It was great to see a full house at last night's 'Game Changers' event at the Adam Street club. There was a good atmosphere and a palpable air of anticipation amongst the audience keen to hear from our three game changers Dan, Tim and Giles. All of which helped to make for an inspiring evening.
Dan, from six to start kicked things off with a facinating talk about how his company are helping established businesses and their accompanying models of business to adapt to some of the opportunities that technological changes are bringing about.
We Tell Stories for Penguin is a compelling example of such an opportunity being taken. Creating a new entertainmnet form out of an established form, in this case a printed book. Dan started a theme echoed throughout the evening about the importance of fast and agile methodolgies in the development of ideas. Methodologies that rely on collaboration, putting action ahead of words and a willingness to change things when they don't quite work. To finish Dan teased the audience with an upcoming project for Channel 4 called Smokescreen which is an educational idea developed in the form of a game.
Next up was Tim from Made by Many who helped expand on the idea of agile methodologies with the help of some excellent visuals and quotations. It struck me and perhaps others that in the convergence of creativity, strategy and technology some of the rigours of stratgey are being superseded by a more experimental form of creative development. One of my favourite slides helps to dramatise this idea of old linear stratgey versus a new more agile forms of startegic and creative development.
In fact in many cases I think that the strategic phase is becoming less distinct but instead fused with other disciplines in a collaborative, ever-changing process of innovation. This has to be an exciting development for all of us who practice strategy. In a world where it is possible to bring about change rapidly within a market this new form of stratgey has to be that which is coupled with action.
Finally, Giles a co-founder of Zopa gave a genuinely inspiring talk about how the brand came about, where it sought its inspiration and gave a highly relevant perspective on the current financial crisis and the plight of banks. Zopa, for those that don't know, is the world's first and largest peer to peer lending site. It enables people to borrow and lend money to each other without having to go to a bank. Perhaps not surprisingly their business has blossomed during the crisis as the banks have reined in credit to customers.
As a strategist it was reassuring to hear that at the heart of the business was a desire to serve a particualr customer typology that took a fair amount of analysis to uncover. Zopa call this group freeformers. These people tend to have irregular incomes but in every other way are a credit worthy group. It just so happens they have a lifestyle that means work isn't everything. They may work some of the year and go travelling for the remainder of the year.
Banks do not serve this group particularly well and so Zopa helps to fulfill their need for money with a servie that meets their needs. Against this we have the backdrop of a banking sector suffering from record low scores in terms of trust, something that Zopa scores exceptionally highly in. It was a compelling story and a heart warming conclusion to the evening that hosted so much homegrown talent each trying to change the game within their respective market sectors.
Thanks to them and to everyone who atteneded and don't forget to check back soon as we'll post a link to the film of the night.