Helping people and organisations boost their creativity and innovation.
Dave is obsessed with creativity – what it is, where it comes from, its role in history, its place in our future, what makes some people more creative than others – and this obsession finds its way into almost everything he does. He’s on a mission to shatter the myths and destroy the mystique around the creative process. And on the way, enable more people to harness their untapped creative abilities and help organisations benefit from valuable ideas.
His main role is running RIGHT thinking, which shows organisations a more effective way to generate more effective ideas. The company is based around a thinking system that Dave has developed to help people apply the right kind of thinking at the right time. Hence, the name of the company. He’s helping organisations of all sizes improve their thinking.
Dave is also the founder and editor of Open for Ideas; an online magazine that’s dedicated to clarifying creativity and sharing practical advice to help everyone get better at generating ideas. He’s managed to collect an astounding calibre of contributors from all over the world who look at creativity and innovation from different perspectives.
Dave spent the majority of his career in the world of advertising, both as a copywriter and an art director. He ended up leading the creative departments of some of London’s biggest and best agencies, including Poke, McCann Worldgroup, OgilvyOne and DraftFCB. And he picked up a bunch of awards before he left the industry in 2010.
This experience led to him becoming the Editor at Large for The Drum magazine. During his time there he started Do It Day – an annual event that asks the marketing industry to put their talents to use making the world a better place. He also started up a video production arm, with the first project being a nationally broadcast TV series.
Dave is the author of A User Guide to the Creative Mind. It’s a quick read that describes the creative process and explains how to come up with more ideas. It’s on the recommended reading lists of the world’s top advertising schools. (And you can get it for free by signing up to the Open for Ideas newsletter.)
Over the last few years Dave’s worked with lots of individuals and organisations to help them boost their creativity. That’s not limited to idea-generation techniques and workshops. He also looks at the environment, the processes, the culture, the structure and the recruitment processes – all of which have a massive impact on an organisation’s ability to generate fresh thinking.
Dave’s experience comes from a wide variety of creative careers. A well as being an advertising creative director, he’s been a film director, radio broadcaster, poet, stand-up comedian, session musician, record producer, illustrator and university lecturer.
You may have seen Dave’s face on your TV. He’s an experienced broadcaster, writer and director. In 2015, his 6-part TV series The Day Before Tomorrow was broadcast in the UK. He also presented the world’s first Virtual Reality history show – Secret Spaces. And he’s created numerous online films for himself and others.
He’s recently co-authored a book called Iconic Advantage. It looks at how businesses can use innovation as part of their growth strategy. It’s currently available for pre-order at Amazon.
Dave is currently working on his next book, The Valuable Mind, which proposes a new theory of creativity. It explores what makes some individuals more creatively productive and shows how businesses can encourage creative thinking in the workplace.
He’s also working on a handful of TV series and releases content on an almost daily basis.
some Lesser-known facts about Dave Birss:
- A nude sculpture of Dave was on display for many years at a children’s museum in Glasgow. When Dave went to hunt it down a few years ago, he discovered that the museum had closed. His naked likeness is probably buried in a landfill now.
- Frustrated with didgeridoos only playing in a single key, Dave set about creating one that could play in whatever key a band required. Taking his inspiration from the trombone, he created the tromberidoo – a telescopic didgeridoo that could play a full octave.
- Even although he has no interest in football, Dave created a viral video series, called Fingerskilz, that was the hit of the 2006 World Cup. It attracted several million views in its first 48 hours, breaking the server that hosted it.
- As a session musician, he was known as ‘Dave and his bag of weird shit’. He would turn up with a duffel bag filled with unusual musical contraptions. He played nearly 50 instruments, including slide guitar, harmonica, sitar, rabab, bass, keyboard, mandolin, theremin and diddlybow.
- Dave used to be a graffiti artist. He wrote poems about objects on the street and stuck them up around London. He made pdfs of these stickers available for download on his website. Until he was contacted by the police in Hobart, Tasmania who wanted to talk to him about why his stickers were all over their town.
- Dave spent a weekend creating the world’s most beautiful eggtimer – Just Boil It. He spent a whole afternoon boiling dozens of eggs with his daughter. All so he could create an online timer that was like seeing inside the egg as it cooks.
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