Jonathan Knowles


 A scientist and technologist with 30 years in Silicon Valley senior leadership positions at Apple, Adobe, and Autodesk, in addition to an active career in a variety of science, engineering, academic, and government policy domains, Jonathan is a proven creative thinker and respected voice on future trends, mindset, long-range vision, and “moonshot” thinking. Jonathan currently serves as the Exploration Director at the NASA Frontier Development Lab focused on AI research to discover new approaches to solving difficult challenges. He also serves as the Science and Exploration Fellow at Mission Blue – The Sylvia Earle Alliance. 

Jonathan provides insight on the intersection of emerging technologies and societal trends, and closing the gap between the theory and the practice of interdisciplinary approaches to innovation in a world of rapidly accelerating technological capabilities.


Sample Topics


Once known as, The Valley of Heart’s Delight, Silicon Valley takes it current name after the primary material in computer microprocessors. It is home to dozens of major technology companies and thousands of technology start ups and has fostered the greatest creation of wealth in the history of our planet. It’s the Hollywood of digital, the literal place where new forms of thinking, learning, creating, and consuming are invented, tested, coded, and disseminated throughout the world It has become home to those who explore and create the future. It is a disruptive force in social, economic, and political systems. An interface between technology and academia, with the quirky influence of counterculture woven into its fabric.

In this session, we will unpack the myths and history surrounding Silicon Valley. Together we’ll explore the lives of the people, organizations, and ideas that have created and continue to shape it, and most importantly, the mindset that is responsible for continuing to make it what it is today.


The future is appearing before our very eyes. It seems like every new day brings news of a revolutionary technology, a game-changing breakthrough, or a disruptive innovation that has the potential to upend a long-established industry. Is a short one-hundred years, the world has gone from the horse and buggy to the Fort Model T to the Tesla. Technology is moving faster than it ever has in human history, and, given the forecast of continued acceleration in computer power, it will never move this slowly again. 

Our future success will require a different mindset than the one that have delivered us to this moment in human history. A mindset that allows us to not only envision what changes technology could bring to our lives in the coming years, but also to become adept at navigating an increasingly complex world. A mindset that allows us to see the immense potential that we have to positively impact our families, our communities, our industries and the world as a whole. It requires, what we call, an exponential and growth mindset. 

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