Michael McMillan | Best-Selling Author, Speaker, Innovation and Creativity Consultant

Michael McMillan

Best-Selling Author, Speaker, Innovation and Creativity Consultant

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Michael McMillan

Michael McMillan's breadth of knowledge and experience, combined with his story-telling ability, make him a much-sought-after speaker, panelist, and consultant. His messages resonate with audiences, leaving them both motivated and committed to embrace a future of endless possibilities.

Michael's reputation for creative thinking and delivering innovative results is well deserved. Early in his career, Michael founded a visual communication firm that soon attracted a client roster that read like the Who's Who of Business. Fortune 100 corporations, small entrepreneurs, sports and music legends, non-profit organizations and institutions have sought Michael's creative guidance to deliver effective solutions with award-winning results. His work has been recognized by every major design, marketing, advertising and communication organization around the world.

Michael's creative direction on Michael Jordan's New York Times best-selling pictorial autobiography, Rare Air, established a new niche in retail publishing. He followed this success with several more award-winning coffee-table books including Mario Andretti, The NBA at 50 and John Deere's Genuine Value.

After 20 consecutive years of growth, Michael sold his firm and began sharing his unique insight on creative thinking, innovation and making positive change. He is a perception catalyst and truth seeker, inspiring others to question, think differently--and take action.

An accomplished author, Michael's books include:

Pink Bat: Turning Problems Into Solutions. This book will turn your thinking upside down and have you seeing problems as solutions and at the very least, opportunities. Readers discover that "Pink Bat Thinking" makes the impossible possible.

Paper Airplane: A Lesson for Flying Outside the Box. This entertaining story provides a profound and lasting impact on the power of creative thinking. Paradigm shifts occur when people have the courage to follow their vision and take action.

The Power of Teamwork. Michael coauthored this compelling book with former Blue Angels pilot Scott Beare. It explores the essence of teamwork and reinforces key principles practiced by the ultimate performance team.

Johnny the Bagger: The Simple Truths of Service. Working with Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glanz, Michael created this book to illustrate the importance of customer service that comes from the heart. To date, more than 20 million people have viewed the viral movie Michael created to promote the book.

The Race: In collaboration with Mac Anderson, founder of Successories & Simple Truths, this gift book stresses the importance of never giving up. Michael also created a short film based on the book that has received accolades from diverse international audiences.

Michael McMillan
Featured Videos

Current: Paper Airplane Presentation

Time 17:43

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Paper Airplane Presentation
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Paper Airplane Video
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Pink Bat
Time 06:05
Speaking Preview
Time 24:31

Michael McMillan
Featured Keynote Programs

Pink Bat

Everywhere you look today, there are problems. What’s scarier yet, is many experts predict there is no end in sight. So what can you do about this “problem pandemic”? Embrace it! In this presentation, Michael shares an entertaining childhood story from his book, Pink Bat, involving a “problematic” plastic baseball bat he received as a gift. Through this story and others, he shows how many perceived problems are actually unseen solutions… or at the very least, new opportunities.

Based on the countless “problems” we all face today, this powerful concept is more relevant than ever. Throughout this moving presentation, Michael’s message is clear: You can live each day in a world filled with “problems,” or rise each morning and embrace a world filled with unseen solutions… eager for you to find them. The decision is yours… both worlds exist. Successful people know the world you focus on is the one you will create. This inspiring presentation removes the blinders, captures the imagination, and inspires people to start seeing the world in a new light. If your organization is ready to create a “solution pandemic,” this presentation is for you.

Topics include:
-How to change a “problem” paradigm into solution pandemic.
-Create a Pink Bat culture where everyone contributes by turning “problems” into real solutions.
-Techniques to tap your most powerful asset… creativity.
-How one person’s problem can be another person’s solution.
-How to get past “perceptual blindness” and refocus on real solutions.
-How to see solutions that experienced “insiders” and “experts” miss.
-How to see reality for what it is, what it isn’t… and for what it might be.
-Pink Bat case studies.
-How to adjust expectations, suspend judgments, and remain open to new possibilities.

Rarely do I use the word genius… but I make an exception when it comes to Michael McMillan. You’ve probably heard me say it’s not what you say, but how you say it that turns the switch from “off” to “on.” Michael’s mind works in amazing ways and his ability to tell a story in a way that you’ll never forget is second to none.
~Mac Anderson
Founder of Simple Truths and Successories

Note: Pink Bat: Turning Problems Into Solutions is the perfect companion piece to this speech. This gift book will serve as a reminder to attendees to embrace a world filled with unseen solutions… eager for you to find them.

Paper Airplane

Sometimes the path to success isn’t a path at all. Based on his best-selling book, Paper Airplane: A lesson for Flying Outside the Box, Michael explores the power of creative thinking and shows the results you can achieve by having the courage to take action. This speech will open your eyes to the wonders of creativity, innovation and positive change. Through thought-provoking stories and examples, Michael provides valuable insights on creative thinking, questioning the norm, and taking action.

This presentation sparks imagination, encourages people to believe in their ideas, and helps organizations build a culture of innovation. Since the beginning of time, creative thinking has separated the survivors from those unable or unwilling to see new possibilities and make change. Creativity has always distinguished the winners from losers, and in today’s business world this statement has never been truer. Creative thinking is our most powerful human asset—it’s foundational for innovation, problem solving, survival and progress.

Topics include:
-Strategies for taking action on ideas that achieve breakthrough results.
-How to know when the status quo is losing its status.
-The psychology of expecting the unexpected.
-The power of keeping a personal notebook.
-How to trust your vision and insights and embrace your creative power.
-The power of purpose and passion.
-How labels and categories skew reality and influence our thinking.
-Distinguishing the map from the territory… and why your success depends on it.
-How to establish a culture that embraces creativity and change.

Michael McMillan finds the difference between the winner and someone simply getting it done.
~Mario Andretti
Racing Legend

Michael captures the magic of purposeful thinking when charged by imagination and conviction.
~Curt Linke
VP of Marketing, John Deere & Co.

Note: Paper Airplane: A Lesson for Flying Outside the Box is the perfect companion piece to this speech. The book will serve as a reminder to attendees to think differently and not be afraid to fly outside the box.


The Blue Angels are considered one of the world’s best performance teams. To say they are above average is an understatement; better put, they are abnormal. Sigmund Freud believed by studying the abnormal, we could gain a better understanding of the normal. Based on this thinking, Michael provides insight from the best-selling book he co-authored with Blue Angels pilot Scott Beare.

In this presentation, Michael explores the fundamentals of teamwork and shares the key principles employed by the Blue Angels to help organizations better understand how teamwork relates to their business and to their lives. Learn how these ten principles build the foundation for the most important value of all—trust. This is a great presentation for anyone involved with teamwork—and that’s everyone! It challenges the status quo and motivates audiences to embrace the true power of teamwork.

Topics include:
-Share Center Point Values
-Put Team First
-Walk the Talk
-Communicate—Vertically and Horizontally
-Capitalize on Synergy
-Clarify Procedures
-Foster Positive Attitudes
-Prepare to Win
-Maintain Peak Performance
-Strive for Perfection

Note: The Power of Teamwork: Inspired by The Blue Angels is the perfect companion piece to this speech. It will reinforce and remind attendees of the key principles crucial to achieving peak performance.

For Educators

Turning Problems Into Solutions

The problems educators face on a daily basis seem staggering. Talk to administrators, teachers, or students, and before long someone will bring up a problem… or two or three. Lack of parental involvement, underfunding, overcrowding, bullying, educational reform, burnout… the list of potential problems seems endless. The real problem is that all these other “problems” keep you from accomplishing your main objective—teaching kids and successfully preparing them for the future.

So what can be done about this academic problem pandemic? Embrace it! In this presentation, Michael draws from his best selling book, “Pink Bat: Turning Problems Into Solutions,” and shows how most problems are mislabeled opportunities and some are actually unseen solutions. Sound impossible? “Pink Bat Thinking” removes the blinders, captures the imagination, and exposes the world in a new light. You might say it makes the impossible possible.

This inspiring, paradigm-shifting presentation will influence the way you see the world… and just imagine the impact “Pink Bat Thinking” will have on your students.

In addition to the keynote, Michael will conduct a breakout/Q+A session with leadership to address specific issues.

Michael McMillan
Featured Reviews

Michael McMillan
Featured Articles & Resources

Connecting Dots

From Musings Newsletter. Sign up to receive future issues. In his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address, Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only...
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Paper Airplane Video: Creativity, Imagination, Innovation

A new video based on Paper Airplane: A Lesson for Flying Outside the Box. Whether it’s education, business or an entire nation, significant accomplishments...
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Innovative Visual Communication 101: An Interview with Michael McMillan

Inspiration is a cycle. To complete this cycle, it helps to understand the process of making something inspirational. In this video, Michael McMillan does just that. Premiere...
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Houston, We Have a Solution!

Since my flight to Houston didn’t leave until 12:40 PM, I spent the morning packing, answering Emails, reviewing my keynote‚ and enjoying the peace of mind one derives from...
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Seeing Unseen Solutions

I recently closed a speech with this challenge: “You can live each day in a world filled with “problems,” or rise each morning and embrace a world filled with unseen...
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"Pink Bat" Stairs

The following was written by best-selling author and world leader in creative thinking, Michael McMillan. This short video is an excellent (and fun) example of “Pink Bat”...
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