Posts in Truth & Spectacle
Podcast: Katharina Wittgens uncovers the truth about fluffy towels, eye implants and brand purpose

Katharina is a Business Psychologist and the Managing Director at InnovationBubble. She chatted to Alex about the difference between truth and purpose, the importance of getting your values right from the beginning, how fluffy towels effect your travel plans, and eye implants.

The InnovationBubble are a business consultancy who use behavioural science to understand how organisations and brands really work.

She’s advised companies like Virgin Atlantic, Beauty Pie and Habito on finding the hidden psychological influences that affect their business strategies.

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Podcast: Jonathan McKay from Girl Effect talks about using brands to create a better world
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Jonathan McKay joins Ivan Pols and Alex Mecklenburg to discuss how Girl Effect use brands to improve the lives of girls around the world, and the role of truth and spectacle in reaching them.

Jonathan is the Senior Director of Create at Girl Effect, who were founded by the Nike Foundation in 2004, and today are an independent creative non-profit working from nine global locations and active in over 50 countries.

Apologies for the patchy sound quality. We’re still enthusiastic podcast amateurs. But in the spirit of getting an MVP done, we thought we’d share it.


Visit Girl Effect for more detail about their work.

Podcast: Silas Amos talks about cheering the world up with ink, remixing design, brand truths and lies
Artwork by Sir Peter Blake from a project with Silas Amos and HP.

Artwork by Sir Peter Blake from a project with Silas Amos and HP.

Silas Amos joins Ivan Pols and Alex Mecklenburg to discuss his ideas and experiences about truth and spectacle in design.

Silas is a designer and design strategist who has worked with Budweiser, HP, Eve Sleep, and Unilever. He does some wonderful collaborations with artists like Sir Peter Blake and the Yarza Twins.

Apologies for the patchy sound quality. We’re still enthusiastic podcast amateurs. But in the spirit of getting an MVP done, we thought we’d share it.


See more work at silasamos.com.


Creativity is dead! Long live create!
This a wonderfully (un)chained piece of graffiti from Mexico City. I love the duck.

This a wonderfully (un)chained piece of graffiti from Mexico City. I love the duck.

These are interesting times for the creative industry.

Traditional hotshot agencies are protecting their creative turf and talent pool with statements like BBH’s Sir John Hegarty that the in-house model is for “boring creatives”.

Big agencies are watching their bottom lines get squeezed into oblivion (read Madison Ave Manslaughter) and responding with aggressive resizing (Ogilvy) and mergers (Wunderman Thompson).

Old holding companies like WPP are streamlining to become a “creative transformation company”, while new holding companies like S4 Capital and You and Mr Jones are built on the idea that data drives creativity.

Not to mention management consultancies like Accenture who have seen the value of delivering creative assets, not just business services.

Organisations of all sorts are experimenting with in-house creative services, or subcontracted units of agencies, or communities of creative collectives, with various degrees of success.

The CMO of RBS has said that clients “can’t do creative communication”, yet 78% of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) in 2018 had an in-house agency.

So, are they all failing at their jobs?

With so many opinions about what is and isn’t creative, who is right?

After 18 years as a creative at Ogilvy and adam&eveDDB I co-founded a consultancy called Truth & Spectacle to see what creativity in business could become.

A big part of my journey outside of the traditional creative industry has been working with an award winning tech company called what3words.

Over the last two years what3words has successfully scaled up to create most of its marketing, brand design and product design in-house; and we’ve had the same debates everyone else is having about the quality of work, striking the balance between pragmatism and belief, attracting and keeping talent, outsourcing and in-housing.

what3words x Airbnb with the reindeer tribes in Northern Mongolia in 2018. Photo by Chris Sheldrick.

How has a tech company like what3words become good at creating?

Early on the management team understood the impact of storytelling on the company’s value and sales, and invested in their own people to improve that skill.

There’s a studio but there is no “creative department”, creativity is the responsibility of everyone in the business.

what3words is confident in telling its core story through everything it does, whether it’s through products, sales conversations, video content, PR, or event posters.

And finally, we’re comfortable challenging our best ideas and experiment constantly to be fit for purpose.

When management consultancy McKinsey looked at the correlation between creativity and financial performance they found that more creative firms outperform their peers, so it seems to be more important than ever.

I believe we could do with less narrow minded rhetoric about who owns creativity and concentrate more on how we’re going to create.

In these interesting times it’ll take open minds to help the industry and discipline flourish in every organisation.

What do you think?

 
Creating a User Experience for Everyone

This is a video of a talk I gave at the Interact UX Conference which was held at The British Museum (///orders.behind.tanks) in October 2018.

I have the pleasure of being the Creative Director of what3words and presentations to a specialist audience give me a great opportunity to look at what I do from a different perspective. In this case, User Experience.

For me, the definition of UX is simply everything a company says and does.

But in reality “everything” is incredibly complex to manage, so how do we do it at what3words and what have we learned?

I explain how a 3 word address works, the design decisions that we’ve made in order to make it a global standard, how we work with voice, and show people around the world use the system.

It’s amazing what people can create with a few simple words.

Thanks to Henry and Nomensa for the invitation and for producing this video.

City Hall Digital Leadership
City Hall has been piloting a digital leadership programme, starting with senior teams, in partnership with @doteveryoneuk
— Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer London City Hall

Alex has been hard at work with DotEveryone and London City Hall on their digital leadership programme. She's having a fantastic time working with people who really care about leading with digital understanding and responsibility. New cohorts start in September 2018.

👏🏼 👏🏼 👏🏼 great work @petite_a who’s leading this programme for us at @doteveryoneuk - building understanding of digital and responsible leadership across the senior team at the GLA - it would be great to see more Mayoral teams do this.
— @CassieRobinson, Strategic Design Director DotEveryone

We can't wait to see how the programme goes from strength to strength.

Female Founders Program at PwC
Image: Kinga Incze

Image: Kinga Incze

Our very own Alex (fifth from the right) was a coach and speaker at PwC's first Female Founders Programme

Partnering with Blooming Founders, its designed to help startups scale in the B2B space.

It was an excellent day - so much energy, dedication, authenticity and openness. Made my week. So many shared stories and shared ambition.
— Alex Mecklenburg