Abby Fichtner

Speech Topics

Are you looking to disrupt the industry with innovative ideas and products that push the edge on what’s possible? Using real-life examples from startups like Facebook, Dropbox and AirBnB, Harvard Innovation Lab’s former Hacker in Residence shares how traditional methodologies and techniques are being adapted by startups to build things that no one has else has ever built before. Learn the key patterns that occur again and again in innovation, and be blown away by some of the most amazing discoveries and inventions happening today. Be inspired out of your comfort zone as Abby builds you a safety net with real techniques for capturing your initial market and incorporating learning and validation to guide you to success.

Note:  Abby can also present a much more technical version of this for software development teams that goes into agile & lean startup methodologies.


How can we use our creativity to create work that’s meaningful to us and that allows us to put ourselves out their as our true, authentic selves? How, by rekindling our creativity, can we step into the work that we really want to be doing? Work that actually uses our true potential, rather than feeling like we’re simply living our lives on auto-pilot, responding to whatever happens to be thrown in our way. If you’re ready to ignore the “shoulds” and the naysayers and do the work that’s really calling to you, this talk is for you.


If you only do what you know will work, your company won’t survive. Even though large companies have huge advantages in resources & expertise for creating breakthrough ideas, they often put up barriers to innovation that prevent them from doing so. The same policies that make them successful can be their demise.

This talk explores the mindsets and behaviors leaders can use to:

– Reduce your barriers to innovation to allow for experimentation
– Get your company out of it’s comfort zone by moving beyond the safety of incremental improvements
– Cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset by giving employees permission to go beyond their job titles
– Create space for breakthrough innovation by understanding its patterns and catalysts and learning how you can encourage and support these concepts.


Are you really pushing the boundaries of what can be done? In your products? Your careers? Your lives? When was the last time you challenged yourself to the point of failure? How did it feel when you did? In this talk, Harvard Innovation Lab’s former Hacker in Residence shares what she’s learned from her own experience of pushing boundaries and those of the hundreds of startups she’s worked with. She’ll take you on a journey of how others have followed their curiosity to amazing results, and pushed themselves out of their comfort zones to achieve greatness.

Inspiring people to break out beyond incremental improvements to truly innovate by sharing stories of how this has led to unexpected success.


Abby Fichtner helps people build amazing technology and push the edge on what’s possible.

Hacker in Residence for three years at Harvard Innovation Lab and one of Microsoft’s first Evangelists for Startups, Abby has worked with hundreds of innovators. She’s been recognized by Mashable, Pando Daily, and the Boston Globe for shaping Boston’s Startup Community, been named one of the Top 25 Women in Boston Tech, and nicknamed Boston’s Startup Guardian Angel.

Abby’s joy is working with hackers and entrepreneurs who are building things no one else believes is possible. She writes one of the top Agile blogs — The Hacker Chick Blog — on creativity and innovation, been advisor for the SXSW Accelerator, and taught for TechStars, MIT, and Harvard Business School.

A software developer by trade, Abby’s roots are a mixture of developing bleeding-edge technology for startups and coaching large organizations — including Microsoft, Oracle, and Pepsi — on how to operate with the agility of a startup.

Abby is extremely passionate about building communities where innovation thrives because she believe that each and every one of us is capable of changing the world.

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