Sam Knowles combines long and varied consultancy experience with a planner’s facility for turning relevant data into narratives that resonate and campaigns that deliver.
Insight Agents was founded in in the U.K. in 2013 by Sam Knowles, who’s the Managing Director. Sam combines long and varied consultancy experience with a planner’s facility for turning relevant data into narratives that resonate and campaigns that deliver. For a one-time PR man, he has unusually rich analytics experience and expertise.
Through Insight Agents, Sam helps all sorts of organisations – businesses and charities, universities and Governments – to identify and craft the most compelling, data-driven stories in their sector. He divides his time between consultancy, writing, and training.
Sam is the author of the best-selling book Narrative by Numbers: How to Tell Powerful & Purposeful Stories with Data, published by Routledge in April 2018. This was followed by a critically-acclaimed sequel – How To Be Insightful: Unlocking the Superpower that Drives Innovation – in May 2020.
Sam holds a doctorate in psychology, one source of his understanding of human motivation and behaviour and his love of telling stories with data. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and chairs the Data Storytelling Council of I-COM, a global association helping companies achieve competitive advantage through smart data marketing. Sam is a member of the Market Research Society (MRS), the Professional Speaking Association, the Media Research Group (MRG), Account Planning Group (APG), and the Public Relations & Communications Association (PRCA).
An experienced and sought-after conference speaker, he has given recent keynotes for the MRS, MRG, APG, PRCA, the International Communications Consultancies Organisation, and at the Festival of Marketing. He has also spoken at Big Data, big pharma, food technology, sensory science, academic, and procurement sector events.
A prolific blogger and an accomplished speaker, Sam is a regular commentator and guest on podcasts. He is the co-founder and co-host of the Small Data Forum, a podcast examining the uses and abuses of data big and small in business, politics, and public life.
How do we advance? As individuals, families, and businesses? As societies, nations, and a species? In a world where it’s said there is nothing new under the sun, we humans are remarkably resourceful at creating new things. The key to innovation is understanding, but that doesn’t mean parading an array of facts, data, and casual observations. Progress demands profound and useful understanding of a person or a thing, a situation or an issue. And profound and useful understanding that truly effects change is that most elusive of phenomena: insight.
In this original and wide-ranging talk, data storyteller Sam Knowles will chart the history of insight. From the philosophers of classical Athens to the Gestalt school of psychology, from the foundations of the London School of Economics to cutting-edge neuroscience, this talk joins the dots between the hunches of philosophy, behaviours observed in the lab, and electrochemical activity in the brain. Along the way, Sam will introduce a novel model of how to be insightful and champion the role of diversity and neurodiversity in insightful thinking.
2021 sees every business, charity, and third-sector organisation faced with the imperative to evolve – and often pivot to entirely new ways of working – in next-to no time. Innovation requires the development of transformative insights from the data that surrounds us, yet the application of insightful thinking doesn’t come easily. Fortunately, insightful thinking is a skill that can be learned. In a world in need of a directive but reassuring arm around its shoulder, in this clear-thinking and optimistic keynote, data storyteller Sam Knowles shares a novel and proven model of insightful thinking. His talk sets out the four-step approach all organisations can use to innovate at pace, harnessing the power of insightful thinking to thrive and prosper in 2021. And beyond.
"For the 2018 edition of our annual customer conference in Las Vegas, AWS re:Invent, I was on stage together with Kuldip, him being my customer back then. He delivered the major part of our session and talked about the digital innovation activities of his then employer. I can state that he delivered his part in a very engaging and entertaining manner. This is also reflected by the very high CSAT scores and other feedback we received from the audience. Based on this excellent performance, we asked Kuldip to present again at the AWS Summit in Berlin in early 2019. Again, he delivered a very engaging and entertaining talk and the CSAT scores were very high. His performance in Las Vegas in 2018 apparently left an impression in the audience: When I delivered a talk AWS re:Invent 2019, one year later than my joint session with Kuldip, someone from the audience asked me afterwards: “Where is Kuldip this year? I found your joint session last year the best session of the entire conference”."
"I have first-hand experience of Sam from both continued professional development as a trainer and also collaboration on business projects as a speaker and a facilitator. He is well-able to adapt to...
“I've heard Sam speak on a couple of occasions most notably at the Professional Speaking Association's annual Summit in October 2020. His style is engaging and his topic important in these days of...
"Sam Knowles is one of the most interesting and engaging speakers I have ever seen – Full Stop. I first had the pleasure of witnessing the wonder of Sam at the 2018 Media Research Group Conference...
“We booked Sam as a keynote speaker at our annual conference last year for insight and operations professionals working in fundraising teams. He was brilliant and received excellent feedback from...
“Sam Knowles combines science, storytelling, and humour in a perfect way. Our members not only enjoyed listening to his talk but were also eager to participate in his practice session. His input...
"I have first-hand experience of Sam from both continued professional development as a trainer and also collaboration on business projects as a speaker and a facilitator. He is well-able to adapt to the needs of different audiences and deliver insightful content. I would highly recommend him to friends and colleagues."
“I've heard Sam speak on a couple of occasions most notably at the Professional Speaking Association's annual Summit in October 2020. His style is engaging and his topic important in these days of misinformation – how to get interesting and effective stories from reliable and relevant data. He goes through a clear six-step process telling stories along the way and turns what many may see as a dusty subject – data – into a compelling narrative.”
"Sam Knowles is one of the most interesting and engaging speakers I have ever seen – Full Stop. I first had the pleasure of witnessing the wonder of Sam at the 2018 Media Research Group Conference in 2018 in Bratislava, where Sam was the keynote speaker. Sam captivated the attention of the audience and presented new ways of thinking about data and insight in a way which demonstrated how the theories could be applied and more importantly how be turned into actionable results."
“Since then, I have been a great fan of Sam's work, and after reading his fantastic publications Narrative by Numbers and How To Be Insightful, I reached out to Sam to ask if he would be interested in presenting his work to the membership of the IPA. Sam kindly obliged and delivered an incredibly popular webinar which drew on his previous works and talked of how agencies and brands alike could apply the thinking to navigate the unprecedented times we are living in during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Needless to say, Sam's presentation was fantastic, evidenced by continued audience engagement throughout, so many audience requests and questions we couldn't answer them all due to time constraints and also the lowest audience drop off rate we have seen. The feedback from attendees was exceptional with one attendee stating that the webinar was 'mind altering' and 'completely changed the way they understood data and insight' and many others asking where they could see Sam present again as he was so good."
“The great thing about Sam is that he presents in such a great way that he makes what he presents so understandable and applicable for the audience he is presenting to. His speaking style is very engaging and his personality and enthusiasm make you feel like you are on a journey of discovery, while making sure you never feel lost or overwhelmed. As you can tell, we're huge fans of Sam and his work at the IPA and we very much hope to work with him again in the future. If you get the chance to see Sam speak, take it without hesitation – I can assure you, you won't be disappointed.”
“We booked Sam as a keynote speaker at our annual conference last year for insight and operations professionals working in fundraising teams. He was brilliant and received excellent feedback from delegates who awarded him a ‘stellar speaker’ score. Sam is an engaging, knowledgeable, and charming speaker. He clearly knows his subject matter well and made it interesting and relevant to our audience. I wouldn’t hesitate to book him again.”
“Sam Knowles combines science, storytelling, and humour in a perfect way. Our members not only enjoyed listening to his talk but were also eager to participate in his practice session. His input and coaching helped us to become better storytellers. He is also very easy to communicate with.”