Digital Doughnut – with sprinkles and everything!

Great day today at Digital Doughnut event at the RGS in Kensington.  I missed the start and end due to diary clashes, but managed to see the bulk of it.

The theme was Inspiration: The Life Cycle of Ideas

My highlights from the day are …

Tom Ollerton from We are Social reminds us that in digital we need to start with the social conversation, listen to it; rather than rush off and develop content for the channel which doesn’t hit the spot.  His great examples were work with Evian and Wimbledon Wiggle as well as some Marmite work which by the end of it had created an underground cult.  Not a joke!

Matthew Patten from the Mayor’s Fund for London did a good advert for Roast in Borough Market.  Lovely place!  No, more seriously, he told us with humour and intelligence why we cannot squash ideas.  We need to invest in people who have ideas, and at the moment we’re not.  Banks, government, I hope you’re listening.  If you are reading this, search out the idea for micro charitable donation via transport – A Penny For London.  One thing he’s spot on about too: things are only inspired innovation in hindsight!

Andy Hinder from Steel channeled his inner Steve Jobs and encouraged us all to stay hungry, stay foolish.  (Let me tell you, quite a challenge for a lawyer!).  His analysis of left brain/right brain and how we create was really interesting.  Still much sense in Ogilvy’s cry to have unrestricted thinking.  Listening to Andy, I think we can all get a sense of how advertising is not about selling or buying, but about making something interesting, so that you want to find out more.  He reminds us of the origins of the Think Different campaign: what apple stood/stands for is that people with passion can change the world.  Well, I think we can all do a little bit of that, we don’t have to aim for the moon, just our own personal moon.  What we cannot let happen, according to Andy, is create environments where fear eats creativity.  Quite right: mix it up, get out of silos and do great things.

Ian MacArthur at Once We Were started his talk by telling us he’d fallen under a tube train yesterday and so we were sharing the first day of the rest of his life.  Blimey!  He passionately argued that for principles we should strive to live by: 1.  stay free to define differently, 2. remove the pressure to have ideas and ideas will be everywhere (e.g. the shower, right!) 3. it’s OK to innovate with confidence alone – don’t get caught up in internal politics and company rules and 4. understand and respect everyone’s creativity. Yes to all of those Ian!

Ian’s closing snippet was best: if we each have an apple and give the other that apple, each of us only walks away with one apple.  But if we each have an idea and give that idea to the other, we each walk away with two ideas.  Magic.

Eileen Brown of Amastra kicked ass as usual, opening with a storming assertion that most content is crap.  She might be right!  She skillfully led us through a reflection of the status quote which boils down to this: stop focusing on filling up ‘channels’ with ‘content’ that nobody reads. Instead, aim high, aim for quality, be creative. She encouraged us all to do a Skunkworks project.  I would tend to agree and have a little one brewing myself!  Ultimately, I agree with her view that it’s all about sticking your neck out – just remember to occasionally stick it back in too, I say.

Finally, my other take home was that the people I met all appreciated the value of early engagement of legal advice in the digital space.  Nice! 🙂



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