Commerce – Richard Tait

Richard Tait – Chief BoomBoom & Inventor of Cranium

Born in Broughty Ferry near Dundee in 1965, Richard Tait spent his formative years in Helensburgh, before leaving for the States in 1987 to make his fame and fortune.

He went to both Hermitage Primary School and then on to Hermitage Academy, where he developed a keen interest in computing. Richard then graduated from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh with an honours degree in computer science.

Richard wished to continue his education by attending Business School but found his opportunities limited in the UK, so he enrolled at Dartmouth, New Hampshire and completed an MBA. He joined Microsoft in 1988 at a time when the Software giant only had 2,400 employees, and was named “Employee of the Year”, from over 34,000 candidates in 1994. During his employment with Microsoft, Richard created more than a dozen new companies for the company.

Then, in 1997, Richard left Microsoft to make board game history.

With co-founder Whit Alexander, Richard created what would become the fastest-selling independent board game in history: Cranium. In a time of technological excess, Cranium’s high touch (versus high tech) approach and mission to give everybody the chance to shine was groundbreaking.

Inc. magazine named the new company “one of the hottest start-ups” in 1999. Two years later, the same magazine dubbed Cranium, Inc. “the smartest little company in America,” and Richard became one of Fortune magazine’s Fast 50.

In the years since, both Cranium and Richard continue to be recognized for excellence. As his company secured the Toy Industry Association (TIA) T.O.T.Y. Game of the Year award an unprecedented five times, Richard was equally renowned for his accomplishments. Deemed one of the “most powerful people in Seattle” by Seattle Magazine, he was twice nominated for the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award and included among Puget Sound Business Journal’s “40 Under Forty.”

A voracious student of passion brands and corporate culture, Richard is equally passionate about sharing his secret sauce for success and is now a regular speaker at leadership events for the world’s top global organisations.

Richard, a Peter Pan at heart and father of three, is a vocal advocate for the power of play. He sparked a national US conversation on the importance of unstructured play with his 2006 PARADE magazine article, “Let’s Play.”

Distinguished worldwide for his maverick approach to creating games, toys and even a corporate culture that gives everybody the chance to shine, Richard is a member of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization Hall of Fame in the U.S., as well as the Entrepreneurial Exchange Hall of Fame in Scotland.

His motto: “Orville Wright did not have a pilot’s license.”

Richard sold Cranium to Hasbro for £39 million in January 2008.

After Cranium, Tait started an innovation lab in Seattle – BoomBoom brands – that created a number of startups ranging from organic beverages (Golazo) to artisanal dried fruit crackers (Simple & Crisp)

In April 2016, Richard was appointed Chief BoomBoom at Starbucks (or first Entrepreneur in Residence) having previously worked with the beverage giant during the company’s transformation, helping guide the evolution of Starbucks food platform in 2008 with the Real Food, Simply Delicious campaign and shaping the health and wellness strategy in 2009 and 2010.

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