Robert Poynton


Facilitator, Design Thinking

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Areas of Expertise

Design Thinking  •  Facilitator

About Robert

Robert Poynton is a designer and facilitator of learning experiences. He is particularly interested in complexity and has developed an innovative approach, based on improvisational theatre, to give people a direct, personal experience of the key ideas in this field.
He is is an Associate Fellow at the Saïd Business School and Green Templeton College at the Univesity of Oxford. He is also moderator of the Oxford Praxis Forum – a research centre focused on the intersection between thinking and doing.
He works on many of the Saïd Business School Executive Programmes including their most prestigious ‘Strategic Leadership Programme’. He has been part of the core faculty on that programme since 2002 and in May this year is acting programme director.
He has worked on many other Oxford programmes including Coaching and Consulting for Change, the Executive MBA and custom programmes for Standard Chartered Bank and EY.
In 2017 he was a contributor to the Skoll World Forum and Singularity University Global Summit in Silicon Valley, where together with Lisa Kay Solomon he designed and led the Leadership Forum.
He has also led courses on leadership, change and complexity at IE in Madrid, Ashridge Business School and Schumacher College.
His own clients include Chanel, Natura Bissé, BBC, Unilever and PwC. He also leads creative retreats in Spain, where he lives – such as the ‘Praxis Reading Retreats’ or the ‘Creative Tapas Experience’.
After graduating from New College, Oxford with a degree in psychology and philosophy, he worked in advertising as a strategic planner in London, Madrid and Buenos Aires. In 1994 he helped found a virtual, distributed brand consultancy called Red Spider, for clients such as Wired Magazine, GM/Saturn, Lucas Film and VW.
Robert continues to inquire into the connections between improvisation, complexity and sustainability. He has written two books entitled
Everything’s an Offer and Do Improvise and is currently working (with no great haste) on a new book about playing with time, entitled ‘Do – Pause’.
He is married with three sons and lives in an off grid house in the Sierra de Gredos in Central Spain just outside a small town that no-one has heard of.

On the value of improvisation

Beyond Control. A Complex World Demands The Ability To Improvise

Improvisation Session | SingularityU Portugal Summit Cascais

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