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Keynote Speaker Benjamin Erben

Benjamin Erben speaks on innovation, creativity, managing individuality and the power of dissent

Benjamin Erben is a Creative Director, Brand Strategist, systemic Coach and Team developer.

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Biography

Benjamin Erben is a creative. Benjamin is a brand strategist, systemic coach and team developer.

And Benjamin Erben is tired of people talking up the importance of ‘change’ without delivering ideas on how to achieve it.

Benjamin Erben is the founder of the branding company iconic.com, which he runs out of London and Berlin. He is also a creative partner in a digital transformation agency. As a consultant he helps people break out of established structures to become not only more innovative and creative, but more relevant and purposeful. Benjamin Erben has a MBA in creative leadership.

Challenging orthodox ways of thinking has always been at the core of his profession. Benjamin has worked on branding projects around the world for the last 20 years across cultures and industries working out what makes organisations different and why that is relevant to people. How can organisations break out from following others, or their old ways of doing things, and create a new path. Hundreds of C-Level interviews later he still encounters the same challenges: the fear to be different, to embrace new ideas, the diffiulty people have to dissent in a meeting. The lack of courage, against better judgment, to take risks. Risks seen as anything that someone else isn’t doing. All this results in the loss of identity, variety and creativity.

Unfollow – The creative power of dissent

Benjamin Erben speaks on innovation, creativity, managing individuality and the power of dissent. He is collaborating with Dale Renner on a new book “Unfollow – the creative power of dissent”, which is the topic of his speech. Unfollowing means growing, gaining self-worth, and going against blind obedience.

‘Unfollow’ is not another talk about change, ‘believe in yourself’ mantras and learning from revolutionaries, pirates and mavericks, the nostalgia, if you wish. Unfollow will zero in on the personal process of thinking differently and then acting differently – of moving from the state of following to unfollowing. It will cover the risks and benefits, and inspire action, not just reflection.

Unfollow is hands-on. It focuses on the lead up to what makes a person resist the orthodoxy, and how they manage the challenges of going against the norm. It addresses the problems we have with leadership today and how to overcome them. Unfollow identifies the problems of following, why we do it, how we develop our Unfollowing ‘muscle’ and how we use it to unlock more creativity, innovation and activism. It empowers us to exercise our own freedom and individuality, and how to manage the pitfalls of non-conformity. It’s about raising our awareness for the inherent power we possess to make a difference and fulfil our potential. Unfollow has an appeal across business, creative and personal audiences – the Unfollow concept can help people take more rewarding business risks and gain the courage to oppose leaders on social and political issues. It can also help prompt important personal changes and a break from the grip of the status quo.

The audience takes home an inspiring idea that meaningful change is not possible without ‚Unfollowing‘. It is the decisive moment in every change process. They will also draw courage from the insight that you don’t need to be a misfit, or revolutionary, to create positive change in your life. At the core lies the realisation that the ability to fight the norms, to push back against the boss, to fight the norms, and upset the status quo are key to surviving and succeeding in the complex, fast-paced world of today.

The good news is that unfollowing is in all of us. We just need to activate it when necessary.

“Our competitive economy needs difference, but many people are driving difference out of the marketplace, and that’s why your thesis on unfollowing is so important, because it will encourage people to think differently.”
Sir John Hegarty

Ben and Dale worked together in London and then on opposite sides of the world for the last 20 years in brand, innovation and social impact. We have advised organisations from airlines to telecoms to governments on how to differentiate and how to develop better solutions to complex problems. Yet we have seen time and again how individuals and organisations continually struggle to stand out, take risks and do something different from the mainstream. The deeply ingrained habits and ‘wisdom’ of following the crowd is expressed in every society and is tough to challenge. Yet this ability to push back against the boss, fight the norms, and upset the status quo are key to surviving and succeeding in the complex, fast-paced world of today.

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