Rob provides a playbook for business leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs to win this rapidly emerging game—and for each of us to consider the implications for our careers, families, communities, and lives.

Robert C. Wolcott is an Adjunct Professor of Innovation, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, and the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. 2007 – 2019, served as Clinical Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Kellogg. Teacher of the Year from Kellogg’s EMBA program in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Co-founder and chair of TWIN Global (, a community of over 3,000 innovation leaders from across countries and sectors. Active venture investor in over 30 companies and venture funds, many of whom are leading the Proximity Revolution.

Author of numerous books and articles, most recently PROXIMITY, from Columbia University Press (May, 2024). Wolcott’s work has appeared in publications such as MIT Sloan Management Review, The Harvard Business Review (online), The Wall Street Journal. Contributor for Forbes on the impact of technology on business, society and humanity.

Board member of Clareo;; Open Innovation Lab of Norway; and global non-profit HCP Cure Blindness.

BA, European & Chinese History; MS and Ph.D., Industrial Engineering & Management Science, Northwestern University.

Speech topics

PROXIMITY: How On Demand Transforms All Industries

Based on his book PROXIMITY, Rob reveals how AI and other new technologies are eroding barriers of time and distance, pushing value closer and closer to demand – from 3D printing to lab-grown meats to drone-enabled healthcare. In our “proximate” future, new technologies will reduce the time it takes for a good or service to arrive wherever you are it while decreasing fossil fuel use, excess inventory, and other activities that impact climate. He'll offer a playbook for business leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs to win this rapidly emerging game―and for each of us to consider what this revolution might mean for our lives.

Grow from Within: Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Taking innovation to the next level, corporate entrepreneurship is the process of building new businesses within an established organization—new businesses that are distinct from the core company but that leverage some of its most powerful assets. Grow from Within examines:

Innovation is critical to business success and growth, but it’s only the first step. Without strategically driven processes to turn insights into growing businesses, even the best ideas can fail. Creativity is often serendipitous; innovation management should not be.


Proximity: How Coming Breakthroughs in Just-in-Time Transform Business, Society, and Daily Life

Robert C. Wolcott and Kaihan Krippendorff provide an indispensable guide to the Proximity revolution, showing how it’s transforming every industry—and our lives.

Grow From Within: Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Grow from Within provides the knowledge you need to conceive and design valuable new businesses that breathe life into ideas and dramatically improve your top and bottomlines.

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