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 Google, American Express, Spotify, Airbnb, Blackrock, Amazon, Diageo, GM, the NBA, UBER, New York Times, Nike, Apple and others. Founded in 2010, the company is headquartered in NYC, with offices in Amsterdam and Richmond, VA, and 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, a mobile gaming company, Lilo, an açai bowl company, 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, a Founding Member of Kindred, and a member of the New York City Mayor’s Creative Council. Alain is also 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.



Collision Conference, Toronto, June 20, 2022

From Bystanders to Stewards

4A's StratFest, New York City, September 13, 2022


OnBrand, Amsterdam, October 10, 2022

Past Talks


Grupos Salinas Summit, Cabo San Lucas, May 3, 2022


RetailTrends: Fans Love Brands, Amsterdam, April 21, 2022


Forbes: The Gathering, Banff, CA, April 20, 2022


Bloomberg Work Shifting 2.0, New York City, March 9, 2022

What Right Does Luxury Have to Relate to Gen Z?

Chanel Summit, New York City, February 2, 2022


FFX Group , New York City, January 19, 2022


PCMA's Convening Leaders, Las Vegas, January 11, 2022

Branding Your Business for Progress in 2022

Uppstart, Virtual, December 3, 2021


Web Summit, Lisbon, November 3, 2021

The Biology of Creativity

OnBrand, Amsterdam, October 1, 2021

Brands in Disposable Culture

The Next Web, Amsterdam, September 30, 2021

Beyond Purpose

Sustainable Brands Turkey, Virtual, September 15, 2021


Lush Internal Event, Virtual, July 26, 2021

Chanel Summit

Chanel Summit, New York City, July 1, 2021


American Express Marketing Club, Virtual, May 6, 2021


Leading Entrepreneurs of the World, Virtual, May 3, 2021

Sport, Power and Gen Z

Collision Conference, Virtual, April 21, 2021

Beyond Purpose

Bloomberg Live: Work Shifting, Virtual, March 31, 2021

The Myth of Originality

PauseFest, Virtual, March 11, 2021

Design for Collective Trauma

Nowhere Fest, Virtual, March 11, 2021

Leveraging Uncertainty for Progress

C2 Montréal's Emerging Entrepreneurs, Virtual, January 26, 2021

Designing for Collective Trauma

Touch Digital Summit, Virtual, November 21, 2020

Managing Teams Through Tension

Quartz at Work (from home), Virtual, November 19, 2020

Creating Cohesion in Distributed Work

Kindred Assembly, Virtual, November 18, 2020

Tech’s Subservience to Culture

What's Next in Retail Tech, Virtual, November 12, 2020

The Myth of Originality

OnBrand, Amsterdam, October 27, 2020

Brand Activism: Going beyond hashtags

C2 Montreal, Virtual, October 21, 2020

Creating a Culture that Fosters Innovation & Inclusivity

American Express Summit for Success, Virtual, October 20, 2020

The UnHackable Gen Z

American Express Marketing Club, Virtual, October 14, 2020

Designing for Collective Trauma

Seattle Interactive Conference, Virtual, October 12, 2020

Navigating Our Collective Trauma

The Next Web , Virtual, October 1, 2020

The Currency of Otherness

Hulu Diversity & Inclusion, Virtual, September 29, 2020

The Progress Instinct

Experience Club's MKT Lab, Virtual, September 24, 2020

Design for Collective Post-Trauma

International Design Conference, Virtual, September 17, 2020

Designing for Collective Trauma

ANA In-House Agency Committee , Virtual, September 17, 2020

The Progress Instinct

Future of Home, Virtual, September 15, 2020

Navigating a Collective Post-Trauma

PopTech, Virtual, August 7, 2020

The Currency of Otherness

The Atlantic's Power of Purpose , Virtual, July 29, 2020

The Inherent Rebellion of Gen Z

3% Conference: The Radically Inclusive Future of Work, Virtual, July 29, 2020

Together Apart: Innovation and Design Thinking

Together Apart, Virtual, July 1, 2020

The role of innovation in times of rapid change

Bamboo Crowd Innovation Sessions, Virtual, June 30, 2020

The School of Progress

Kindred , Virtual, June 24, 2020

Technology’s Subservience to Culture

Collision Conference from Home , Virtual, June 23, 2020

Power Languages

99U Conference, Virtual, June 17, 2020

The Progress Instinct

AMEX Marketing Club, Virtual, June 10, 2020

The Future of Ecommerce Retail

PSFK's The Future of Retail, Virtual, June 10, 2020

The Progress Instinct

ANA Brand Building Conference, Virtual , June 3, 2020

The Progress Instinct

RetailTrends Webinar, Virtual, May 13, 2020

Retaining the Creative Spirit in a Crisis

PSFK World Retail Innovation Week, Virtual, March 31, 2020

VCU Brandcenter Friday Forum

VCU Brandcenter, Richmond, February 21, 2020

From BlackRock to the WNBA – how to bring brand strategy to life in culture

ANA Brand Committee, New York City, January 29, 2020

The Exploitation of Purpose

The Atlantic's Power of Purpose, New York City, November 19, 2019

Defining “Innovation” (Finally!)

Fast Company Innovation Festival, New York City, November 4, 2019

The Fetishization of Innovation

Seattle Interactive Conference, Seattle, October 18, 2019

Are Creative Industries the Future of Middle Class Jobs in NYC?

By the Center for an Urban Future, New York City, October 16, 2019

The Exploitation of Purpose

OnBrand, Amsterdam, October 10, 2019

The Fetishization of Innovation

Innovation Week by Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, October 3, 2019

The Fetishization of Innovation

Retail & Brands Festival, Amsterdam, September 12, 2019

The Travel Experience is a Myth.

Click.2019 by, Amsterdam, September 10, 2019

The Exploitation of Purpose

Collision Conference, Toronto, May 21, 2019

Reclaiming Innovation: How Big Business Diluted the Practice

Adobe's 99U Conference, New York City, May 10, 2019

The Fetishization of Innovation

The Next Web, Amsterdam, May 9, 2019

The Savagery of Pop Culture

PromaxBDA Conference, Amsterdam, March 25, 2019

The Fetishization of “Innovation”

MBA Innovation Summit, New York City, February 15, 2019

Mind the Backlash

The 3% Conference, Chicago, November 8, 2018

Going Beyond the Cliché of “Purpose” and Staying Human at Work

Fast Company Innovation Festival Fast Tracks, New York City, October 24, 2018

The Currency of Otherness

Fast Company Innovation Festival, New York City, October 23, 2018

The Savagery of Pop Culture

Emerce eDay, Amsterdam, October 11, 2018

The Savagery of Pop Culture

OnBrand, Amsterdam, October 11, 2018

The Language of Pop Culture

NEXT Conference, Hamburg, September 20, 2018

The Rise of Righteous Tourism

Ministry of Ideas, Miami, June 11, 2018

From Waze to the Beyhive: The Power of the Collective Ego

Dublin Tech Summit, Dublin, April 18, 2018

Wellbeing 2.0

WGSN Futures, New York City, November 2, 2017

The Power of Imagination in Innovation and Brand Strategy

Fast Company Innovation Festival Fast Tracks, New York City, October 24, 2017

What Brands Can Learn From Beyoncé

OnBrand, Amsterdam, October 10, 2017