Ben Davis – UberBoomer

Ben is officially a baby boomer (b 1960) born in Sacramento, California and reared in Boston, Massachusetts. He was in the graduating class of 1978 at Copley Square High School. He attended U.C. Berkeley where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1984 with a major in Political Science, and as he says, “drinking and thinking.” Also, according to Ben, he was “a B-ball gym rat.” From 1986 to 1994, Ben worked as the Public Information Manager on the $4 billion Boston Harbor Cleanup Project. In August of 1995, Ben founded a creative agency based in San Francisco called Words Pictures Ideas.

I personally met Ben, when he designed projects for the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation in Menlo Park and I was fortunate to be able to work with him there. The new foundation president was transforming a grassroots community-based foundation into a health policy think tank. Ben brought his unique vision to assist them in crafting this new identity.

He gradually expanded by adding a passionate group of creative professionals who get personal and collective satisfaction working on projects that matter in the real world. You won’t find them selling soda or toothpaste. (Not that they’re judging.) But you will find them giving their all to projects that leave a positive lasting mark on the world. Better transit. Improved public safety. Bridging cultural divides. Enhanced public health.

Over the past half-decade, Ben’s small, passion-driven firm has named and created the visual identities for more than $15 billion in civic and private mega-projects – and had fun while doing it. As Ben says, “We love what we do because we do what we love.” Being small keeps them focused, cost-effective and flexible. Their willingness to turn on a dime, to constantly be innovating, to openly abandon failed ideas while doubling their efforts on successful ones, equals a fierce and nimble determination to succeed. Ben says he and his team have been and continue to be honored to work on amazing social and civic projects, provide solid advice, inspire ideas and powerful design, which typically result in a creative outreach online or in print.

It seems Ben has moved towards his “second act” as the Board Chair, Illuminate the Arts on behalf of THE BAY LIGHTS team. Additionally, he is the founder of Joinless, the world’s first open source brand based on the idea that we shouldn’t allow our obsession with possessions rule us. Read more here: Interview: We Talk to Joinless Founder Ben Davis About How Buying Less Crap Can Make Us Happier | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World. His second act also includes unleashing his artist-persona, ISHKY, whose first major public artwork has been accepted as part of the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial.

Ben’s credo is Do Good. Have Fun. Learn. Make a Living. All of which he does while he enjoys the San Francisco nightlife, marathon biking (to burn off all those fine wining and dining calories) and the company of his many equally talented friends. Ben’s in a relationship and is the father of a sensationally talented horsewoman, Haley. Haley is a graduate of International High School in San Francisco and is an undergraduate student at U.C. Santa Barbara.

Ben says his philosophy is pretty basic – “Some believe in God. I believe in Good.” Ben says his political views are “left of America, right of San Francisco.” His favorite quotation: At the moment of commitment the entire world conspires to ensure your success. —Goethe (but spoken to him by the amazing Norman Lear).

Innovation is a hallmark of the revolutionary baby boomer generation and a particular passion at Bette Boomer. We will follow Ben as he continues to make smart public, private, and personal investments in projects that benefit all of us and the next generation. Personally, it will be fun to watch Ben spinning ideas, as he continues to create magic and bring out more brilliance.

Want to talk to this phenomenal uberboomer? Contact him at ben@wordspicturesideas.com

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