UCD Innovation Academy remembers David Price, OBE, who sadly died this month. David was a leader in the field of education innovation. He was a learning futurist who advocated on some of the biggest challenges facing education, economies and society. He worked with people and organisations of all kinds, enabling them to learn, innovate and make themselves fit for the future. David authored two best-selling books, Open: How We’ll Work, Live And Learn In The Future, and The Power Of Us: How We Connect, Act, And Innovate Together.

We feel lucky to have counted David as a friend and ally of UCD Innovation Academy. David was caring, passionate and curious. He helped educators find their purpose and helped UCD Innovation Academy become the organisation it is today. 

David’s own learning journey exemplified the opportunity he sought to create for other learners. He took up a successful music career after leaving school, in his words “avoiding the ‘shipyards or pits’ choice for those “non-academic” students living in 1960s Jarrow” in the North of England. At the age of 28, he stepped back into formal education, getting a place on a performing arts degree, gaining, he said to his surprise, a first-class honours. So began his career in education. 

David was director of learning for the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, sponsored by Paul McCartney, and after that led multiple initiatives to re-engage learners and reignite educators. In 2009 he was awarded an OBE for his services to education. His work in transforming education brought him to Australia, New Zealand, the US, India, China, Kathmandu, South Africa, Brazil, all across Europe, and luckily for us, Ireland. 

Many of our alumni will have fond memories of David and his lively and thought provoking contributions.  David transformed educators who went on to transform their own classrooms and learners wherever they may be. Tens of thousands of children around the world have enjoyed transformative and positive learning experiences because of the work of David Price.

He opened our eyes, moved our hearts and helped us find our tribe. 

We at UCD Innovation Academy are so grateful to have known David. His work will live on for many years to come.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

From Alan Morgan

I first met David in 2016 when I was invited to attend a talk which David was giving at the UCD Innovation Academy on how we’ll work, live and learn in the future based on his 2013 book ‘OPEN’. I remember saying to myself “who is this guy”? I  was simply mesmerised by his knowledge and vision for the future. I had been given a copy of David’s book OPEN as a gift earlier that year so I brought it along with me and after his talk he signed it. While signing the book he asked me my name, I told him, he signed it and said to me “you look like a good guy”, I replied to David saying…., “you ARE one of the good guys David” – I didn’t know at that time, but that moment was the start of a wonderful friendship.

We did not meet again until 2019 when I was then working at The UCD Innovation Academy. It was at this time that we began to work closely together on developing the Entrepreneurial Educators Programme which I was, and still am, Programme Director for. From 2019 until this year, David has made a huge contribution to this programme and touched the lives of all educators who have gone through the modules which David helped design and facilitate. A fond memory from working online with David is when we started the class and I introduced David, he always turned his camera to point out the window to show the class where he was in the world – North Rigton, Yorkshire – and he then talked fondly about his beloved Yorkshire countryside. David’s keynote addresses at our Festival of Education were both provocative and legendary, he loved to be controversial and always threw in a few ‘bombs’ into his talks. 

David was a person who was generous and thoughtful – he shared his vast knowledge openly. He shared his contacts and introduced me to education professionals around the world. He was a busy man and always someone in demand, but I always felt he made special time for myself and my colleagues at the Innovation Academy.

To me, David was a friend who cared and he was one of those persons you meet who leaves an indelible mark on your life and work. From the first day we met in 2016, David has been an inspirational figure in my life. 

Thank you David – the world is a lesser place without you and I will miss you,