Marketing Association. He serves on the editorial review boards for The Journal of Product Innovation Management and The Journal of Consumer Marketing.  In addition, Mr. Kuczmarski is a highly regarded speaker on innovation management and leadership, and lectures nationally and internationally to a broad range of corporations and associations.  He is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and an appointed member of the Illinois Innovation Council.

Before founding Kuczmarski Innovation, Mr. Kuczmarski was a Principal at Booz • Allen & Hamilton. While there, he assisted more than 100 U.S. consumer and industrial goods companies in the areas of marketing, new product development, strategic business analysis and organizational planning. He led the firm’s in-depth research of the best practices employed by more than 700 U.S. firms in their new product management processes. His prior experience as a brand manager at Quaker Oats Company also provided a solid and broad-based foundation unique to his consulting specialty.

He earned an M.B.A. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, and holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University’s Graduate School of International Affairs, where he was named an International Fellow of the University. He received a B.A. in French from the College of the Holy Cross.

To book Tom Kuczmarski call Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.

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  • Speaking Topics:

    Innovation

  • Travels From:

    Illinois

  • Price:

    $10,000 - $15,000

    Notes on Fees

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  • Full Bio
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Tom Kuczmarski, founder, senior partner, and president of Kuczmarski Innovation, is a nationally recognized expert in the innovation of new products and services. Over the course of his career, he has helped hundreds of clients, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 corporations, learn to systematically unlock the value of innovation.  

Tom Kuczmarski teaches product and service innovation at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management where he is Senior Lecturer and Visiting Scholar in the Center for Innovation and Technology.  Over the course of three decades, he has taught over 5,000 executive leaders representing companies and industries from all over the world.

Tom Kuczmarski is the co-founder of the Chicago Innovation Awards, which annually celebrates, educates, and connects innovators in the Chicago region.  The awards, which are endorsed by every major business association in the Chicago region, showcase the creative spirit of America’s heartland.  In 2013, the Awards expanded to include a new venture, The Innovators Connection, designed to help expand the region’s economy by creating business connections among innovators large and small. 

Tom Kuczmarski is the author of six books on innovation, leadership, and new product, service, and business model development. His most recent titles include “Innovating Chicago Style: How Local Innovators are Building the National Economy,” which profiles the first decade of winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards and the lessons of innovation that they reveal, and “Apples are Square: Thinking Differently about Leadership,” which was co-authored with Dr. Susan Smith Kuczmarski and explores the qualities of the ideal leader and how to build those qualities into one’s own career. 

Tom Kuczmarski is extensively published and cited on radio, television, and in national periodicals including: The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Newsweek, Bloomberg Business Week, The Today Show, Planning Review, Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Marketing News, Advertising Age, Crain’s Chicago Business, Business Marketing, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, and many more. He has a chapter published on new products and services in the Marketing Encyclopedia, a publication of the American Marketing Association. He serves on the editorial review boards for The Journal of Product Innovation Management and The Journal of Consumer Marketing.  In addition, Mr. Kuczmarski is a highly regarded speaker on innovation management and leadership, and lectures nationally and internationally to a broad range of corporations and associations.  He is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and an appointed member of the Illinois Innovation Council.

Before founding Kuczmarski Innovation, Mr. Kuczmarski was a Principal at Booz • Allen & Hamilton. While there, he assisted more than 100 U.S. consumer and industrial goods companies in the areas of marketing, new product development, strategic business analysis and organizational planning. He led the firm’s in-depth research of the best practices employed by more than 700 U.S. firms in their new product management processes. His prior experience as a brand manager at Quaker Oats Company also provided a solid and broad-based foundation unique to his consulting specialty.

He earned an M.B.A. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, and holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University’s Graduate School of International Affairs, where he was named an International Fellow of the University. He received a B.A. in French from the College of the Holy Cross.

To book Tom Kuczmarski call Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.

Igniting Innovation Throughout Your Organization

Innovation goes far beyond a one or two-day brainstorming session.  The ideas generated during a group meeting might prove to be valuable, but many wind up being swept under the rug. A disciplined strategy and step-wise, systematic process is needed in order to develop those ideas into full-fledged new products and services.

In this in-depth presentation, geared toward senior-level managers and leaders, Tom will connect the innovation dots and explore how strategy, process, and culture come together to help organizations define their innovation.  He’ll review his ground-breaking 7 Step Innovation process, how to identify the meaningful screening criteria needed to evaluate innovation success, the importance of strategy, and best practices for instilling innovation culture to maintain an innovation mindset.

Creating a Culture of Innovation

Can culture be learned? While many think that culture is simply “how things are” and cannot be changed, Tom knows that culture can be taught.

In this highly engaging and educational keynote, Tom reviews effective ways for executives and leaders to instill and sustain a culture of innovation within their companies.  He’ll discuss senior management’s involvement and influence in shaping an organization’s values and detail the critical components necessary to imagine, instill, involve, and inspire an innovation culture.

By the end, you’ll better understand why culture is the fuel of innovation, and how it allows employees to take the appropriate risks and think creatively in order to generate ideas that develop into new revenue-generating products or services. 

Innovation Best Practices for a World-Class Company

Human beings by nature are risk averse. How many times have you or a colleague suggested a new idea, product, or service that was immediately dismissed with “That’s too risky” or “We can’t do that”?  

Taking risk is an essential part of innovation, but that risk needs to be calculated, backed by a wealth of customer-centric insight and an in-depth understanding of your company and sector.  

With over 30 years experience as an innovation practitioner, consultant, and professor at the Kellogg School of Management, Tom Kuczmarski has identified the consistent traits of some of the most innovative companies.  This engaging presentation will review his best practices that take the guessing game out of the innovation equation.

The Power of Connecting Big & Small Companies

What happens when a Fortune 500 company and a fresh-out-of-the-accelerator startup come together? Opportunity. 

Building bridges between big and small companies has tremendous upside that could lead to greater revenue generation, job creation, regional interconnectivity, and business cluster development.  Through his work with the Chicago Innovation Awards and their Innovators Connection program, Tom has seen what happens when companies of varying sizes come together for the sake of collaborative innovation.  

This unique session explores the positive impact of closing the gap between companies of differing sizes and offers a look at how companies can make meaningful connections in order to develop their businesses and improve regional economic growth. 

Value of Recognition As Seen Through The Eyes of The Chicago Innovation Awards

In an increasingly entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial culture, rewarding and recognizing your employees appropriately will motivate them to put forth their best work.  Whether it is something as simple as peer recognition and access to senior management or stakes in innovation successes and rewards programs, employees in today’s work force want the sense of accomplishment that comes with making meaningful contributions to their company.

Through countless interviews and research with a wide array of companies, Tom has found that recognition is not just adding a few extra dollars to a paycheck.  It’s marrying the fiscal rewards of breaking new innovative ground with a sense of accomplishment and acknowledgement from peers and company leaders.

This session will discuss how rewards and recognition help to define culture in order to keep employees of all levels happy at your organization and provide an exciting atmosphere of development and potential.

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