Despite his creative inclinations, Craig Davis deviated into law and finance before course correcting to the creative industries. He started his own advertising agency after graduating from AWARD School, moved to Asia a few years later and went on to make Saatchi & Saatchi the most creative network in the region. Next stop London where he supercharged J Walter Thompson's 10,000 strong network as Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide.
In a truly international career Craig has helped clients develop and launch broadband services, software and soft drinks, banking and payment services, beer, cosmetics, foods, cars, devices and not-for-profit organisations. He has also initiated and led cultural change programmes building engagement and elevating the standard of creative thinking across two separate agency networks.
Craig has worked with many of the world's best known companies including P&G, HSBC, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Shell, Nokia, Sony, Bank of China, Toyota, Kraft, Ford, Vodafone and Diageo. In the process he's won innumerable awards, been a juror at every major international advertising show, been President of the Cannes Festival, Spikes Asia, AdFest and led the D&AD Integrated and Earned media jury. Craig also Chaired YouTube's recent global initiative to unite the world's creative community with non-profit organisations called 'Good Work'.
He loves speaking and has given enough keynotes on creativity and innovation to cramp a Macbook Pro, everywhere from the World Export Development Forum in Geneva to the Club de Creacion in Sao Paulo. He has also been invited to speak at Cannes four times, AdTech, UTS, QUT and his wife's 40th.
Craig is Adjunct Professor at UTS and sits on the Boards of Advance, the Creative Industries Taskforce and Conscious Capitalism Australia. Craig has also served as Co-Chairman and Chief Creative Officer for Publicis Mojo in Australia, Chairman of the Australasian Writers and Art Directors Club and Deputy Chair of The Communications Council.
In 2014 he co-founded Sendle - Australia's first 100% Carbon Neutral Delivery Service. He blogs and tweets, and has wrote the most popular column for Campaign Asia-Pacific for several years running.
He also happens to be the fastest Australian to run a marathon at the North Pole.
Client Comments for Craig Davis
- On behalf of Beef Australia, the Seminars Committee and all the attendees of the Beef Industry Symposium I would like to convey my sincere thanks for your presentation "Mind the Gap: Why we may not be the food bowl of Asia".
Your talk was incrediBULL and it was enjoyaBULL to work with you (I'm not finished with the beef puns just yet!!!).
The breadth and depth of topics covered by our Symposium speakers has generated great debate and levels of media hype never seen before for a ‘rural' event.
Beef Australia hosted the Beef Industry Symposium and 27 seminars incorporating 155 speakers and attracting over 4,017 attendees across four and half days and three venues.
This amazing feat could not happen without the commitment of amazing speakers such as yourself who gave up their valuable time to travel to Rockhampton. It was no mean feat to get here and we truly appreciate and acknowledge your efforts.
Thank you again.
Beef Australia Ltd
- What an amazing speaker! He made innovation and creativity something that even the most sceptical person in the room listen and learn. His ability to get the heart of what innovation is and how we are innately creative really helped shape the conversation for the rest of day two. We had to turn people away from his breakout as he had a full house!!
KPMG Australian Partners' Conference
- Craig gave an excellent presentation - he was witty, engaging, and very motivational. Made me think about improvements in my own business.
Recruitment & Consulting Services Association NSW/ACT Region
- Craig was an engaging speaker and effectively used multimedia to emphasise his points. His content and delivery was very interesting and relevant to the industry.
Recruitment & Consulting Services Association NSW/ACT Region
- Craig was keynote speaker at Green Cities 2015 and was the perfect inspirational closing to Day 1 of our conference. Craig provided fresh-thinking about the future of industry and how we're all more deeply inter-connected than ever before. He highlighted the shift in consumer expectations – that people don't buy what we do, people buy WHY we do what we do. There is a greater need for purpose and an awareness of and sensitivity to humanity. "What is the point of having sustainable buildings if the people aren't?" he asked. He spoke of the need to "shift from a hierarchy to a network" – and highlighted the value that can be created from greater collaboration. There is no doubt Craig made a powerful impact on our delegates an I would highly recommend him to any business looking for insights on conscious capitalism.
Green Building Council Australia
- Craig Davis is an exceptional speaker. It's not often you get professional speakers who are so prepared to research and tailor their presentation to the exact needs of the conference - but on the two occasions we've used Craig Davis (and we've already booked him again for another client) we have seen exactly that – and the crowd is just so appreciative. Not only is Craig prepared to put the time in to his presentation to make it relevant for industry, he presents his challenges in a manner that is just so engaging. Craig has ranked 'most favourite speaker' both times we've used him.
Esther Price Promotions
- As a creative director Craig Davis was awesome. Took JWT Worldwide from ninth in The Gunn Report's Table for Agency Networks to fourth in one year. He is a lovely writer - one of the best in our business, and certainly one of the best brains in our business. As for Craig as a speaker, I remember one year we were on the same bill at GoaFest in India. And Craig was on right before me. As he spoke with supreme ease and panache with the audience eating out of his hand, my confidence drained. I felt awful.
The Gunn Report
- I've seen Craig do his thing in Cannes, Asia and Australia. He is one of the most inspiring and thought provoking speakers out there. Craig's also got the credentials to back up the words. In Asia he changed the entire culture of the Saatchi & Saatchi network, leading it from an under performing one to the most creative across the region.
Campaign Brief Asia
- At Lions Festivals we have 300 seminars a year from around the globe - thought leaders, film stars, politicians, musicians, entertainers and authors. It speaks for itself when I say that Craig has been invited to speak at our festivals on four separate occasions.
- We are very lucky to have Craig Davis on the Board of Directors to support the strategic growth of out global innovation and thought leadership programs, which we have hosted in Australia, China, India, the US and beyond. Craig is an inspiring, creative leader and thinker whose deep care for society and whose progressive ideas have the potential to change the world.
- Craig was the perfect speaker to open our Agile Leader executive education program. He understands and encapsulates in an entertaining and thought provoking way the present and the potential future. He made our senior business audience laugh, consider and engage in trends such as social media, the digital era, the importance of customer engagement which set the tone and pace for the next three days. He isn't a way out futurist, more a present-er - he uses trends and information to describe and imagine what our near future looks like, enabling us to think creatively about the wicked problems of today - which is far more useful and applied to our work.
University of Technology Sydney, Executive Development Unit
- One of the world's most respected creative leaders, Craig is an acutely insightful, compelling and charismatic speaker. And generous! Craig is unstinting in the way he shares his deep knowledge of creative leadership, innovation and (social) entrepreneurship with audiences and communities. Rare qualities indeed.
X Media Lab
- I've not experienced Craig speaking, but I experienced his fresh thinking while crafting a differentiating culture, meaning and motivation for JWT. Love to have him lecture at the Berlin School, the school he has helped develop.
Berlin School of Creative Leadership
- The Creative3 forum bridges the gap between creativity and commerciality to provide the inspiration and tools to build a successful creative business. Craig's engaging, motivating and thought-provoking presentation spanned both these worlds conveying the value of creativity to improve business productivity. Craig has a natural gift for communication, with a charismatic style which resonated so well with our audience and speakers that two years later delegates are still talking about his keynote's impact and meaning. Building that type of audience connection is definitely an art which Craig has skilfully mastered.
QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, Creative3 forum
- Craig hit JWT like a whirlwind, his energy and enthusiasm were infectious and helped drive huge change within the business. Craig has the ability to stand on any stage and captivate any audience, from the most junior creative person to the most senior of clients. His knowledge of marketing is second to none. He is an outstanding leader, respected industry commentator and someone who took the leap to digital world early in his career. I'd go out of my way to hear Craig speak.
- Craig is a fantastic and engaging speaker, with the ability to read audiences of all levels and provide an entertaining, meaningful, professional and thought provoking exchange. I recommend Craig as a great resource on the topics of creativity and design thinking.
Senior Manager Business Innovation, KPMG
- The Future Looks Human
- Happy Business. Pull the Other One.
- Waking up to Conscious Capitalism
- You Are More Creative Than You Know
- What's the point of sustainable buildings (read cities), if the people in them aren't?
- Brand Australia. Where the bloody hell are you?
- Mindful Leadership
Topic SynopsesThe Future Looks Human
I'm a big believer in the power of technology to disrupt, disintermediate and radically reshape markets. Just look at the music, film, news, travel, investment and recruiting industries to point to just a handful of examples. But I believe in humanity more. I believe that the biggest leaps in productivity, creativity and innovation in the immediate future will come from harnessing the human potential of organisations.
It comes down to nurturing three uniquely human capabilities:
Trust. A quick look at the Global Trust Barometer, an annual survey of around 30,000 people in 33 markets including Australia, shows that the number one driver of trust in business is the ability to 'listen to customers”. Listening, aided and abetted by technology, is very much a human skill.
Empathy. So too is the ability to empathise. The capacity to put yourself in someone else's shoes - a client, customer, employee, supplier, prospect or investor - is the starting point for genuine innovation. In fact, it's the first phase of Design Thinking, an innovation process taught at Stanford and other leading universities (including UTS here in Sydney that I'm involved with).
Consciousness. People are smarter, looking for meaning and purpose, better connected and more “aware” that any previous cohort on the planet. They don't buy into business as usual and they're suspicious of the usual corporate rhetoric (like CSR). These are the people you need to engage in and around your business, which is where the four tenets of “conscious” business kick in.
Happy Business. Pull the Other One.
Happy business may sound like a massive oxymoron so prepare to be surprised.
The future is not about technology, it's about humanity. Yet businesses consistently lose sight of their customers and employees. People are disengaged with business as usual - they just don’t care. Worse, it's making them unhappy. But what if we could turn that around, wouldn't that be truly transformational?
In a world characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, there are four bright lights to navigate the new reality showing the way to a happier, healthier future for businesses.
What do they mean for the future of recruitment and how can you reinvent your business to make the most of them?
International business expert and entrepreneur Craig Davis has helped clients develop and launch broadband services, software and soft drinks, banking and payment services, beer, cosmetics, foods, cars, mobile devices and not-for-profit organisations. Hailing originally from Dubbo NSW, this country boy at heart has lived and worked all over the world and draws on his international experiences to show you a different kind of future.
The Happy Business Workshop
How do you make your business happier, healthier and more successful? More successful by a factor of 10.5!
This interactive workshop gets your brains busy, your hearts engaged and your hands dirty working on your own business. It will help you rethink and reframe your business as of now.
Using simple principles and practices, and examples from the real world, you'll emerge with a new approach to your business that you can take back to work and begin to apply immediately.
Waking up to Conscious Capitalism
Capitalism is the greatest operating system for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship ever invented. But business as usual is broken.
Growth is hard to find and profitability is elusive. The challenges are mounting as we find ourselves running ever faster on the hamster wheel. Your people are 54% exhausted, 22% overwhelmed and 10-20% depressed. They might be turning up to work, but they're not really present.
The world is changing faster than your thinking. So how do you go about building a successful and sustainable business in the 21st century? How do you outperform the market significantly and reliably?
Conscious Capitalism is a new way to think about, lead and operate your business in the face of mounting complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty. It's proving to be far more creative, resilient and financially rewarding than old-world models.
More importantly it's changing the way we think about business to include emotional, physical, environmental, social and spiritual value.
In this Keynote you'll discover a happier, healthier more fulfilling approach to business. You'll be introduced to the competitive context for Conscious Capitalism and the four tenets of this new business movement. And you'll learn about some of the companies (many of them in the S&P 500) already practicing these principles with some cold hard facts about their success.
When the considerable advantages of Conscious Capitalism strike home you'll want to know where to start.
This Masterclass takes you through the building blocks of Conscious Capitalism in a simple, practical format that you can apply directly to your business.
Craig examines the impact of purpose on stakeholders and provide you with a framework and examples to help you discover the true purpose and values of your business. He looks at stakeholder models and ways of developing your systems thinking using real-world examples. And he spends time examining the contribution of leadership and culture to Conscious Capitalism.
Ten reasons to get involved
1. Discover a new way to imagine your business;
2. Find out why you need a purpose beyond profit;
3. Learn how to redefine the path to success;
4. Start building a new engagement model;
5. Equip yourself with left and right brain reasons for change;
6. Stop toxic behaviors you don't even see;
7. Learn why conscious capitalism is not CSR;
8. Develop your agility and flexibility;
9. Boost your creative capability; and
10. Make your investors happier.
Who should sign up for the Keynote and Masterclass?
Business leaders, entrepreneurs, senior executives and government officials who are discontent with the status quo and optimistic about a brighter future for business.
Craig believe all businesses have massive reserves of untapped potential and the ability to create new and enduring value. Waking up to Conscious Capitalism will help you get there.
You Are More Creative Than You Know
Creativity used to be a silly word in business. It was a good word to use if you wanted to blow yourself up in a boardroom, not get invited into one. But creativity is the new black. It's the key to building engagement and unlocking growth through innovation.
Creativity is a force for good, creativity changes the world we live in and creativity powers progress.
'Human creativity, partly individual but mostly collaborative and cumulative, is at the root of all economic progress' - Deirdre McCloskey.
Creativity is the most important resource in your business, it's remarkable and it's renewable. In an era of rapidly increasing complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty and the acceleration of everything, creativity has never been so valuable.
Craig believes that everyone has creative abilities and everyone can become more creative. They're not God-given gifts or mysteries, they're skills. And like all skills, they get better with coaching and practice.
When you understand that creativity is a conscious process, problems, opportunities and challenges look very different. This Masterclass teaches that curiosity, empathy, imagination and experimentation lie at the heart of creativity and innovation.
The programme immerses you in a simple, proven approach to developing your personal Creative Quotient and throws you in the deep end with the disciplines of Design Thinking and Agile Development as methods for innovation.
This inspiring, challenging and practical programme will re-stoke your creative fire and equip you with tools and practices to step-change the way you work and lead your organisation.
10 reasons to get involved
1. Rediscover your right brain to become a better balanced, more agile leader;
2. Future proof yourself with new, life-long skills;
3. Change the way you look at change;
4. Build your core creative strength;
5. Learn where ideas come from and how to get there;
6. Radically improve your creative confidence;
7. Learn why creativity and innovation are part of a conscious processes;
8. Practice proven methods for developing creativity and innovation;
9. Immerse yourself in Design Thinking with 'hands on', kinetic learning; and
10. Develop teachable skills to take away with you.
Who should sign up for the keynote and masterclass?
Every child is born creative. But we are taught out of our creative abilities and schooled in left-brain, rational, linear and reductionist thinking. In the age of the acceleration of everything, rediscovering and developing your creativity has never been more necessary or more desirable in your career and your life.
This programme is designed for senior executives, team leaders and entrepreneurs from all industry sectors and government who want to radically improve their creative abilities, collaboration skills, career prospects and success rates in a world of accelerating change.
What's the point of sustainable buildings (read cities), if the people in them aren't?
Don’t forget the little people.
Ask most working stiffs what they love about their work and they’ll quickly get to “people.” Ask them what they find most challenging about their work and “people” come up again. When you ask CEOs what’s troubling them they say “people' too. People, it seems, are the best and the worst of business, both hugely positive and deeply problematic. While we’re busy designing and developing buildings for people to work in, most of those people just don’t care about their work. For every person who is fully engaged, there are two and a half who are actively sabotaging their best efforts, and six who are off with the Pixies (Gallup).
It’s not that these people are failing business, business is failing them. The fixation on profits and productivity has become thoroughly dehumanising in the workplace. Add to that the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of business, and the acceleration of everything, and we have a cohort of SADDOs (pronounced sad-ohs) - people who are Stressed, Anxious, Depressed, Disengaged and Overwhelmed. They’re not about to get more productive, creative or innovative any time soon.
But here’s the big opportunity. These same people are smarter, looking for meaning, better connected and more conscious than any other cohort in history. They’re craving purpose, community, culture and authentic leadership. They want to be fully human. And the biggest gains to be realised in productivity, creativity and innovation lie in connecting people on a holistic human level.
What does this mean for architects, developers and managers? How do you introduce ideals, values and experiences to re-humanise buildings/cities? It’s all the little people that hold the key to prosperity and success.