David Cropley

Engineer, Innovator, Educator & Keynote Speaker

Dr David Cropley is globally renowned as an expert in engineering who helps people and organisations unleash their creativity to generate new ideas, solve complex problems and add value to products and services in an increasingly challenging world.

Respected as an author, researcher and consultant, his expertise comes from a deep understanding of the psychology of creativity and innovation, complemented by real-world experience in technology and engineering.

David lectures and delivers keynote presentations, and facilitates workshops throughout the world for corporate audiences. Additionally, he speaks at galas and festivals and is regularly called upon in the capacity of on-screen scientific expert and consultant for programs including Todd Samson's Redesign My Brain and Life at 9.

David has authored several books, among them The Psychology of Innovation in Organization; Creativity and Crime?A Psychological Analysis; and Creativity in Engineering: Novel Solutions to Complex Problems. He regularly writes for The Conversation, along with other high profile blogs.

More about Dr David Cropley:

Dr David Cropley is Associate Professor of Engineering Innovation at the University of South Australia. He joined the School of Engineering at the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT) in 1990, after serving for four years in the United Kingdom's Royal Navy, including deployments to the Middle East. Following the establishment of the University in 1991, he completed a PhD in Measurement Systems Engineering in 1997, and a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education?in 2002.

From 2003 until 2007, David was Director of the Systems Engineering and Evaluation Centre (SEEC) at the University, leading a team of engineers specialising in research and education in the field of complex defence systems. In 2007, SEEC was transformed into the larger Defence and Systems Institute (DASI), where he was Deputy Director from 2007 - 2012.

David has taught a variety of courses on engineering, creativity and innovation and has facilitated creative problem-solving workshops for various organisations.

Dr Cropley's research interests lie in the measurement of creativity and innovation in engineering processes and organisations, the role of creativity and innovation in terrorism and crime, and the nexus of creative problem-solving and engineering. He is recognised for his ground-breaking research to identify and measure factors within an organisation that foster innovation.

David is Chief Scientific Officer at 'i2p consulting', a company which uses a tool he developed with the University of South Australia to help organisations improve their innovation.
As well as being successful in academia and business, David is a high achieving sportsperson. A keen rower, he has set two world records in indoor rowing in his age group - in 2010 for a 24-hour tandem row, and in 2012 for a tandem 100km row.

Dr David Cropley speaks about:

Innovation and Creativity - Harnessing creativity, innovation and problem solving in organisations and education, as well as in the areas of technology and engineering.

Education - The design of curriculum and educational programs, and the role of leadership and creativity in these areas.

Sport and Healthy Lifestyles - Finding inspiration in sport as a means of excelling across activities and disciplines, and achieving a healthy work-life balance.

Motivation - The role of a leader in the motivation of teams in high pressure and high performance environments, and in environments where creativity and innovation are expected to flourish. 

Client testimonials

The documentary Redesign My Brain is an award-winning program and had over 1.25 million viewers in Australia, as well as airing in the United States and UK. David played a key role in the success of the program, with his expertise on creativity and innovation.

Mindful Media

Professor David Cropley was engaged by Viterra as guest speaker on Innovation in Agriculture. Having seen David present at a previous function and viewed his work on the ABC’s, Redesign my Brain I was more than comfortable to request David for this particular role. As well as undertaking his own research, David was briefed on the operations of our business and the agricultural sector more broadly using this background to create a strong connection with the attendees. Witty references to David’s time in the military and his international experiences made for interesting listening. David embraced the topic and engaged the audience with his delivery. He worked with the MC to keep the function to time and held the attention of the participants throughout. David is an engaging speaker who is prepared to work closely with the client to ensure the content is relevant. His role as an academic, coupled with his life experiences make him an engaging presenter.


We were very fortunate to be able to secure David’s time for our annual conference. The simple concept he used to help our staff generating and evaluating ideas was easy to understand and execute. The session was interactive and fun. David Cropley’s presentation style was both practical, relaxed and clear. Thank you for spending time at our conference! Having been exposed to his expertise from the engineering world was invaluable to us in the Finance industry – different but relevant.

People's Choice Credit Union 

Associate Professor Cropley delivered a professional and highly engaging talk at the University of South Australia’s Innovation & Collaboration Centre in May 2016.  David was tasked with presenting to a diverse mix of industry sectors representing both large and small enterprises, on the topic of innovation, and how to identify and measure it in your organisation. The feedback received from the audience reflected his ability to deliver the right balance of information which was both informative and entertaining.  David is a real pleasure to work and someone I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

Business School: University of South Australia