Phil McKinney

World Renowned Expert on Technology, Innovation, and Creativity

Phil McKinney, an Innovation Consultant and president and CEO of CableLabs, has held technology and innovation leadership positions in a number of top companies and has been widely profiled in national media outlets. Vanity Fair named McKinney “The Innovation Guru;” MSNBCand FOXboth call him “The Gadget Guy;” and Laptop Magazine named him as one of the “25 Most Influential People in Mobile Tech” in 2010. His uncanny ability to predict what’s coming next caused The San Jose Mercury News to dub him “the chief seer.” Of his first book, Beyond the Obvious: Killer Questions That Spark Game-Changing Innovation, Peter Guber said, “Phil McKinney will change your Monday with his rule-breaking approach to harnessing the power of innovation. This book is a killer read for anyone who hopes to triumphantly succeed and not just survive.” A sought after business keynote speaker, McKinney gives over 100 talks or workshops a year across the globe.

McKinney was a featured speaker at the Consumer Electronics Show, National Association of Broadcasters, McKinsey & Company, Churchill Club, Corporate Center for Innovation, Stanford University, Columbia University, American Express, Reuters, P&G, Kroger, Televisa, Johnson Controls, Kraft, World Innovation Summit, PDS Technology Summit, Maker Faire, Cellcom Media Conference, Forrester Research, Yankee Group and many others. Attendees of his events have said McKinney was “super helpful to me in pitching my idea to a company” and that his speaking session “helped me to see myself as an innovator.”

Before his position at CableLabs, McKinney was vice president and chief technology officer for Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) $40B (FY2011) Personal Systems Group, where he was responsible for long-range strategic planning and research and development for all of the company’s PC product lines, including mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc), notebooks, desktops, and workstations. Over the course of his career, he has been profiled or had his work on innovation written about in media outlets ranging from tech press to Vanity Fair, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. McKinney also writes a column for Forbes called “The Objective,” hosts a popular Killer Innovations podcast that CIO Insight has called “a must listen,” and tweets frequently.

In his talks based on Beyond the Obvious, McKinney explains why the success or failure of an organization depends upon the ability, or inability, to ask questions that lead to breakthrough innovations. Constantly generating great ideas is the foundation of staying ahead in a rapidly changing world, yet too many people assume it is a gift rather than a learned skill. McKinney puts this myth of the individual genius to rest and replaces it with the toolbox that allowed him to rise through the ranks at one of the world’s preeminent technology companies. He presents FIRE (Focus, Ideation, Rank, Execution), a four-part program, to change the way any company operates, innovates, and creates. He presents a set of 65 battle tested questions called “Killer Questions.” Among them are:

  • What is the process used by my customer to discover my product and to select it?
  • What will my company look like in five years?
  • What are my unshakable beliefs about what customers want?
  • What is inconvenient about my product?
  • How can I identify emerging trends that could impact my products?
  • Who is using my product in a way I never intended — and how?

This program and these questions – what McKinney calls his “crash course in how not to know” – will reframe the way audiences see their products, their customers, and their problems. Whether you’re a company with a conference room of Aeron chairs or one with nothing more than a garage and Gmail address, McKinney provides the skills and easy-to-follow plan anyone needs to make both the revolutionary changes and nuanced adjustments required for staying ahead.

McKinney serves on the Board of Directors for The Computer History Museum.  An Eagle Scout, he also serves on the Executive Board of the Santa Clara County Council for the Boy Scouts of America. McKinney lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Praise for Phil McKinney

“The innovation guru.”                                                                                — Vanity Fair

“Chief Seer.”                                                                                     — San Jose Mercury News

“The Gadget Guy.”                                                   — MSNBC and Fox Business News

“25 Most Influential People in Mobile Tech.”                              — LAPTOP Magazine

Praise for Beyond the Obvious

“An empowering new voice for business readers, Phil McKinney will change your Monday with his rule-breaking approach to harnessing the power of innovation. This book is a killer read for anyone who hopes to triumphantly succeed and not just survive.”

— Peter Guber, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Tell to Win

“… getting ourselves and our teams to think beyond the obvious is a challenge we face all the time. Phil McKinney is an innovation expert, and his killer questions and hit-the-spot anecdotes provide a great way to get out in front of opportunities we otherwise won’t see.”

— Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm

“Many assumptions about our business ultimately turn out to be wrong. . . In Beyond The Obvious, Phil McKinney arms readers with the skills to ask razor-sharp questions that lead to better ideas and more effective innovations.”

— Wendell P. Weeks, chairman and CEO, Corning

“. . .an invaluable guide to extracting ideas from the book and applying them within an organization. . . McKinney gives organizations the tools they need to generate ideas and know that they’re moving in the right direction.”

Publisher Weekly

“In this bright, informative debut, McKinney. . . writes that anyone can become an ‘idea person’. . . Valuable and ready for immediate use.”

Kirkus Reviews