Thursday, May 29, 2014

Just a Typical Kiwi Breakfast

Image source: youtube.com

Want to know what makes the All Blacks the most successful international team in existence? It’s the legend. It’s the idea that when you pull on that black jersey you have a duty to uphold the dynasty forged by generations gone by. It’s what inspires the next generation. Like 10-year-old Bailey Paki, who’s drawn up a 16-year plan to win a Rugby World Cup. He’s intent on joining the legend. So we decided to help keep his dream alive.

In our latest campaign for Weet-Bix, Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand teamed up with All Blacks’ captain Richie McCaw and a few teammates to give Bailey the surprise of his life. Pretty sure the last thing a 10-year-old expects when he rocks out of bed in the morning is to find some All Blacks at his kitchen table.

If you’ve never heard of the term ‘laidback Kiwi’ then you’ll get a fair idea it’s a trait bred young. Bailey’s reaction is the classic disbelief, followed by ‘keep it cool’.

But you know as he runs around with his mates in his newly developed backyard field that it’s a moment he’ll never forget. It’s a moment that will cement his desire to be an All Black. It’s more than a memory for Bailey. It’s a reminder that Nothing Is Impossible. He’s got a plan. His plan to achieve greatness. His plan is to win.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

World of Business Ideas

Image source: abc.net.au

I’m in Sydney Australia speaking at the World Business Forum on Creative Leadership. WOBI – for World of Business Ideas – is a superb organization which choreographs business events around the world. I have been part of their faculty for several years and this is the first time they have been in Sydney. Others onstage include Michael Porter, John Howard, Randi Zuckerberg, Gary Hamel and Ram Charam. As part of being the top show in town this week there is an extensive media program and yesterday I was on ABC with Ticky Fullerton to talk about ideas, loyalty, Lovemarks, the speed of consumer communications and some anecdotal history about Saatchi & Saatchi.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

When We Are No More, Our Songs Will Still be Sung


A post from my old Canadian rugby mate Robin Dyke.


In sports as in football, anything is possible. This we have learned quickly as we talk to Croatians along our cycle route – their national team prepares for the June 12 opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, against who other than the host and football legend. Already Croatian flags stream from vehicles and banners of red and white checkered squares festoon streets and bars. Collectively Croatians will gather in front of large and small screens in the towns and villages throughout their country for this opening match. Passion runs high with anticipation…the unthinkable is more than possible!

This is not an every four year phenomena in this small country. Football pervades, as does sense of place, love for the land, the sea, family, freedom and the old songs that keep longing and tradition alive. In any town or village a pitch be it grass or dirt and pair of goals is as ubiquitous as a stone church. Boys and girls learn to dribble, pass and shoot the round ball as early as they do their catechisms. How football, as well as God explains the world is all part of their ritual of life.

While footballs are kicked about throughout Croatia there are but a few big clubs, representative of the few big cities, Zagreb, Rijeka, Split. The most storied Club is from Split, “Hajduk”, formed in the early 1900s, named to symbolize bravery, humanity and love of freedom – all lived up to over the past century and more as states and leagues have failed yet “Hajduk lives forever”.

This spirit of Hajduk runs deep in the towns and villages of the Dalmatian region, displayed in prominent signage – the distinctive Hajduk crest or logo accompanied with philosophic one–liners that convey more of the pursuit of life and love than homage to a round ball. Entering into a village we come across a Hajduk logo painted on the rock accompanied by ‘ti si pjesma moje duše’ – “you are the song of my soul”. These signs of crest and variations on messages appear outside of most of the towns and villages we have cycled by or through. We have come to look for them as refreshment for our peddling, reminders of a commitment to life.

The favourite we have come across this trip for the sentiments it echoes of those who have come before and to a torch being passed, appears on a sea wall in the small hamlet of Drvenik. ‘I onda kad ne bude nas bilo pivat će se pisme naše.’ – “when we are no more, our songs will still be sung”. As we relax seaside with cold pivos (beers), the rewards for a long day’s ride, this sentiment is within our view along with the turquoise Adriatic – reflection and inspiration doesn’t get better than this. Živjeli!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Inspiring Creativity

Image source: vimeo.com

What is creativity? What inspires it? The beauty about creativity and inspiration, is that there is no definitive answer. You can’t demand one either. Ideas are a natural fusion of mind, soul and our environment. You can be inspired anywhere, by anyone or anything.

A striking new short film – created by the cultural diplomacy organization Liberatum founded by Indian-born impresario and festival curator Pablo Ganguli and presented by illy, an esteemed Saatchi & Saatchi client in Italy – shows creativity is built on individuality and so much is determined by our own state of mind. Directors Ganguli and Tomas Auksas have captured it perfectly, catching revelations from the minds of 20 creative heroes, including the likes of actor James Franco, artist Tracey Emin and composer Hans Zimmer. Here are some of my favourite quotes:

• The first thing the human being wants to do is create…it’s within all of us. You could argue the meaning of life is to create – Karim Rashid, architect & designer
• Most of us don’t know how to ask a question. Most of us don’t see the root of the word is quest. Most of us don’t have a quest in our life – Richard Saul Wurman, TED founder
• You go through your formative years at school where everyone’s trying to knock the creativity out of you. It takes some stubbornness for creativity to survive – Hans Zimmer, composer
• True creativity comes from restriction and limitation – Paul Schroder, screenwriter
• Poverty, humor, hunger, sex, death…Creativity is your spirit, your heart – Lee Daniels, writer, director, producer
• I like the idea of artists responding to the times they live in…All artists have to be slightly compulsive, or slightly delusional – Marilyn Minter, artist
• Actively seeking our relationships, conversations, nature; appreciating architecture; museums, music, dreams – Mark Romanek, filmmaker
• Almost always you’ll find happiness is about community – Moby, songwriter & musician
• All of those schools that promote creativity, I would like to ban you to some distant island. Why don’t you just paint, or make films, or sing, or play music – Jonas Mekas, filmmaker

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Good Advice from Bad People

Image source: Amazon

How can you walk away from a book with a title like Good Advice from Bad People: Selected Wisdom from Murderers, Stock Swindlers, and Lance Armstrong? The title is so contradictory that it perplexes the mind and triggers curiosity. What beneficial advice could one possibly take from O.J. Simpson? We have been trained to only take advice from ‘good’ successful people that to do the contrary seems downright scandalous.

They say that “nobody’s perfect” and the characters in Zac Bissonnette’s new book fit the bill. These are stories of some of the most infamous CEOs, heroes and tycoons who have fallen from grace. People who were talking the big game – and lying and making bad decisions. Some criminal.

There are some gems. Once you get your head around the contradictions between the “talk” and the “walk”, you’ll be intrigued by the wisdom and insight delivered by some of the most well-known and newsworthy individuals of our time. If only they followed their own advice.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Exporting Ideas To The World

Image source: flickr.com

It comes as no surprise to me that the ideas economy is showing the most growth in terms of global exports, as reported in a new study from McKinsey & Co. Traditionally we’ve associated exports with physical goods, but in this Digital Age creativity and innovation are proving to be good earners.

As the New York Times has noted, in the services sector the sharpest growth from 2002 to 2012 was in international trade of knowledge-intensive services. Think engineering, consultancy, IP, computer programming and even marketing. This trend isn’t going to change anytime soon either. Unlike the trade in commodities and consumer goods, which face tariffs and any other number of issues related to border control, the transmission of ideas require nothing more than the Internet or telephone. The faster the connection, the more seamless the transaction.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A World of Difference

Image Source: argentinaindependent.com

There are remarkable differences in the world’s countries. A quick way to get your head around the variation is with the creative and colorful use of maps.

Maps can answer all kind of questions in a glance:
  • Where are people the smartest?
  • What’s that country’s flag?
  • Who gets good paid paternity leave?
  • How does population density differ?
  • Where are foreigners welcome – and not?
  • Where is freedom of the press good and bad?
  • Where is there a lot of or little green vegetation?  
  • Who drank all the coffee?
  • Where’s that country again?
Find the answers here, and click the maps for a closer look.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Making Moscow A Better Place

Image Museum of Architecture campaign: Saatchi Russia

Moscow is an extraordinary place filled with history and culture. Like any major city it also has its fair share of challenges. During my last visit in 2012 I issued a simple challenge to our people at Saatchi & Saatchi Moscow: Make the city a better place. What a surprise it was then last week when I received a note from Alex Shifrin, Managing Director at the Agency, with some great news – our team in Moscow had taken up the challenge and wanted to share their progress.
What are they doing?

• Improving the daily commute. The team has developed a new visual identity system for Moscow’s public transport system. This includes the subway, trams, trolleys, busses, cycle paths, pedestrian zones, river transport and above-ground rail lines. Interiors, tickets, uniforms and signage are being re-designed for a more intelligent and enjoyable experience. This will hopefully get more people out of cars and off congested city streets.

• Getting more people into libraries. I can’t wait to see the results of this in June when Moscow’s public libraries will be ready to rock. Well-designed libraries become places of learning and community. Why should Starbucks be the most famous ‘third-place’?

What have they done?

• Kept Moscow’s State Museum of Architecture alive. The museum was on the verge of losing federal funding, and all it took was a brilliant online and print campaign that went viral. Patronage returned. Funding saved.

This is what it means to ‘be the change you want to see in the world’. Well done Saatchi & Saatchi Moscow.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Jerry Maguire Effect

Image source: thecargoagency.com

You know that line “You had me at ‘hello’” from the movie Jerry Maguire? Researchers from the University of Glasgow have found that we really do begin to form an impression of a person’s personality from the first word we hear them utter.

The phenomenon, dubbed “The Jerry Maguire effect”, is based on a study that recorded 64 men and women reading a paragraph that included the word ‘hello’. The ‘hellos’ were then extracted and 320 people listened and rated their first impression of the person based on 10 personality traits, including trustworthiness, aggressiveness, confidence, dominance and warmth.

Participants largely agreed on which voice matched which personality. A man with a higher pitched voice, more closely matching a female’s voice, was considered the most trustworthy voice. A gentleman with a low voice was considered the least trustworthy. It’s slightly different for women who were considered more trustworthy if their voice raised or fell at the end of the word. The deeper the voice the more dominant they seemed.

The ability to instantly judge a person based on their voice appears to be an inane trait of mammals. Jody Kreiman, a UCLA researcher, says that this is likely be for the sake of survival, "Things that are important for behavior and for survival tend to happen pretty fast…You don't have a huge amount of time. It has to be a simple system of communication." Another example of emotion trumping reason.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Better Buy Design

Image source: fastcodesign.com

Today, design is more important than ever. It’s what sets brands apart in a world awash with multiple choices. As Brooklyn designer and author Frank Chimero says: "People ignore design that ignores people". It’s all encompassing. Functionality. Look. Feel. Packaging. To succeed, a business can’t just have a product. It’s got to have a great product that excites the masses.

Creatives have always understood the importance of design. Management, less so. However, that’s changing, as Fast Company explains, venture capitalists are targeting designers to join their teams. They’ve recognized that design isn’t just about beautification, it’s about solving problems.

Price may have once took precedence over form in the boardroom because of the belief that people didn’t care much about how something looked as long as the price was competitive. But in our increasingly visually-savvy world, people want things to look great. They want to take photos of products and share them. They want to consider simple items, like a bottle of shampoo or a jar of peanut butter, worthy of being on display in their homes. They want interfaces that are easy to understand and simple to use.

Good design seems to mean a more transparent company, a better quality product, and increased reliability. And these things are what people will pay more for. It’s the start to making a product irresistible.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Athletic Motivation

Image source: flickr.com

When we see a top athlete, we see someone who has dedicated thousands of hours to the pursuit of being titled number one. Whether we can understand their drive is one thing, but we can all admire their commitment. How they stay motivated is something we can all learn from.

1. Talk through the stress – A 1993 study of athletes identified 158 unique strategies for coping with stress. The most common (used by 76 percent of interviewees) was ‘rational thinking and self-talk’. You've got to learn to coach your mind to work through the tough times and think like a winner.
2. It’s all for love – You don’t persevere for the money. Most, even those at a national level, aren’t even duly compensated. It is the sheer love of sport that motivates them to train and play again and again - and again.
3. Optimism – In a study of Commonwealth and Olympic athletes, “having an unshakeable belief in your ability to achieve competition goals” was a common definition of mental toughness. You need to believe that you have it within you to be the best.
4. Anticipation - Our brains are built with an insular cortex, the more finely tuned it is the better we are at anticipating pressures and adapt to these quickly. It also gets better with practice.
5. Good support – Whether it’s a coach, a parent, a partner or a boss, having solid support is the bedrock of success.
6. Mindful - It’s not only being aware of what you’re doing, but how you’re feeling, how you’re breathing and accepting these without judgment.
7. Thinking ahead – Keep your eye on the prize. Create short term goals to reach long term goals. Small victories keep you motivated to continue improvement.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Together We’ll Fight to the End

Image source: mcfc.com

My team Manchester City just won the English Premier League for the second time in three years. Yahoo!

In a book collaboration with academic colleagues called Peak Performance, one of the findings was that champion teams – while they do not always win – always have to be “in contention” to win. That Manchester City spent only 11 days – or 4% – of the total season at the top of the table underscores the point. In a season when the lead at the top of the Premier League table changed hands 25 times this season, they were always within striking distance of the title.

Sport is replete with drama, upsets and turnarounds. Man City’s victory in 2012 was full of heart attack material, with victory gained in the very last seconds. Sunday’s victory was a result of consistency amidst the other key contenders faltering at critical moments.

This is much more than “slow and steady wins the race.” More like “be poised, then pounce!” Or as Vince Lombardi said, “winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.”

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What’s Your EQ?

Image source: flickr.com

A good IQ might mean that you can find patterns quickly, but a good EQ means you can identify people’s emotions and manage relations quickly. And as we know, it takes a person who can inspire people to higher productivity and innovative ideas to lead a successful company in the Age of Now.

Two time Pulitzer nominee Daniel Goleman has been writing about emotional intelligence for nearly twenty years, including Working with Emotional Intelligence and Primal Leadership, both of which address EQ in the workplace. He developed the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal test that measures emotional intelligence.

Here are the five main EQ constructs from the test derived from Goleman’s Emotional Competencies model that help to form a strong leader:

1. Self-awareness – The ability to know one's emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
2. Self-regulation – Involves controlling or redirecting one's disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
3.Social skill – Managing relationships to move people in the desired direction.
4. Empathy - Considering other people's feelings especially when making decisions.
5.Motivation - Being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Rise of the Chief Resilience Officer


If the role of Chief Resilience Officer is not an occupation you’ve heard of before, there’s good reason. It has never existed in official capacity – until now. The brainchild of the Rockefeller Foundation, the global implementation of CROs is a step towards future proofing 100 cities across the globe; making people, communities and systems better prepared to withstand catastrophic events and help city dwellers bounce back faster when the unexpected happens.

The cost of urban disasters was over $380 billion in 2011 alone, and many of our cities remain ill-prepared to unprecedented forces of nature. The city of Tacloban in the Philippines is still without electricity following Typhoon Haiyan last year and in the 18 months since Superstorm Sandy hit the U.S. East Coast, thousands of residents say they are unable to return to their homes.

So what does a CRO do? Break down silos that prevent communication, creativity and innovation. They’re the link that keeps everyone on the same page, covering every angle, delivering creative solutions that work. In times of disaster, a city’s CRO will be the most important connector. You can’t ask for a more exciting challenge than that.

Bangkok, Christchurch, New York and Rio de Janeiro have already been chosen as the first cities to receive their own CROs. I expect the winning candidates to be among the most inspirational leaders we have. Do-ers unafraid to take charge and take risks. Every city needs the right person in the right place.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Theatre of Love


“Acting is an act of Love,” said Lee Strasberg, the famous American acting teacher. He is quoted in the preface to a book about Dublin’s Focus Theatre celebrating “fifty years of love”. The author Nollaig Fahy, chairman of Focus, went on to quote from my 2004 book Lovemarks: “Love cannot be demanded or commanded. It can only be given. Like power, you get Love by giving it.”

Focus Theatre was founded in 1963 by Irish-American actor Deirdre O’Connell and Luke Kelly, then a rising music star as lead singer of the legendary Irish folk band The Dubliners. They were young lovers who, in their early twenties, set out on a mission to establish a new ground-breaking theatre and acting studio using Stanislavski’s ‘method acting’ technique. During its life the theatre staged 400 productions – from classic plays by Ibsen and Beckett to contemporary Irish drama.

Bringing the theatre together was itself a labor of love and it was one that O’Connell and Kelly committed their lives to. They worked tirelessly to create and deliver their dream. Nollaig writes that “the Love that every person gave so selflessly during the last fifty years to the Focus Theatre & Acting Studio to create and shape it is a real and true Act of LOVE. Ireland and its people owe them a debt of gratitude. We must all be grateful indeed for their Love.”

Monday, May 5, 2014

11 Life Lessons from Bob Hoskins

Image source: news.bbc.com

Bob Hoskins was a loveable British actor who sadly passed away last week. His daughter Rosa is a writer and actress living and working in London. She wrote this inspirations post on her blog about the things she learnt from Bob.

“My darling Dad has died. I loved him to the ends of the earth and he loved me back just the same. These are the lessons he taught me, I will keep them close to my heart and remind myself of them whenever I stumble or falter. They are his words; the words spoken so often to encourage, comfort and reassure. This isn’t general wisdom, rather advice that he tailor-made just for me. I love you Dad.”

1. Laugh. There’s humour to be found everywhere, even your darkest days there’s something to have a joke about. Laugh long and loud and make other people laugh. It’s good for you.
2. Be yourself. If someone doesn’t like you they’re either stupid, blind, or they’ve got bad taste. Accept who you are, you’ve got no one else to be. Don’t try to change yourself, there’s no point. Don’t apologise. Don’t make excuses. Be yourself and if anyone else doesn’t like it they can f*ck off.
3. Be flamboyant. It’s who you are and always have been. Be eccentric and unique. Don’t try to adapt yourself to someone else’s view of normal. That belongs to them, not you. Like yourself as you are.
4. Don’t worry about other people’s opinions. Everyone’s a critic, but ultimately what they say only matters if you let it. Don’t believe your own press. People can just as easily sing your praises as they can tear you down. Don’t waste your time on things you can’t change. Let it slide off you like water off a duck’s back.
5. Get angry. It’s ok to lose your temper now and then. If anger stays in, it turns to poison and makes you bitter and sad. Get angry, say your peace, then let it go.
6. Whatever you do, always give it a good go. Don’t be afraid of failure and disappointment. If you fall flat on your face then get straight back up. You’ll always regret not trying. Disappointment is temporary, regret is forever.
7. Be generous and kind because you can’t take it with you. When you’ve got something to give, give it without hesitation.
8. Appreciate beauty, take pictures and make memories. Capture it; you never know when it’ll be gone.
9. Don’t take yourself too seriously. People who take themselves too seriously are boring.
10. Never, ever, ever, ever give up. Keep on punching no matter what you’re up against. You’re only defeated if you give up, so don’t give up.
11. Love with all your heart. In the end, love is the only thing that matters.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Star is Born

Image source: tastecrumbia.com

Had the best meal I’ve had for ages.

In William Wordsworth’s place of work in Ambleside (he’s not there now but he was from 1813 until 1843!!).

Craig and Ryan Blackburn opened The Old Stamp House 11 weeks ago. My friends at Cumbria Life visited on the second night they were open – talk about a torture test. And last week they won the award as Cumbria’s Newcomer Restaurant of the Year.

This award will be the first of many.

Ryan’s a young chef, brimful of imagination and a love of local ingredients. Trained at the Michelin starred Holbeck Ghyll and Martin Wishart in Edinburgh, Ryan is one to watch. His brother Craig runs front of house with natural charm, energy and enthusiasm. The food comes from Cumbria and the eight course tasting menu is a steal at £45. Shrimps from Solway Firth, Pollock from Whitehaven, Hogget from Yew Tree Farm in Coniston and herbs/berries foraged from local fells. A solid wine list, local beers, original stone floors, white plastered walls, beautiful wooden chairs/tables.

Go now before Michelin discovers it and the world flocks to Ambleside!!

Luxury Vagabonds rejoice.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Who Influences You?

Image source: time.com

TIME magazine has released its annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people. This year, 40 of them are North American – more than Asia, Africa and Europe combined could muster. It begs the question, how influenced are we by those who decide who is influential? Can North America, with little more than 5% of the world’s population, truly lay claim to such extraordinary dominance on this list? Is Rand Paul really more influential than, say, British Prime Minister David Cameron?

TIME’S criteria are well established. Entrants are recognized for changing the world, for good or bad. Hence why Vladamir Putin, Kim Jong Un and one of Al Qaeda’s deadliest generals make the cut. Each of the 100 chosen are believed to affect the world we live in. Their ideas shape us, engage us and spark debate. Even revolution. The lines blur, of course, between true influence, power and fame. It could be argued some, like Miley Cyrus, could be better described as headline fodder.

Influence is often subjective. It reflects an individual’s world view – particularly when sports, art and entertainment is concerned. There are always surprises on this list, like New Zealand teenage golf sensation Lydia Ko. Humble. Talented. Inspirational. Then there are those that can’t be argued against, like Pope Francis. The question I have for you is: who would be the top 10 most influential people in your life? And what does that say about you? While TIME tries to pin down who is influencing the world, it’s more important to know who is shaping you.