December 8th was the night of our second annual Christmas Curry where 35 socials gathered to drink Cobra and House Red, eat poppadoms and end the year with a hurrah! It was a fabulous if not raucous night.
Part of the tradition is to ask 5 people to talk in 5 minutes about something loosely related to innovation. And as ever the talks were brilliant and so you don't miss out - here is a quick precis...
Matt, founder of Congregation Partners, kicked off by talking about why he hates the title Innovation Director / Chief Innovation Officer. He is not against innovation per se - but rather creating a silo within organisations where only one person is responsible for innovation as opposed to the entire organisation. This is a debate that's been raging since the first Innovation Director title appeared - the fun was Matt was making the argument in front of several Innovation people. Never the less they gave Matt a big cheer - the Christmas Spirit was strong with Innovation Social that night.
Something that is very common to the Innovation Socials is their pursuit of new business ideas outside of the day to day. Last year Dan Thwaites spoke about his new gin start-up, Jam Jar Gin. This year Daniele spoke about his new venture - a designer ping pong brand called W+B. Daniele has long been passionate about Ping Pong - as well as being a mean player - and this sees the fruition of passion and business. Still in development keep a look out for it or contact Daniele directly for more information.
Jonathan Lindon, founder of Source, is another person with more than one string to his bow as he is in the process of setting up a rather different education business called Digital Futures. Described as an "educational movement seeking to harness the expertise of the industry to train and employ the young innovators, makers and doers of tomorrow." he is looking for experts to get involved to help close the digital skills gap. If you're interested you can get hold of Jonathan here.
Then it was my turn and I spoke about The Great British Diversity Experiment, something I've co-founded with Daniele, Alex Goat, Jonathan Akwue and Laura Jordan-Bambach. The communications industry is so deeply undiverse - just read The Drums diversity census for details, and The Experiment seeks to prove once and all that diversity works. The hope is that it will prove hard evidence to the industry giving it confidence to change hiring practices. The Experiment launches on 11th January at Google HQ - and if you want to get involved contact me here.
Last up was Jon Burkhart asking for support for his workshop premiering at SXSW called The Ballsy Brit's Guide To Better Brand Trolling. Jon as ever was brilliant at rallying the crowds, bringing tears to everyone's eyes and making the point that bad content (cuntent) is just not acceptable. If you're at SXSW do go watch.
Now I've purposefully not mentioned an earlier talk from Lorenzo Wood at DigitasLBi about an Innovation Workshop he held with a client recently. When asked what they thought the definition of Innovation was they paused...looked paniced...then said..."where's Dave? He knows.". Taking us full circle from Matt's talk - Innovation should never be a silo and the sole responsibility of one person. Because you never know when Dave might be on the loo.
A huge thank you to Jonathan Lindon and the Source team for sponsoring the Christmas Curry and Innovation Social through-out 2015 - you are AMAZING. Thanks for making 2015 such a great year for Innovation Social. And a big thank you to Will Harvey for the photos!