Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Dave Harrison, Founder, Spicerack

Dave Harrison is Founder at digital agency Spicerack. He joined seminal global digital agency Profero in 1998. Dave was a panelist for the IAB, a member of the IPA’s Creative Directors’ Forum and a judge for the Guardian’s Creative Showcase. In 2010, he launched digital creative agency Spicerack in 2010, based in Bristol.

Who is your digital hero?

Without doubt Richard Townsend, Head of Digital at Starcom MediaVest many moons ago. He founded the interactive educational business Circus Street, which was bought by QA Ltd where he is now CEO of their Workforce Learning division.

What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?

Although Rich and I have both worked in digital media for over 25 years, and almost certainly attended the same new meeja parties, we didn’t meet until about 2008. The success of Circus Street is a heroic achievement.

I watched Rich and his partner/brother Jonny grow it from a few people in a shared working space, to a global operation – within 10 years. Having set up my agency the same year, a small operation in comparison, what he’s achieved blows my mind.

How has his heroism helped drive digital?

I don’t think Rich wants to be seen as a hero. However, the Circus Street concept was both innovative and creative, and hasn’t deviated from its original brilliance.

Rich combined his extensive experience in digital marketing with technology and education, to create a unique formula for interactive lessons that keeps on giving. The number of people whose careers in digital have been driven by Circus Street lessons is fairly heroic in my eyes.

What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

Very many! But I chose Rich as my digital hero, so let’s continue with the theme of online learning.

Digital platforms have proven their ability to democratise education by providing access to quality learning resources for people around the world. Promoting digital literacy skills is now more crucial than ever to empower individuals in this increasingly complex modern age, and simply to bridge the digital divide.

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

Oh, there are so many! (Joke) I’m very proud of Spicerack’s award-winning apprenticeship programme, but I can’t take all the credit for that.

I guess I’m just proud of setting up a digital agency that’s still around after 14 years, and still innovating. It’s a big leap to set up your own show. Who told me I should do it? None other than my digital hero, Mr Richard Townsend.