Another interesting day in SD but not in the way perhaps the agenda imagined. First up was an cute little case study about XS energy drinks and disruption of market norms in a crowded category. Whilst the thinking wasn’t particularly revolutionary, what is useful is to hear the practical story of what to do to make the thinking happen – all too often we stop short, with a handful of theory and no practical use for it.
Things less interesting on the mainstage for my tastes subsequently but the afternoon’s breakouts again the hotspot for me. Did a repeat of mine which continued to be loud and raucus (one of my messages is that we’re in the circus business not in healthcare so we should enjoy it), much to Rob and Adrian’s amusement next door. Think I know understand what I wanted to say and would be happy to do it all again tomorrow.
Then caught Gareth and Mark‘s piece on the 7 deadly sins of the modern planner. They know their stuff really well and put it across in an engaging stylee and I buy what they say entirely: our assumptions about how things work are wrong and this is leading us to unhelpful and downright irrelevant processes and practices. In place of these false assumptions, they encourage us to really focus on complexity and doing lots of little things.
That said, I sensed that some of the more interesting (to me?) evidence to support their argument is less interesting to the audience they had today than it is to them, but that doesn’t mean it should be packed away. Maybe you have to give the impression you’ve done your homework…?(Which I know they have). As Mark later put it, “perhaps we need to break down into a few headlines of what you DO differently”.
But there was some Blackadder Goes Forth which is always nice (preens Melchitt moustache and purrs in a Stephen Fry manner)
Afterwords got into a really interesting conversation/debate with Mark and Jason Oke about the consilience in the industry right now which was so absorbing that I missed the Axe Click case study entirely (although having judged it, I am already a big fan (more tomorrow maybe, when they announce the Jay Chiat Award results…) and think it should be richly rewarded.
Less interest it much be said in the Liveearth piece at the end of the day. Not quite sure what we were supposed to engage with here. More useful and valuable as ever were the human interactions (not just with Jason and Mark) but with old chums like Tash who’s a founding partner in Another Anomaly or Saipele whose initial planning footsteps I witnessed (what is the man from the UK’s ITV doing in San Diego?) or Luc (sorry, I promise to come over to Paris before next year…)
Along the way, I also managed to sell a few Herd books (my publisher has sent a few over here which I am keen to not return to the Uk with) and there are a few more here left.
Stop me and buy one, as the ice cream ads used to say