I am Alan Gregerman

Greetings, I’m Alan Gregerman, a consultant, author, teacher, speaker, and community volunteer who is constantly trying to figure out how to unlock the genius in all of us and all of the companies and organizations we work for. I believe that we all have the ability to be way more creative, innovative, and successful than we ever imagined by having a better understanding of ourselves, the world around us, and how brilliance actually occurs.


Through my three best-selling and award-winning books—Lessons from the Sandbox, Surrounded by Geniuses, and The Necessity of Strangers—I share stories, ideas, insights, and tools to enable everyone to stretch their thinking, have greater impact, and create breakthroughs in the things that matter most.

A few personal notes:

  • I am trained as a geographer and have a real passion for travel, cultures, and cities.
  • I really enjoy meeting and learning from strangers, especially strangers who are very different than me.
  • I love to walk, hike, play basketball, and sea kayak—especially in the North Sea off the west coast of Sweden.
  • I could eat Asian food every day for the rest of my life.
  • I really like the Indian holiday of Holi—in both theory and practice—and almost any holiday that celebrates the triumph of good over evil.
  • I am nuts about trains, trams, subways, and cable cars.
  • I tend to overuse the word “awesome.”
  • I have a totally awesome wife, three awesome kids, and a really awesome rescued dog named Vincent.

Book Testimonials

Praise for “The Necessity of Strangers”…

Is it possible that we are blind to one of the most exciting sources of innovation in our midst? The strangers among us—the UPS driver, the co-worker from a different department, neighbors who are older, younger, or otherwise different from us—could be invaluable allies in our quest for true creativity, if only we knew how to reach out to them. The Necessity of Strangers is a guide to breaking out of the hive mind and forging the connections that can make us better thinkers and better people. —Dan Pink, author, To Sell is Human, Drive, and When

Alan Gregerman has done it once again—making a compelling case for the relatively simple, yet powerful, concept of opening ourselves up to the knowledge and insights of others. The Necessity of Strangers is a provocative, relevant, and practical guide to meeting the challenges facing business leaders today. —George Schindler, CEO, CGI

Are you ready to learn about the power of strangers? From the products we buy at the grocery store to the innovations we adopt at the office, strangers shape our behavior in some amazing ways. Get ready for Alan Gregerman to show you how. —Jonah Berger, professor of marketing, the Wharton School, and author, Contagious

The Necessity of Strangers will change the way you think about innovation and collaboration. Alan Gregerman’s powerful stories, clear examples, and practical guidance show us that strangers are more essential to our growth and success than we ever realized, challenging us—and our businesses—to reimagine how we engage and inspire our employees, customers, and partners. —Chip Conley, founder, Joie de Vivre Hospitality; author, Peak, and Wisdom at Work

The Necessity of Strangers captures the remarkable value and wisdom of learning from people we too often discount or simply pass by. Their different perspectives may serve as the real catalyst for helping us innovate, create better products and services, increase profits, re-energize people, improve our communities, and reach our full potential. —Beverly Robertson, former president, National Civil Rights Museum

The solution to the world’s most difficult issues will be found at the intersection of disciplines, not inside disciplines. In The Necessity of Strangers, Alan provides powerful insight and practical tools to accelerate this our essential mashing of ideas. —Ellen Glover, former executive vice president, ICF International

In a reality that is constantly changing, and where tomorrow’s ordinary is today´s unthinkable, The Necessity of Strangers challenges and encourages us to take advantage of encounters with strangers. It’s a humanistic approach and a vision that clearly appeals to me, tied to my belief in international business. Just playing it safe will never lead to success. —Swedish Marketing Federation

Alan Gregerman stops you in your tracks and forces you to re-examine your behavior and ways of thinking. A wonderful and inviting read, punctuated by practical, well-founded insights, The Necessity of Strangers shows how to lead organizations that explore, connect, innovate, and grow. —Amr ElSawy, president and CEO, Noblis

The world is changing! The Necessity of Strangers is a must-read to ensure that you are maximizing all of your relationships. —Ed Fuller, author, You Can’t Lead With Your Feet On The Desk, and former president and managing director, Marriott International Lodging

The Necessity of Strangers will open your mind to the importance of meeting strangers and enchant you with the marvelous things that come out of these encounters. Alan Gregerman’s unique gift is his ability to teach all of us how to make this happen routinely as a key to business success. —Amr ElSawy, president and CEO, Noblis

Praise for “Surrounded by Geniuses”…

Winning in today’s business environment requires focus, curiosity and openness to new ways of thinking-and Surrounded by Geniuses has all of these! This book stands out in the business advice crowd. It’s filled with humor, passion, clarity and powerful insight about what it takes to win in the most competitive markets by tapping the talents of all of your people. -Donna Morea, former President, CGI U.S., Board Chair, SAIC

No one needs a ‘me-too’ anything—great companies learn to transform customers into fans. Surrounded by Geniuses can help you begin your quest for the next great idea. It is an important and enjoyable read. -Vernon H. Hill, founder, Commerce Bank

Innovation in business is critical and complex. In Surrounded by Geniuses, Alan gives us big ideas, clear examples and the perspective to improve business performance. -Marriott International

Dr. Gregerman has made an important contribution to our understanding of the power of each of us and our organizations to innovate, create and do so much more. His ideas are clear, concrete and surprising in their originality. Surrounded by Geniuses is a book for anyone struggling to get beyond incremental thinking. -Cisco Systems

More Information

Looking for a zippier or more formal bio? If so, here are a couple of others that can be used for introductions, media, publicity, or any other honorable purpose you choose…
Alan Gregerman is a highly-respected and award-winning author, business consultant, teacher, keynote speaker, community volunteer, and all-around nice guy who has been called “one of the most original thinkers in business today” and “the Robin Williams of business consulting.” His work, research, and writing focus on helping companies and organizations to unlock the genius in all of their people in order to innovate, grow, and deliver the most compelling value to their customers.

Alan’s three books—The Necessity of Strangers, Surrounded by Geniuses, and Lessons from the Sandbox—challenge our thinking about people, the world around us, where brilliant ideas actually come from, and how to reach our full potential as individuals, leaders, and organizations.

Dr. Alan Gregerman is the founder, President, and Chief Innovation Officer of VENTURE WORKS Inc., a strategy and innovation consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., that helps many of the world’s leading companies and organizations build winning strategies and create successful new products, services, ventures, customer experiences, and new ways of doing business. His customers are a wide range of Fortune 500 corporations, growing firms, entrepreneurial start-ups, nonprofit organizations, and public sector agencies, including Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Discovery Communications, Google, Kaiser Permanente, Mercedes-Benz, Verizon, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Children’s National Medical Center, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Alan is an internationally-respected expert on business strategy, innovation, and unlocking the talent in people at all levels of organizations. As a consultant he has helped more than 300 teams and businesses to create important innovations with a 90% success rate. He is also an award-winning teacher, best-selling and award-winning author, and renowned keynote speaker who has been called “one of the most original thinkers in business today” and “the Robin Williams of business consulting.” His first book, Lessons from the Sandbox, provided a powerful formula for business and personal success based on the magic of childhood. His second book, Surrounded by Geniuses, showed companies and organizations how to unlock more compelling value by finding powerful insight in their own people and the world around them. His latest book, The Necessity of Strangers, is all about the power of connecting with and learning from people who are very different than us as the key to greater innovation, collaboration, and success. Before starting VENTURE WORKS, Alan was Director of Entrepreneurial Services for a national management consulting firm, Special Assistant for Program Operations at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the first Visiting Scholar in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Library of Congress. He has also worked as a mapmaker, subway mechanic, hotel housekeeper, and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Innovation at the Robert Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

Alan earned his B.A. in geography, summa cum laude, from Northwestern University, and his M.A. in economic geography and Ph.D. in urban and technology planning with highest honors, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In his free time he is active in a wide range of volunteer activities focused on education and creating opportunities for everyone in our communities to reach their full potential. He and his wife Lisa, an educator and labor and delivery nurse, have three children, Sara, Carly, and Noah, and a very goofy rescued Flat Coated Retriever named Vincent.

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