Polly LaBarre

Polly LaBarre

Co-author, Mavericks at Work and Co-founder, Management Lab, Founding Writer, Fast Company

Polly LaBarre is a bestselling author, speaker, and change-maker. She is the co-author of the award-winning book Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business win, a member of the founding team of fast company magazine, and a former business and innovation correspondent for CNN. Her writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including Fast Company, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review Online, Fortune.com, and Mckinsey Quarterly.

  • Polly’s field-tested insights help organizations change the way they change.
  • Helps leaders make their organizations more resilient, innovative, and inspiring.
  • Shows how to unleash the imagination, passion, and initiative of every person and build innovation into the organization’s DNA.
  • Provides a “Maverick Manual” for hacking the status quo to ramp up originality, invention, and game-changing disruption.
Speech Descriptions

How to disrupt like an insurgent
When the world stands still, size, strength, and stability offer an advantage. But in a world of relentless change, it’s the most creative and disruptive organizations that win. The challenge: most organizations are programmed to safeguard the status quo. So, how do you unleash your organization’s inner insurgent? How do you build a company with the drive to disrupt the status quo and the capacity to change ahead of change? Polly unpacks a set of actionable strategies drawn from her research and work inside some of the world’s most successful and innovative organizations. Audiences learn a completely new mindset for changing the way they change.


The end of leadership as we know it
The era of the heroic, all-knowing, all-powerful leader is over. Leadership is no longer a function of your title or where you sit in the organization. It’s a function of your capacity to get things done with other people. In this presentation, Polly shows what this actually looks like in practice at bold and successful organizations that have transformed their leadership mindset and reaped the rewards. She offers fresh and practical approaches using vivid storytelling. You’ll walk away understanding the most important things you need to do to “leader-proof” your organization.


Creating a culture of everyday, everywhere experimentation
Catching the future depends less on planning for what will come next and more on continuously experimenting with what could come next. In order to innovate and adapt in this creative, disruptive economy, every organization must develop the capacity (and the appetite) for experimentation and even failure. Despite the life or death stakes, this is not natural behavior for most organizations. Polly shows how the best companies today manage this. Her rich stories and practical perspectives and practices show how you can spread the mindset and methods of experimentation. Audiences leave knowing the five strategies for turning their organization into a lab for perpetual innovation.


Unleashing the most powerful force in business
For every leader unsettled by rampant disruption, unbounded competition, relentless commodification, there is a powerful antidote already inside the organization: the untapped audacity, imagination, energy, resourcefulness, curiosity, intuition, and artistry of its people. Those fundamental human qualities are the engine of the creative economy – the source of all value. And yet, too few organizations are designed to unleash, mobilize, and amplify that human edge. In this presentation, Polly takes audiences on a journey to the far front edge of organizational life and offers a look deep inside the “positive deviants” gaining advantage from their human edge. The lessons Polly draws from their success will inspire organizations looking to transform their cultures and position themselves for the future.


Make creativity a habit and become an innovator-for-life
If you want to create the future of your organization, your industry, or your profession – there’s no better place to start than supercharging your own creative capacity. The good news: we are all born with some kind of creative genius. The tough news: as we advance through our achievement-oriented, data-driven institutions – we tend to grow out of our creativity rather than into it. In this captivating presentation, Polly will introduce the core creative mindsets and habits that set the greatest artists, inventors, and creators apart. She’ll share a wealth of strategies and portable practices to help you see more, see differently, find answers in the most unexpected places, experiment fearlessly and tap into your powerful intuition. The goal: to help you turn creativity into a way of life.

Latest Tweets

Polly hit it out of the park. She was warm and well received. Attendees loved how she kept the concepts simple and digestible. We loved having her.

Senior Director, HireVue

She is truly gifted in making connections and keeping all engaged.

Business Specialist, Baldrige Performance Excellence Program

We could not have had a better presentation to close out our Wednesday session. Your insight on innovation in the workplace as well as how we can better incorporate innovation into our core company DNA was a hit!

President and Chief Executive Officer, Aerospace Industries Association

I had high expectations, but you completely exceeded them! You were absolutely brilliant on all fronts: content, delivery, timing, storytelling, and more. Everyone I talked to cited your talk as the highlight of our conference.

CEO, Perkins+Will

Polly was FABULOUS!!! Articulate, provoking, exciting, strategic, practical, humble…a good representation for women!!! Everything I was hoping for. I would recommend her!

Vice President, Farm Credit Services of America

I would like to tell you that the Planetree audience loved your presentation! Great job! I heard comments that you were the best keynote we have ever had by far! Thank you again for the presentation and also meeting with our staff afterwards. It was sensational!

Chief Creative Officer, Planetree