Something very significant happened to the digital industry this week. Not just the controversial passing of a new Investigatory Powers Bill, nor the fact that Channel 4 almost lost the right to screen Black Mirror, nor even The Pope deciding to reach millennials on Instagram.
No. This was the week Thinking Digital – the North East’s phenomenally well-loved art-meets-geekery conference – finally came to London. And it was quite an entrance.
A fabulous venue (the very chic Ham Yard Hotel in Soho), sublime organisation and – as ever – an exceptionally brilliant line-up of speakers (including Twitter’s Bruce Daisely, above).
Here are some things I learnt…
1. As we get ever more connected we don’t get ever more transparent or more open – we get ever more entangled. VUCA is the new military acronym for this ever more connected world: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. (David Siegel)
2. The management consultancy approach to business (theory, research, insights and planning) is redundant. We’re in a new era of hunches, probabilities, experiments and weak signals. Turn your factory into a laboratory. The last thing you should do is optimise. (David Siegel)
3. We’re moving to a life beyond the screen. The screen is just a temporary interface. (Joanna Montgomery)
4. The language we use, the way we speak is changing as live video and live content become increasingly important: Vines, Periscopes and gifs continue to rise at Twitter. (Bruce Daisley)
5. Modern ‘work’ is a Victorian construct. We’ve got a real problem with productivity: in our obsession with efficiency we forget to ask are we being effective? (David Coplin)
6. We don’t make decisions through rational optimisation but through exclusion of the worst: we choose the least bad. Our brains are calibrated to avoid catastrophe rather than optimise (see cats with cucumbers). When faced with options, we choose the ‘avoid catastrophe’ strategy: we follow the path (because it’s unlikely to go off a cliff). (Rory Sutherland)
7. That’s why nudge marketing works: Wagamama warning us our food orders will arrive at different times, Five Guys giving us an ‘extra’ scoop of fries rather than make the cup bigger and San Pellegrino adding a little foil hat to soda. (Rory Sutherland)
8. It’s no surprise meditation and mindfulness have roared through the business world: that’s the delicious paradox of slow: slow down and you can deal with fast. (Carl Honore)
And on that note…
After my third Thinking Digital in a year I’m beginning to think so digitally that I really could do with a little analogue lie-down!
Thanks Herb Kim and crew for another outstanding event. Look forward to doing it all again in May.