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Dave Birss

Former Creative Director at McCann Worldgroup, OgilvyOne & Founder & Editor at OpenForIdeas.Org


International Keynote Speaker, Dave Birss helps people and organisations boost their creativity and innovation. Drawing on neuroscience, psychology, biology and behavioural economics. Giving practical tips and useful take-aways.           

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 use it more effectively.

His main role is running and editing Open for Ideas; an online magazine that's dedicated to clarifying creativity and sharing practical advice to help everyone generate ideas more effectively. 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 currently working on a couple of books, a handful of TV series and releases content on an almost daily basis.

Agenda Sessions