about

Matthew E. May

Matthew E. May

Strategy & Innovation Advisor | Author | Speaker

My name is Matthew E. May. I’m an independent strategy and innovation advisor. I work closely with senior managers and their teams to help them define innovative new strategies and build competitive capability. I offer custom training, facilitation and advisory services  companies of all types, industries and sizes, all over the world.

I come from a strategy and design background, heavily influenced by the 8 years I spent as a fully-retained advisor to Toyota. It was a life- and career-changing experience which enabled me to publish a 2006 bestselling book about their innovative methods (The Elegant Solution: Toyota’s Formula for Innovation) and enter the global lecture circuit. I now speak regularly on innovation, strategy, and lean.

In 2016 I published my fifth book, Winning the Brain Game: Fixing the 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking, encapsulating over a decade of helping teams develop elegant solutions to difficult problems. I’ve written for The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Strategy+Business, Rotman Magazine, Fast Company, 99U, and INC.

I hold a BA in Social & Behavioral Science from The Johns Hopkins University, an MBA in Organizational Design from The Wharton School, and advanced training in Design Thinking from the Stanford University “d school.” Still, winning the New Yorker cartoon caption contest is perhaps my fondest creative achievement.

services

TRAINING

I build durable capability in today’s most relevant disciplines: strategic thinkingdesign thinking, and lean thinking.
My training is tailored, team-focused and hands-on.

  • Strategic Thinking

    Learn and apply the Play-to-Win strategy framework
  • Design Thinking

    Learn and apply human-centered innovation methodology
  • Lean Thinking

    Learn and apply Toyota-based continuous incremental innovation 
  • Brain Game Clinic

     Learn and apply advanced creative thinking technique

FACILITATION

Facilitation is my passion and strong suit. I design and guide highly engaging sessions that get teams aligned
and moving forward with best speed toward their chosen objective.

  • Strategy Sessions

    Play-to-Win strategy formulation, followed by reverse engineering
  • Focused Concepting

     Problem statement framing followed by guided ideation
  • Lean Starts

    Multi-day new concept prototyping followed by testing
  • Kaizen Sessions

    Time-bound operational workflow simplification

ADVISORY

I offer deep insight on strategy and innovation gained from over thirty years of front-line experience
and professional counsel to senior leaders of the world’s most admired companies.

  • Innovation Strategy

    Guidance on aligning the innovation portfolio
  • Innovation Centers

    Guidance on creative centers of excellence
  • Operations Strategy

    Guidance on transforming operations into competitive advantage
  • Go-to-Market

    Guidance on new product/service commercialization strategy

Praise

“Matt, I want to convey the important impact you clearly had on our team and emphasize how much we value learning at AppNexus. I look forward to celebrating both quick wins and complete rethinks your session today ultimately triggers.”
PABLO DOMINGUEZ
SVP, AppNexus
“Matt, our sessions with you gave us the forethought and foresight that enabled us to not only weather the recent real estate crash, but positioned us to launch a new brand for an entirely new home purchaser and emerge as market leader.”
KEN KRIVANEC
President, Quadrant
“Matt, thank you for the guidance you have provided the Senior System Leadership Team. You add depth to our thinking on how we are developing people to improve unique processes to create superior value and win in the marketplace.”
JEFFREY HUNTER
EVP, Thedacare

Speaking

WINNING THE BRAIN GAME

This provocative and highly interactive keynote speech is based my latest book Winning the Brain Game. Participants will engage in the same simple thought challenges given to over 100K people during a 10-year period, revealing seven mental glitches that stymie our best thinking.

“Matt was very well received by our group. He adapted his presentation so that it suited our senior team. We enjoyed his insights on innovation, and look forward to implementing them.”
HARVEY TREMBLAY
Chairman/President, Hy-Tech Drilling LTD

THE MAGIC OF SUBTRACTION

This keynote draws upon my book The Laws of Subtraction. I outline six simple rules for standing out and staying relevant in a massively distracting world, built on a single yet powerful idea: When you remove just the right things in just the right way, something good happens.

“Matt is a masterful presenter in every way…he connected with the audience and knew his material. We were delighted to have him kick off our Design Strategy series.”
TIM SMITH
Design Chair, California College of the Arts

DESIGNING ELEGANT SOLUTIONS

This popular speech is based on my two first books, The Elegant Solution and In Pursuit of Elegance. Drawing on my years with Toyota, I deliver the key elements to creating and developing ideas and solutions that achieve the maximum effect with the minimum means.

“We were so honored that Matt came to speak to our Council on Development, Education and Learning. He delivered an excellent presentation on innovation. We wanted more time with him!
THE CONFERENCE BOARD
On the campus of 3M Corporation

books

THE LATEST

Winning the Brain Game best-selling book by innovation strategist Matthew E. May

Winning the Brain Game

FIXING THE 7 FATAL FLAWS OF THINKING
“This book should be a must-read for any innovator, business leader or problem solver.”
BRAD SMITH, Chairman and CEO, Intuit
My latest book is the culmination of giving a real-world thought challenge  to thousands of people over the course of ten years, and reveals seven observable problem-solving patterns that can block our best thinking. I call on modern neuroscience and psychology to help explain things, and draw insights from some of the world’s most innovative thinkers. Finally, I offer a super-curated, field-tested set of “fixes” proven to raise your thinking game.

THE OTHERS

The Elegant Solution by Matthew E. May
THE ELEGANT SOLUTION
Toyota’s Formula for Mastering Innovation
The book that started it all, based on my 8 years advising Toyota.

“The lessons in this book are fast becoming LAPD’s roadmap to both innovation and efficiency.”
PATRICK FINDLEY, Captain/CO, LAPD

In Pursuit of Elegance by innovation author Matthew E. May
IN PURSUIT OF ELEGANCE
Why The Best Ideas Have Something Missing
Traveling the world to find evidence of elegance in all domains.

“Matthew May reveals the hidden elements beneath genuine innovation.”
DANIEL H. PINK, author, TO SELL IS HUMAN

The Laws of Subtraction by innovation author Matthew E. May
THE LAWS OF SUBTRACTION
6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess
Drilling down into the most powerful element of elegance: subtraction.

“A compelling case for achieving the maximum effect with minimum means.”
KEVIN HUNTER, President, CALTY Design

The Shibumi Strategy by Matthew E. May
THE SHIBUMI STRATEGY
A Powerful Way to Create Meaningful Change
A business fable based on true events, revealing the Zen of breakthrough.

“This little gem sheds light on the hidden potential in our everyday struggles.”
SCOTT BELSKY, founder/CEO, Behance

Media

BROADCASTS

PRESS

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PODCASTS

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CONTACT

Professional Services

To inquire about all speaking, training, facilitation or advisory services, please contact Matthew directly or via social media:

General Inquiries