Think Hard


Creative Edinburgh. What’s it all about then?

I’ve been privileged to be Chair of this astonishingly successful organisation for about three years now and in that time I’ve seen it grow from a mere idea to a near 1,700 strong network.

I was recently asked to contribute to the new blog and here is what I had to say.

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Brownian Motion. It’s a good metaphor for Creative Edinburgh’s unwritten raison d’etre. For those of you unfamiliar with the term it’s the term for random motion of particles suspended in a fluid resulting from their collision with the quick atoms or molecules in the fluid.

OK, that’s all a bit scientific Pseuds Corner (I was a science undergraduate once upon a time), but it’s very apposite to our work here at Creative Edinburgh. Because, at the core of our belief is the idea that if you put lots of people with very different skills, careers, experiences and needs in a room and let Brownian Motion take over people will move about, bump into one another and make random collisions that will spark real opportunity.

It’s happened for our members time and time again at our many and varied events. But one common theme binds these events together; the chance to network in a non-confrontational environment……

You can read the full post here.



For anyone with an interest in how to run their business more creatively. Read How Google Works.

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This is a little cracker of a book.

Written by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg who were both with Google from almost its outset in around 2001 and rose through the ranks to become CEO and Senior Vice President respectively.

In it they tell us how to manage “smart creatives”, typically engineers and coders in their world but smart creatives can be found right through an organisation as they are the people that think about problems in all sorts of areas.

It has a surprisingly lighthearted tone for an American business book and manages to make light of what is a pretty dry subject.

Although some of the anecdotes and tales of the creation of things like the Google Driverless Car, Gmail, Google +, and Google Maps have you thinking “well it’s OK for Google to do this given their vast resources and unrepresentative company culture” (drilled down from the very top) you also find yourself saying “why not”  a lot.  Why shouldn’t I aspire to, and initiate, a business culture in my organisation that is egalitarian, meritocratic, relatively non hierarchical despite its hugeness.

I know for sure I’ve tried to do this wherever I have had any influence over this sort of thing.

The book shares real world examples of cultural good practice, how to enhance staff retention and how to celebrate failure.  It demonstrates a great deal of the benefits of Lean business thinking and Agile working, where speed is of the essence, and it builds to something of a climax in the sections on communication and innovation – 20 percent time where employees get to work on an initiative of their own, outside their core work stream – this is what really drives innovation at Google.

For me though, the most interesting aspect of the book is the dissemination of how Google fights for its unique culture.

It’s a great read and I recommend it wholeheartedly.



How to start a movement…

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In these days of online brand adoption where speed is of the essence and scaling is what tech brands most need, creating a movement is an essential for brands.

Movements need leaders (the brand owner or CEO) but more importantly they need followers and early adopters and mavens who will ignite the movement.

Here’s a great example of one from Derek Sivers’ TED Talk.

http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_how_to_start_a_movement?language=en



Marketing Star Awards
April 17, 2015, 10:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

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One of the things I do a lot is write marketing and business awards entries.  So I was delighted this morning to read the shortlist for the Scottish Marketing Star Awards.

Without betraying confidence or going into specifics my papers garnered 11 nominations and 5 indirect nominations across 5 different clients and case studies.  Obviously most of the credit goes to the work but that doesn’t always translate into goods stories and good stories is what attracts the judges.

It was tough writing all those papers in Jan/Feb but seems to have paid off.



Relax. You’re only a brand.
April 29, 2014, 8:48 am
Filed under: advertising, brands, creativity, marketing, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

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Dave Trott’s blog post in Campaign today is one of the best I’ve read in a very long time.

Trotty has the knack of getting to the nub of an argument and making his point eloquently and, well, pointedly.

In this he talks about how the Movember movement, when in its infancy, approached a Prostate charity to offer them the proceeds of their fundraising and asking for endorsement to do so.  They told them they were a serious charity and this was just silly.  (They were essentially ‘above’ it.)

They went elsewhere and have now raised $300million for the second choice (Prostate Research).

The lack of spontaneity in marketing, or the strict adherence to brand guidelines, the unwillingness to take chances, to act like humans act with the occasional throwing of caution to the wind infuriates me at times because great ideas, like this one, are passed over.

My ‘favourite’ response to unorthodoxy?

“Oh I don’t think we could do that.  It’s too creative.”

Well, tell that to the marketing manager at an unknown and struggling Prostate Cancer charity .

 



The new 60 Watt website.
April 2, 2014, 8:49 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

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My long term client and friend, Iain Hawk, of 60 Watt,  has been crafting his new website for some time now and finally it has been revealed.

It’s certainly minimal and in a lovely, simple way.

The four case studies are amongst the finest written you will ever stumble upon.

(Pete Mill’s pen on fire.)

Do enjoy them please.



How the Australian’s deal with Truantism
January 31, 2014, 1:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Good work.




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