Alain Sylvain

Strategist and Entrepreneur


Want Alain to Speak at your Event?


Alain is the Founder and CEO of SYLVAIN, a strategy and design consultancy that provokes progress for companies, people and society at large. Clients include Nike, Apple, Google, American Express, Spotify, Blackrock, Diageo, GM, the NBA, The New York Times and others. Founded in 2010, the company is headquartered in NYC, with offices in Los Angeles, CA, Richmond, VA and Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The company is a Certified B-Corporation.

Alain is a partner and investor in several ventures, including Master + Dynamic, a design-driven, premium audio brand, Free Rain, a line of enhanced sparkling water and PetMio, a smart pet food startup. He is on the board of Plus Pool, an ambitious project to build the world’s first floating, filtering swimming pool in NYC harbor, and Poptech, a global network committed to the vanguard of emerging technology, science and creative expression. In addition, Alain is a Founding Member of Kindred, and a member of the New York City Mayor’s Creative Council. He is an active contributor to various non-profit initiatives around the world including the Lower East Side Girls Club, The Bowery Mission and Anseye Pou Haiti.


Alain is a seasoned strategist, entrepreneur and speaker that provokes audiences to think about the issues facing businesses, people and society at large. Having spoken at some of the largest conferences in business and tech around the world, including Collision Conference, Fast Company Innovation Festival, The Atlantic’s Power of Purpose, The Next Web, and the 99U Conference, he’s known for his provocative points of view and not letting anyone off easy. Alain has a vast knowledge of history, pop culture, branding, innovation, consumer insight, leadership and business strategy, and builds his thinking around the unrelenting belief that when culture and commerce unite, real progress is possible.


Past Talks

Sustainable Packaging Coalition London

Coded Language, London, December 6, 2023

Web Summit

Coded Language, Lisbon, November 14, 2023


Naming the Invisible, Amsterdam, November 1, 2023

Bloomberg’s Africa Business Media Innovators

TBA, Cape Town, October 30, 2023


Documentary Presentation, Washington, DC, October 25, 2023

AIGA Design Conference

Studio Tour: SYLVAIN, New York City, October 12, 2023

Chanel Marketing Offsite

Peak Innovation, New York City, September 28, 2023

Tech Open Air

Peak Innovation, Berlin, July 5, 2023

Collision Conference

The Myth of Taste, Toronto, June 27, 2023

The Next Web

Peak Innovation, Amsterdam, June 15, 2023

Sustainable Brands

Ghosted by the American Dream, Minneapolis, May 24, 2023

SVA Design for Social Innovation Keynote

From Bystanders to Stewards, New York City, May 11, 2023

Web Summit Rio

What matters more, creativity or timing?, Rio de Janeiro, May 2, 2023

Brand Center Friday Forum

From Bystanders to Stewards, Richmond, April 14, 2023

The Next Web: Valencia

The Myth of Taste, Valencia, March 31, 2023


OnBrand, Amsterdam, March 9, 2023

Web Summit

When Virtue is Weaponized, Lisbon, November 3, 2022

Web Summit

Purpose in an Age of Transformation with The New York Times, Lisbon, November 2, 2022


Ghosted by the American Dream, Washington DC, October 27, 2022

Adobe MAX Conference

Ghosted by the American Dream, Los Angeles, October 19, 2022

TechCrunch Disrupt

HypeFeast, San Francisco, October 18, 2022

C2 Montreal

When Virtue is Weaponized, Montreal, September 26, 2022

4A’s StratFest

From Bystanders to Stewards, New York City, September 13, 2022

PromaxBDA Summit 22

HypeFeast, Las Vegas, June 23, 2022

Collision Conference

HypeFeast, Toronto, June 21, 2022

Kindred x B Corp Events

B Corp Certification: What Do We Stand For?, Virtual, June 16, 2022

Grupos Salinas Summit

Post-Purpose, Cabo San Lucas, May 3, 2022

RetailTrends: Fans Love Brands

HypeFeast, Amsterdam, April 21, 2022

Forbes: The Gathering

HypeFeast, Banff, CA, April 20, 2022

Bloomberg Work Shifting 2.0

HypeFeast, New York City, March 9, 2022

Chanel Marketing Summit

What Right Does Luxury Have to Relate to Gen Z? , New York City, February 2, 2022

PCMA’s Convening Leaders

Post-Purpose, Las Vegas, January 11, 2022

Uppstart Conference

The Character of a Brand, Virtual, December 3, 2021

Web Summit

Post-Purpose, Lisbon, November 3, 2021


The Biology of Creativity, Amsterdam, October 1, 2021

The Next Web

Brands and the Curse of Disposable Culture, Amsterdam, September 30, 2021

Sustainable Brands Turkey

Post-Purpose, Virtual, September 15, 2021

Lush Internal Event

Post-Purpose, Virtual, July 26, 2021

Chanel Marketing Summit

Post-Purpose, New York City, July 1, 2021

American Express Marketing Club

Post-Purpose, Virtual, May 6, 2021

Leading Entrepreneurs of the World

Post-Purpose, Virtual, May 3, 2021

Collision Conference

Sport, Power and Gen Z, Virtual, April 21, 2021

Bloomberg Live: Work Shifting

Post-Purpose, Virtual, March 31, 2021


The Myth of Originality, Australia, March 11, 2021

Nowhere Festival

Designing for Collective Trauma, Virtual, March 11, 2021

C2 Montréal’s Emerging Entrepreneurs

Leveraging Uncertainty for Progress, Virtual, January 26, 2021

Touch Digital Summit

Designing for Collective Trauma, Virtual, November 21, 2020

Quartz at Work From Home

Managing Teams Through Tension, Virtual, November 19, 2020

Kindred Events

Creating Cohesion in Distributed Work, Virtual, November 18, 2020

What’s Next in Retail Tech

Tech's Subservience to Culture, Virtual, November 12, 2020


The Myth of Originality, Amsterdam, October 27, 2020

C2 Montreal

Brand Activism: Going beyond hashtags, Virtual, October 21, 2020

American Express Summit for Success

Creating a Culture that Fosters Innovation & Inclusivity, Virtual, October 20, 2020

American Express Marketing Club

The UnHackable Gen Z, Virtual, October 14, 2020

Seattle Interactive Conference

Designing for Collective Trauma, Virtual, October 12, 2020

The Next Web

Navigating Our Collective Trauma, Virtual, October 1, 2020

Hulu Diversity & Inclusion

The Currency of Otherness, Virtual, September 29, 2020

Experience Club’s MKT Lab

The Progress Instinct, Virtual, September 24, 2020

International Design Conference

Designing for Collective Post-Trauma, Virtual, September 17, 2020

ANA Agency Committee

Designing for Collective Trauma, Virtual, September 17, 2020

Future of Home Conference

The Progress Instinct, Virtual, September 15, 2020


Navigating a Collective Post-Trauma, Virtual, August 7, 2020

The Atlantic’s Power of Purpose

The Currency of Otherness, Virtual, July 29, 2020

The 3% Conference

The Inherent Rebellion of Gen Z, Virtual, July 29, 2020

Together Apart

Innovation and Design Thinking, Virtual, July 1, 2020

Bamboo Crowd Innovation Sessions

The role of innovation in times of rapid change, Virtual, June 30, 2020

Kindred Events

The School of Progress, Virtual, June 24, 2020

Collision Conference from Home

Technology's Subservience to Culture, Virtual, June 23, 2020

99U Conference

Power Languages, Virtual, June 17, 2020

AMEX Marketing Club

The Progress Instinct, Virtual, June 10, 2020

PSFK’s The Future of Retail

The Future of Ecommerce Retail, Virtual, June 10, 2020

ANA Brand Building Conference

The Progress Instinct, Virtual , June 3, 2020

The Next Web

Mitigating tone-deafness in branding for tech companies with WhatsApp, Virtual , May 29, 2020


The Progress Instinct, Virtual, May 13, 2020

PSFK World Retail Innovation Week

Retaining the Creative Spirit in a Crisis, Virtual, March 31, 2020

VCU Brandcenter Friday Forum

The Power of Polyculture, Richmond, February 21, 2020

ANA Brand Committee

From BlackRock to the WNBA – how to bring brand strategy to life in culture, New York City, January 29, 2020

The Atlantic’s Power of Purpose

The Exploitation of Purpose, New York City, November 19, 2019

Fast Company Innovation Festival

Defining “Innovation” (Finally), New York City, November 4, 2019

Seattle Interactive Conference

The Fetishization of Innovation, Seattle, October 18, 2019

The Center for an Urban Future

Are Creative Industries the Future of Middle Class Jobs in NYC?, New York City, October 16, 2019


The Exploitation of Purpose, Amsterdam, October 10, 2019

Innovation Week by Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport

The Fetishization of Innovation, Amsterdam, October 3, 2019

Retail & Brands Festival

The Fetishization of Innovation, Amsterdam, September 12, 2019

Click.2019 by

The Travel Experience is a Myth, Amsterdam, September 10, 2019

LE Miami

The Fetishization of Innovation and a New Notion of Luxury, Miami, June 17, 2019

Collision Conference

The Exploitation of Purpose, Toronto, May 21, 2019

Adobe’s 99U Conference

Reclaiming Innovation: How Big Business Diluted the Practice, New York City, May 10, 2019

The Next Web

The Fetishization of Innovation, Amsterdam, May 9, 2019

PromaxBDA Conference

The Savagery of Pop Culture, Amsterdam, March 25, 2019

MBA Innovation Summit

The Fetishization of “Innovation”, New York City, February 15, 2019

The 3% Conference

Mind the Backlash, Chicago, November 8, 2018

Fast Company Innovation Festival Fast Tracks

Going Beyond the Cliché of "Purpose" and Staying Human at Work, New York City, October 24, 2018

Fast Company Innovation Festival

The Currency of Otherness, New York City, October 23, 2018

Emerce eDay

The Savagery of Pop Culture, Amsterdam, October 11, 2018


The Savagery of Pop Culture, Amsterdam, October 11, 2018

NEXT Conference

The Language of Pop Culture, Hamburg, September 20, 2018

Ministry of Ideas Conference

The Rise of Righteous Tourism, Miami, June 11, 2018

Dublin Tech Summit

From Waze to the Beyhive: The Power of the Collective Ego, Dublin, April 18, 2018

MBA Innovation Summit

The Power of Polyculture in Innovation: What Innovation Can Learn From The Cavendish Banana, New York City, February 16, 2018

WGSN Futures

Wellbeing 2.0, New York City, November 2, 2017

Fast Company Innovation Festival Fast Tracks

The Power of Imagination in Innovation and Brand Strategy, New York City, October 24, 2017


What Brands Can Learn From Beyoncé, Amsterdam, October 10, 2017

The Next Web

Optimus Time: What Matters More, the Innovation or the Context?, Amsterdam, May 19, 2017