Monday, November 30, 2009

Victory Gardens

Tough times call for people to rally together for the common good. One of many examples of this during the World Wars were the victory gardens, where those at home were called to get planting to reduce strain on food supplies for the war effort. Gardens sprung up in backyards and vacant lots, churches and playgrounds.
Today, gardening is seeing a renaissance of sorts. In my conversations about DOT (the Saatchi & Saatchi Do One Thing personal sustainability practices), gardening is an example that keeps cropping up again and again. No wonder, considering its many benefits – great for the environment, for exercising, for healthy eating and saving money. It’s even reached the White House, which under the Obamas is seeing its first vegetable patch since the days of Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in WWII. And Saatchi & Saatchi New York’s Blue team are designing their own rooftop garden at our 375 Hudson St headquarters.

Holly Hirshberg saw the effect of the recession beginning to hit people’s pantries and decided to help others grow their own food. Inspired by the victory gardens, she started giving away seeds to anyone who asked through her website The Dinner Garden. "The Dinner Garden isn't just about the seeds," she says. "It is about giving people hope… creating communities where families spend time together in a productive way and children learn that they can create something beautiful and useful to their family." The idea snowballed, and since the project started in early 2009 her team has provided seeds to almost 14,000 families in 42 states. A victory indeed!

In other gardening and sustainability related news – it seems the xixi no banho (pee in the shower) idea is taking off in a different way – the grand country house Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire is encouraging its garden workers to relieve themselves on straw bales alongside compost heaps to save water and help the composting process!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Worshipful Company Of Marketors

Formed 25 years ago, The Worshipful Company of Marketors are part of the City of London Roll of Livery Companies, a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. Livery Companies have played an important role in the development of trade over the centuries. As well as the obvious focus on promoting the benefits of their professions (from ironmongers and haberdashers to surveyors and solicitors) Livery Companies also have a strong charitable focus, with the Marketors granting over forty educational awards each year.

I was recently invited by Professor Michael Jones to give the annual City Lecture to the Company in the magnificent Great Hall of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London. Founded in 1123, St Bart’s is the oldest working hospital in England, (some say Mozart had his tonsils removed here!) and its great hall was a special venue for an event so tied to tradition.

Enhanced by the traditional robes, livery badges and the grand surrounds, I certainly felt the ceremony of the occasion. This was pomp and ritual without a hint of stuffiness and those I spoke to had a real warmth and appreciation of their heritage. Just one expression of this is the handwritten letters of thanks guests traditionally send after these events, a personal touch of intimacy.

Under the watchful gaze of Henry VIII, I spoke on the challenges ahead and how to face them. While the true impact of the recession on society is yet to hit and should not be underestimated, overall I’m positive. Creativity, connectivity and collaboration can deal to the forces of darkness. The future will be real and after speaking with this group, I have no doubt that the rebuilding of the City is in good hands.

Many thanks to my gracious hosts, including Master of the Company Peter Goudge, Michael Jones and Diane Morris.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Toyota - Better Together

Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney recently revealed this clever ad for Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive. It’s even more clever when you know that the spot was filmed in a single take, with no special effects – just some very coordinated guys who put in two weeks of choreography practice. The spot illustrates the idea that two working together are better than one – a metaphor for the petrol/electricity combo – and I think it’s a good illustration of True Blue thinking. Hybrid cars are better for the environment, but they also provide immediate benefits for the people driving them, like fuel savings and increased efficiency. Acknowledging these advantages to people and planet is just one of the ways we can help to make sustainability irresistible.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Create It, And They Will Come

I’ve been amazed by the global enthusiasm for the iPhone apps that continue to proliferate around the world. Creating an app is as simple as thinking of something useful. It’s the modern day inventor’s route to riches, and the modern day consumer’s lifestyle compressed onto a small device. The creativity just keeps on coming, and it has the consumer at the heart of every decision.

The Urban Spoon app lets you define the parameters of what you want to eat. Anything you’d like to leave to chance, just solve with a shake of the phone. Is That Gluten Free? will tell you what you’re eating while you are at the restaurant. The World Factbook ’09 can solve discussions over dinner. Then GymGoal can help you work it off. And on it goes.

These apps are the ultimate conversation starter. “Have you got this app?” The power of the idea is transmitted every minute through conversation. Phones have got the world talking, but few guessed it would be in this unique manner.

Where was all this creativity before the iPhone opened a space for it? Are we using the other screens in our Sisomo family with the same creative, open approach? Cinemas, TV’s, billboards and bus stops are all waiting for the app magic. The future is wide open, and screens are everywhere. Let’s bring the world’s creativity to every screen, not just the little ones.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Road to South Africa 2010: NZ All Whites in Finals

The New Zealand “All Whites” football team has scored an emotion-rousing 1-0 victory over Bahrain to win its slot for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa. New Zealand has been to the finals of the world’s biggest sports tournament only once before, in 1982.

Everyone who has been to the Wellington Stadium for a big time rugby match (like the All Black’s second test win against the British Lions), or a World’s Sevens tournament, or a pulsating Hurricanes on-night, or a Wellington Phoenix game, will tell you why the ground is called The Cake Tin. It’s circular, it gets really noisy, and the energy flow is just incredible. The Mexican Wave was invented for this place. And so it was with the All Whites, the round ball drew a record crowd in the round house.

There’s a phrase in Peak Performance we call “feel like a family, play like a team”. Ricki Herbert drew this feeling out, and you could see it in the father-son joy of Rory and Kevin Fallon. Striker Rory scored the game’s goal, a handsome header off a corner. Kevin was assistant coach to the All Whites for the finals in Spain 27 years ago. He’s been in soccer every day since and Friday night’s game must have been a dream come true – again.

The largely amateur team had many heroes including goalkeeper Mark Paston who saved a penalty goal to save the match. Bloggers have been quick to examine the passion that was so keenly on display in Wellington, to the hardy spectacle I sat through on Saturday night in Milan, the All Blacks playing Italy. The Italian pack were just terrific to watch, but not a lot else unfortunately. Might we wish for champagne rugby this weekend at Twickenham? A good hammering will do just fine.

My own nerves will be focused on the USA Eagles vs Uruguay Rugby World Cup qualifying knock-out being played at in Fort Lauderdale. USA won last weekend’s game by five points, scoring four tries but having a poor final quarter. The outcome will be decided on total points and at the moment we’re only a try ahead. It’s no wonder that sport is the world’s seventh largest enterprise.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Brand America Is Ba[ra]ck

I’ve written in April and June this year on Brand America, which had became deeply unpopular through the decade. I had put my case for new actions and new messaging to The Pentagon through to Paper magazine. I tell people that what made the USA great is still there in abundance – a tremendous human energy, ideals of a better future, and the capacity to be the force for good in the world.

While the reality that President Barack Obama is only human has only recently dawned, and his popularity is now ranked at about 53% approval, his inspirational message already has delivered benefits to the USA as far as the ROW (Rest Of World) is concerned. In the week that Fortune magazine named Steve Jobs as CEO of the Decade, FutureBrand, which ranks country brands, has announced that the United States is back on top as the country that most people want to visit and do business with.* NY, DC and LA are each powerhouse cities (add San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Miami and Cincinnati and many more). The countryside is unbelievably diverse and historic.

This is hope and dreams made real for the Administration. The President has the near-impossible job – everything to deal with – wars, economic crisis, health care, environment, the future of America. He’s accountable for it all. So hats off for this achievement – restoring international preference. Millions of people came through Ellis Island to make a better world. America is a vast and beautiful country with idealistic values, beliefs and principles. Barack Obama has the ability to be a focal point for the aspirational dreams of Americans, and to people everywhere – to be the best they can be. The world is noticing. Here’s what Paul, who nominated America as his Lovemark, said back in 2004:

America is the greatest of all my Lovemarks. It stands for freedom, liberty and choice. Whether you agree or disagree with the brand, it gives you the freedom to speak out, to take control, and make it better. If you invest everything you have in America, it is the only brand that will truly reward you.
These are big ideals to live for. A footnote, of the top five countries, I’ve lived in Canada and Australia, (2nd and 3rd) and presently have homes in the USA, New Zealand, and France (1st, 4th and 5th). The opportunity is clearly there for Great Britain (8th - also home!).

*From Futurebrand: From best overall country brands and top brands within regions, to detailed rankings of the top ten brands across a breadth of categories including Authenticity, History, Art & Culture, Resort & Lodging Options, Ease of Travel, Safety, Rest & Relaxation, Natural Beauty, Beach, Nightlife, Shopping, Fine Dining, Outdoor Activities & Sports, Friendly Locals, Families, Value for Money, Rising Star, Standard of Living, Ideal for Business, Easiest to Do Business In, New Country for Business, Conferences, Extend a Business Trip, Political Freedom, Most Like to Live In, Quality Products, Desire to Visit/Visit Again, Advanced Technology and Environmentalism.

The year’s CBI tracks the perceptions of approximately 3,000 international business and leisure travelers from nine countries—the US, the UK, China, Australia, Japan, Brazil, the UAE, Germany and Russia. The insights from an expert panel of 47 tourism, development, policy and academic professionals are also featured. This sample has a margin of error of ±1.8% at the 95% confidence level.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Emotional Primacy

Don’t you love it when scientists come out with studies proving the completely obvious? The advertising industry is not immune from such studies, as the American Association of Advertising Agencies has recently released a paper entitled: “Why You Need to Incorporate Emotional Messaging Into Your Marketing Communications.” It states “Recent studies have proven that emotional advertising is more effective than a rational strategy.”

The AAAA paper points to a study of the 880 winners of Advertising Effectiveness Awards from the UK’s Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) which has offered further proof (as if there was any doubt) that if you put your message in emotional terms, it will carry more weight.
Some highlights from the analysis:

  • Emotionally based campaigns outperformed rationally based campaigns on every single business measure in the cases studied—sales, market share, profit, penetration, loyalty and price sensitivity.
  • Emotional appeals are almost twice as likely to generate large profit gains as rational ones.
  • The more emotion dominates over rational messaging, the bigger the impact on the business; the most effective ads are those with little or no rational content.
  • Emotional advertising is particularly good at reducing price sensitivity, and hence leads to large profit gains.
I’ve given hundreds of speeches and written a couple of books – Lovemarks: the Future Beyond Brands, and The Lovemarks Effect on the very subject of emotional primacy. I religiously reference neuroscientist Donald Calne – people are 80% emotional and 20% rational; reason leads to conclusions, emotion leads to action.

Whilst the 4As are “surprising with the obvious”, their survey is actually very timely. The job of keeping clients on an emotional track is a never-ending one. My #1 job when I started as CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi was to “emotionalize clients.” There is frequently a tendency on the part of brand managers to cram too much information about product benefits into advertising; to be overly prescriptive; to run with facts not stories. There are only two questions that matter in advertising: “Do I want to see it again?” And “Do I want to share this?” An ad crammed with data ain’t gonna be revisited or shared.

Btw, other startling “surprising with the obvious” findings from scientific studies include:
1. Gun-Toting Drivers are More Prone to Road Rage
2. Too Many Meetings Make You Grumpy
3. Swallowing More Than One Magnet is Dangerous
4. Memory and Concentration Fade With Age
5. Time Flies When You're Busy

Monday, November 16, 2009

Celebrating the Red Rose

I was born in Lancaster, the county town of Lancashire.

Lancashire, The Red Rose county, stretches from the River Mersey in the South to the banks of Windermere in the North. It has five cities, Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, and Salford. I live just outside now in Grasmere, Cumbria.

Lancashire has a proud history as well as a close rivalry with its neighbors across the Pennine’s Yorkshire. At the moment the county is dominant in England’s most popular sport, soccer, with Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton, Blackburn, Bolton, Burnley all in the Premier League. And isn’t Wigan virtually in Lancashire too!! Many people think that England begins and ends with London. I’m not a big fan of London, or the South of England, and certainly have not found much very interesting outside of the mighty Red Rose. Lancastrians are warm, open, cheerful, very friendly and very funny. The complete opposite of our Yorkshire neighbors! Three of the top English chefs hail from Lancashire, Paul Heathcote, Marcus Wareing, Nigel Howarth. And you can’t get past Morecambe Bay Shrimps, Mrs. Kirkham’s Lancaster Cheese, Bury Black Pudding, and Herdwick Lamb.

Lancashire Life, that great monthly magazine, is celebrating Lancashire Day next month and listed some surprising inventions from Lancashire. How about the kilt, the torpedo, the co-operative movement, the jelly baby, tide times, the Tiller girls, the police force, Meccano, white road markings, and Suffragettes. Beat that Yorkshire!

Of course it does rain a lot in Lancashire. In fact, over my birthday it pretty much rained non stop for four days. Annual rainfall where I live in Grasmere equals that of the Amazon. But who’s complaining. That’s why we’ve got lush grass, healthy livestock, beautiful hills and, as Lancashire Life said, it’s probably the reason we invented so much. We have to do something when it’s raining.

So thanks very much to Paul Mackenzie for reminding us not only about our inventiveness, but also about nine other things that make Lancashire great. Including, of course, Lancashire County Cricket Club, and the Mighty Manchester City.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Entrepreneurial Edge

It’s been shown to me repeatedly that New Zealand is full of edgy, creative, radical, flexible, ideas people. Our future depends on our ability to educate, inspire and export these ideas and help them grow and take on the world. Entrepreneurs will lead economic growth during these tough times.

At the University of Auckland Business School, the Entrepreneurs’ Challenge has announced three winners from 100 entries across a phenomenal range of visionary businesses utilizing physics, virtual reality, earth sciences, broadband, taste and touch, water, New Zealand tourism. I spoke at the awards on Friday evening as an Honorary Professor of the Business School.

The Challenge, made possible by a $3m founding donation by UK-based New Zealand industrialist and investor Charles Bidwell, is based on the power of enterprise, innovation and tenacity. It encourages New Zealand businesses with an energy and drive for international expansion, by providing them with growth funding, mentoring and well-deserved kudos. It’s a really positive approach, and Derek Lockwood and his Saatchi & Saatchi Design Worldwide team in Auckland are behind the idea as one of the Challenge’s partner organisations.

The awards ceremony was last Friday where the winners were announced:

  • coffee roasters Allpress Espresso who will use awarded funds to expand into the UK market with a flagship roastery and espresso bar in London;
  • smart water meter technology developers Outpost Central who have had boosted sales by demand from water-deficient Australia and plan to grow into a $100m business, using funding to hire a chief operating officer; and
  • hot water heating control technology company Senztek who will put funding into R&D and marketing new products for Europe.
Successful entrepreneurs have grit, guts, and genius. Three cheers for the 100 ideas presented to the University of Auckland Business School’s Entrepreneurs’ Challenge.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Analytics Of Me

The advertising industry loves crunching numbers and it’s not alone. A growing number of people track their behavior and analyze data for everything from eating, sleeping, working, reading, spending money, losing weight, keeping track of when you’re happy, when you’re sad, anything and everything!

The new iPod Nano has a built in pedometer to count your steps; FertiliTrack tracks and predicts fertility; and if you want more in depth analysis on your sleep patterns, ZEO can track your brain waves and sleep data all for $400. But it doesn’t stop there, Moodstats can record, track and evaluate your moods and Bedposted can even track those non-sleeping activities in bed and much more!

As technology gets more advanced by the day, there are no doubt many more ways people will be able to analyze and track any sort of behavioral patterns, perhaps you’ve come across an interesting one lately?

Ultimately, it’s not enough just to measure these days, that’s like looking in the rear view mirror of a car. To win, you need to be looking through the front windscreen anticipating the road that lies ahead.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pump Up The Volume

We all have a soundtrack to our lives: the music that was thumping the night you had your first kiss; the football song you sing to cheer your team on; the nursery rhymes you teach to your children; that karaoke number that you feel you can really knock people’s socks off with; the track you always put on when you want to relax. Your favorite radio station. Your iPod playlists. Your new devotion to Spotify. The special song you have with your partner, and on it goes.

Music is such an integral part of our lives, so entwined with who we are, and who we want to be, that a new study on branding in music from Jakob Lusensky and his team at Heartbeats International shocked me. Check out this statistic: 97% of brand managers surveyed think that music can strengthen their brand. But 7 out of 10 spend 5% or less of their marketing budget on music. Can there have ever been another time in history where music moved people less to action than this example?

You’d have to ask Brand Managers why exactly they don’t invest in music. Luckily, Heartbeats did. The responses were short-sighted and “no-can-do” in nature. 38% of respondees say that it’s too hard to measure return on investment. And thereby lies the problem. In asking the wrong question you automatically arrive at the wrong answer. In the new Participation Economy, the only measurement they need is return on involvement. Measure the right ROI and the sound of branding will instantly improve.

Branding with music can be pervasive and persuasive without being oppressive. If hearing is the second most used sense in brand communication today – then radio advertising, in-store, website, TV and even telephone hold music needs a real boost. There are some good examples out there – T-Mobile’s audio logotype is instantly recognizable, and Starbucks have jumped in with both feet with their own record label, and some clever deals. But when Heartbeats report a study that says “brands with music fitting their brand identity are 96 percent more likely to be recalled than those with non-fitting music or no music at all”, then you know there’s a crisis in courage in brandmanagerland. We need talk to the consumer in our universal language, music.

Brand managers, get a great DJ and turn it up to 11!

Monday, November 9, 2009

School's Out

It sometimes feels like I’ve run the full gamut of school-related experiences – from being kicked out of school at 17, to being invited back as a Governor. I frequently speak to students at universities around the world, but having an eternally curious granddaughter like Stella in my life has piqued my interest in the way primary schools approach the first few years of learning.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem we’re doing our children justice in this regard. Despite being one of the richest countries on earth, America’s education system is notoriously rife with difficulties. A recent in-depth report from Cambridge University on UK primary schools suggests a grim focus on state-determined curriculum and assessment is dampening childrens’ appetites for learning. The researchers recommend a new approach where formal learning begins age 6 (rather than 5), and that younger children be left to learn through play.

I’ve spoken here before about the importance (and fun!) of free-ranging play outdoors, and I think this principle remains the same in the classroom. Of course core frameworks are important – as long as they allow great teachers to inspire their young pupils to experiment, keep asking “why?”, and start coming up with their own answers. Sure, sometimes they’ll get it wrong. Sometimes they’ll get their hands dirty. But if their curiosity is sparked, they’ll develop a love and appreciation for learning as adventure that will last a lifetime.

I like the approach taken by President Obama in a recent speech to young American school children. Always big on hope and inspiration, the President pointed to where the best kind of education leads – discovery, innovation and creation. Not just retaining facts and ticking off boxes, but being able to take what you’ve learnt and use it to make something exciting and new that benefits everyone. His concluding questions put the future firmly in the hands of his young listeners:

“So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make?”

Fittingly, a bunch of open-ended questions best answered with imagination, not just textbooks.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Future of Shopper Marketing

The Sam Walton Business School at the University of Arkansas is on our
calendar every October because of the superb annual conference run by
the Center for Retailing Excellence. Andy Murray, Global CEO of Saatchi
& Saatchi X, was a founder of the conference, and this year a keynote
speaker. His subject was "the future of shopper marketing" - which
should apply to anyone and everyone who wants to sell something to a

The presentation featured five key points (and a whole bunch of
arresting stories, insights, and examples):

  • Put yourself at the heart of the customer (most companies try it
    the other way around)

  • Navigate the experience of your customer from the "shelf back"

  • Create ways for customers to participate and be involved in your
    brands and store experiences

  • Explore the fringe/edge/margin for new ideas (Wal-Mart was a
    fringe idea, it came from Bentonville, not Chicago)

  • Find new ways for manufacturers and retailers to collaborate
    authentically based on trust, transparency and shared goals
This is a special presentation and will be viewed in five years time as
a definitive statement about the world's biggest activity: shopping.

The Future of Shopper Marketing from Andy Murray on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

Only ten sentences total, written almost fifty years ago – and yet Where The Wild Things Are continues to capture the collective imagination. It goes without saying that Maurice Sendak’s book is a Lovemark (it’s currently sitting at #28 in the rankings).

Like all great picture books, Wild Things is high on Intimacy – it’s perfect bedtime story material after all – looking with great empathy through the eyes of a rambunctious young lad to show a world both tremendously exciting and a little scary. But it’s also a tale doused in Mystery – tapping into the powerful dream of running fearlessly into adventures much bigger than you are, and providing the iconic figure of Max in his wolf-costume, staring down the monsters.

The long awaited movie adaptation from Spike Jonze looks like it’s heading in the Lovemarks direction too. From what the trailer reveals, there’s been great thought put into the preserving the magic of the book, without grounding it in the past. And while the otherworldly landscapes and beasts bear true to Sendak’s legendary illustrations, the soundtrack songs – all rousing indie-rock anthems from the likes of the Arcade Fire and Karen O – couldn’t be more modern and they fit perfectly. Talk about past, present and future!

The creative team behind the movie have got the Participation Economy down pat. Check out the very cool fort making competition they ran - fans of all ages were invited to take up Max’s mantle and turn a humble bedroom into something much more wild and mysterious. And through a collaboration with US label Opening Ceremony, those who want to wear their Wild-Thing love loud and proud can pick up inspired shaggy coats, talon rings, and – the ultimate – Max’s wolf suit.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lost At E Minor

The Participation Economy is about conversations. Lots of them. We’ve been through the Attention Economy, which was a conversation of one to many. We morphed into the Attraction Economy, which brought more pull than push. Now the Participation Economy has joined the circle: it’s many to many. Everywhere we go online, we can talk to everyone and everyone can talk to us. You might say that real democracy is finally at hand.

Someone who understands this is Zolton Zavos and his brother Zac at a great site out of Newcastle, Australia, and Brooklyn, New York, Lost At E Minor. Zolton, the son of my friend the venerable Sydney rugby journalist (and Kiwi) Spiro Zavos, has created a community of conversations that showcases the zeitgeist - new creative projects and emerging culture sourced from the most diverse corners of the Internet, in all flavors – Twitter, Facebook, and Free iPhone app; and is spiced with free downloads, guest writers, a cool online store including the Dosh wallet, and much more.

A few years ago Zolton invited me to speak to his team mates on a previous gig, the New York-based online publishing company, Flavorpill. I talked pretty much about how to create a Lovemark, and clearly something stuck because Lost At E Minor has become a Lovemark. At least that’s what his readers are telling him in a recent survey:

“What I really love about E MINOR is the unexpected .. I love random moodbrowsing, and E MINOR is pure sensory indulgence!! I love all of the amazingly gorgeous art in all its forms presented on E MINOR. Thanks for the bottomless pit of inspiration.” Tambo

“I love the movement of Lost at E Minor, it goes from funky design in Prague to Diners in Nowhere USA. From creepy craigslist reenactments to cute funny commercials to awing murals.” Hayley

“It’s so refreshing knowing that there are so many people in this world that have such passion for what they do and create. Thanks for the constant supply of outstanding, shock, horror, beauty, talent.” Hannah

“There are a lot of websites that pull together the miscellany that I love, but Lost At E Minor has survived all others for a spot on my bookmarks bar.” weatherjam
Read here for more reasons why Lost At E Minor’s readers think it’s a Lovemark.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Let Mana Grow

I was the closing speaker at the United States – New Zealand 2009 Partnership Forum in Washington DC last month. As a believer in soft power, I talked about the power of language to create frameworks of freedom, freedom based on metaphors around family, creative edge and a higher role for business. I finished up with two observations. The first was on rugby (naturally!*). The second was on youth justice, a subject I feel strongly about and support through TYLA - Turn Your Life Around – which runs programs for at-risk youth in Auckland.

New Zealand and the US bear some resemblance as big-time human lock-ups. The US is world leader in incarceration and New Zealand is in the top quartile. New Zealand is the 125th most populated country in the world out of 258, yet the 57th most incarcerated. This gives new meaning to the cliché “punching above our weight.” I outlined three things New Zealand could offer to the US in this area: learnings about our system of restorative justice (with its emphasis on “repairing the harm”), our Maori-Pakeha experience of biculturalism, and an appreciation of the development of mana, that special Maori concept denoting personal bearing, presence, and character.

The point of this post is a story that came out of this. A few days later Roy Ferguson, New Zealand Ambassador to the United States, sent me an email with a story that underlines a more inclusive approach to accountability. A couple of years ago the organization American Humane gave an award to New Zealand for what they called "New Zealand's gift to humanity." This was for the Family Group Conference System of justice. Roy received the award on behalf of New Zealand along with our Chief Social Worker and the Chief of our Family Court. New Zealand first introduced this system into legislation around 1988 and it is now regularly used when teenagers get into trouble to see whether the extended family can take action rather than use the criminal justice system. It has been adopted by about 20 countries around the world and about 30 or so States in the US. Roy said how moving it was, after the President of American Humane had made a presentation, to have a Chief from the Lakota tribe of North Dakota come up and present Roy’s delegation with blankets. This was to show their gratitude for the fact that introducing family group conferences on to their Reservation had prevented a number of their young people going off to jail. A great example of how sharing ideas can make the world a better place for everyone.

Ps you can read here a paper ”Restorative Justice in New Zealand: A Model for US Criminal Justice”, 2001, written by American (Indiana) prosecutor Donald Schmidd, who came to New Zealand as an Ian Axford Fellow in Public Policy.
*The rugby references in my Washington speech were to:

  • Acknowledge the close relationship between DC’s Hyde Leadership Public Charter School and Auckland rugby.
  • Preview two movies that will putting rugby on the big screen – “Forever Strong” and “Invictus”, the story of Nelson Mandela (played by Morgan Freeman) of the 1995 Rugby World Cup final, with Matt Damon as Francois Pinnear, directed by Clint Eastwood.
  • Pump up the American Eagles’ for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand – our qualification hinges on matches against Uruguay on November 14 and 21.

Monday, November 2, 2009

50 People, One Question

Dreams are where the soul takes flight, but the greatest dreams are those that are real, and happening every moment. Looking at these beautiful pieces filmed in London and New York, how great is it that so many people answered the question with “my own bed.” But what’s the question?

This is an idea by creative studios Crush + Lovely from NY/SF and Deltree, from New Orleans. It’s a sisomo showcase all about Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy. The directors are Kenneth Chu (Brooklyn) and Benjamin Reece (London).