Today I had the privilege of listening to Al Gore and other inspiring luminaries speak at WhatIf?'s annual festival of thought-provokingness. I took copious notes and detailed posts will follow.
A particular highlight for me away from the big name speakers was the case story of Lifebuoy soaps social marketing in India.
For today (it's getting late) here are my hasty jotted notes from an interview with Matt Kingdon and Dave Allan, the WhatIf? founders on today's proceedings:
WHAT WAS TODAY ALL ABOUT?
This is an event where we get to do what we do; inspiring possibility. It's about getting an amazing group of clients to mix with a brilliant group of speakers, creating an environment where you stretch them. It's not just the individual speakers, it's also about an audience with power & influence. It's our role to stretch them to see what is possible (and not impossible).
Actually we do this every year. We've done it since 1996, we've put on a big show every year, with 350-450 people. In the past we've had Kevin Spacey, Bob Geldoff, Mo Mowlem. It's all about getting a load of our clients together with inspiring speakers and looking at some angle on innovation.
We try to make these events as stimulating as possible, with a lot of movement, not just sitting and listening to speeches.
These events complement our study tours where we take 20-25 senior execs on a learning journey. We aim to make this THE conference towards the end of the year that they really look forward to.
DA: The investment really pays back
It builds relationship with clients and we learn
AND WHY GOOD PROFIT/ THE SOCIAL VENTURING THEME?
MK: Good profit feels core to who we are and what we do
What area needs most innovation in the world?
If we're going to be serious we have to engage in this sector
Clients asking are asking about this stuff, from governments, to not for profits
DA: I predict there will be many more partnerships between NGOs, large corporations, good businesses. We can can play a role colliding them together. We need a new conversation, breakthrough ideas, pushing paradigms
MK: I reallly liked the Arup talk just now (about Dongtan city)
- Go back to first principles
- Don’t think incrementally
- You cant do it in isolation
- We need big new systemic ideas & changes
SO WE NEED TO REDESIGN LIFE?
DA: That's a really good way of putting it.