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A maestro of corporate creativity

If you’re leading and no-ones following, you're just going for a walk.

David Pearl is an innovator who works in business, the arts and social change.

Current work:

Now he combines his performance background with his boardroom experience to offer clients talks which are highly entertaining, unusually interactive (he can engage even the hardest-nosed crowd) and richly insightful.

In addition to his talks and workshops, client often draw on his skills as an Experience Engineer to design, orchestrate and animate high stakes meetings.

Beyond business, his non-profit venture Street Wisdom transforms ordinary city streets into extraordinary learning zones. Founded just two years ago it’s already active in 30 countries.

Meanwhile David keeps his own performance skills honed in the knife-edge improvised shows of his company Impropera.

Previous experience

Opera: A performing artist by background, he was boy soloist at the Royal Opera House where he first sang with Placido Domingo at the age of 9. He has toured the world as an orchestral player, written for the great Stanley Kubrick, presented a music series on BBC2 and set up two mould-breaking opera companies.

Arts in business: In 1994, when one of the world’s leading service firms was looking for a radical new way to boost creativity they asked for David’s help. He pioneered the use of arts in business in the UK. Two decades on he’s a creative confidante to the leaders of some of the world’s leading businesses helping them and the teams they lead perform at new levels.

Author: His book on the art of meeting, Will There Be Donuts (Harper Collins) was a Times Top Ten Summer Read in 2013. Yes, a book about meetings that was so popular people took to the beach with them! His most recent book, Story for Leaders, explores how leaders can harness the extraordinary power of storytelling to engage whole organisations and, indeed, entire countries.

Talking Points

Author the Future

“If you’re leading and no-ones following, you're just going for a walk”

We’re living through a time when fiction seems more powerful than fact when tales trump truth. Storytelling is a power-tool of leadership but it’s one that can both build and destroy. That’s why it’s more important than ever for leaders to master the art of story; not just telling stories about what happened but creating authentic stories that shape what happens next. In his compelling, accessible talk based on his new book Story for Leaders, David shares the must-have techniques to create a compelling story and deliver it with power. Then he goes further, showing us how story can be used to shape our future, navigate our personal and professional lives and engage others in a shared vision.

It’s a very popular session for anyone that wants to
- engage their team or organisation, particularly in a difficult project
- improve their ability to enrol others
- turn everyday working into meaningful work
- tackle the inertia and routine that often slow down performance
- understand better why their people are resisting change, and what to do about it

David’s keynote can be followed by .5 or full day workshop, especially suited to leadership teams.

Beyond Teamwork: the secrets of high-performance

In this talk, David draws on his lifelong experience of performance (opera, theatre, music, tv, film) to introduce to think about to get the best - not just the most - out of an organisation or team. A key is move beyond the traditional idea of teamwork into ‘ensemble’ a creative working structure that lies at the heart of successful creative companies like Pixar. And which is powering up the game-changing tech start ups. By understanding how to build, maintain and lead ensembles you can harness the creative potential of your people and perform at new levels in a world that’s never been more demanding.

A Cure for the Common Meeting!

“I’m actually a real fan of meetings” says David. “Provided they are done well. Which most aren’t. Really meeting is where problems are solved, relationships are built, business is done and future wealth is generated. So the sooner we stop ‘nearly meeting’ and wasting our time, the better.”

David’s popular and funny book on the art of meeting Will There Be Donuts? is published on three continents. It draws on his work as a “Meeting Doctor” to some of the world’s leading businesses and provides the basis for this engaging, provocative and witty session.

In the talk you will learn to

- assess what ineffective meetings are currently costing you and your company
- turn the meetings that are slowing your business down into a way of revolutionising how you work
- analyse the meeting habits that are causing unhealthy meetings and how to outgrow these habits
- audit your meeting regime and focus on the highest value ones
- transform any meeting into an opportunity to practise your leadership
- harness the latter power of mischief in your organisation to unstick the most stuck meetings
- discover the anatomy that is the basis of all good meeting design
- easily diagnose when a meeting has become unhealthy and the apply the first aid it needs to return it to health

It doesn’t matter how large or small your company; nor your position in it. If you’ve had enough of meeting boredom, irrelevance, time-wasting and tedium - this session is for you.”

Inspiration is Everywhere

In 2015 David founded Street Wisdom, a social venture that teaches people how to use the ordinary city street to find fresh answers to the questions on their minds.Today it’s active in 30 countries around the world with volunteers downloading the instructions and running their own street-based workshops from Buenos Aires to Brisbane. Businesses like Google, Barclays and Lush are increasingly using Street Wisdom’s refreshingly unconventional learning technology as a means of

- solving problems
- building teams
- setting new direction
- observing customer behaviour
- finding new ways to interact with customers

In this talk David shares the techniques behind Street Wisdom and also lessons he’s learning piloting a viral educational start up.

You’ll learn to

- turn the streets around your office into an ‘invisible university’
- access mindfulness on the run
- transform your commute into an opportunity to learn new things
- bust through old thinking and manage stress in a three minute stroll
- turn the street into an alternative office

This talk can be combined with a Street Wisdom demo experience.
David’s ideas have revolutionised the way we meet, interact and speak to each other. If you are looking to increase creativity and decrease inefficiency, this approach can have a radical effect on both. GlaxoSmithKline

It’s incredibly important for the future of our planet that people really meet, really talk and really find solutions together. David’s ideas I can only help

Oxfam GB

In my sixteen years at this company I have not experienced anything as inspiration as the talk you gave.


"Working with David has provided the foundation for us to develop as a leadership team. I think of him as an architect of teams, looking from outside and advising me as the builder on what works best. This has really worked. We are also doing the right meetings in the right way. All in all this investment has helped us be stronger. “

Church and Dwight
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