On Monday 6th July 2015 at DigitasLBi’s Brick Lane offices we held the third ever Innovation Stories – Innovation Social’s annual premium event.  The event was a sell-out with 150 people popping in to hear case studies of Innovation from the UK communications and start-up industry.  Source made a wonderful wrap-up video which you can watch here

Nadya, co-founder of Innovation Social, kick-started the event introducing Innovation Social is a ‘support group’ for people in Innovation that was founded in 2012 and is the little sister to the wonderful Creative Social. 

Introductions done we invited Jonny Spindler CIO of AMV, Richard Fearn founder of The Friday Club and Alex Jenkins Editor of Contagious to discuss the evolution of innovation.  We tackled five key questions from definitions of innovation to whether the future looks bright for innovation in communications.  Rather kindly both Campaign and The Drum did write-ups of the panel – Campaign’s piece summarises some of the key points and The Drum has done a more comprehensive review.

Michael Johnston, is Strategy Partner at Hirsch & Mann - the physical/digital innovation company – and also a graduate of St Martin’s Innovation Management MA.  His contentious premise was that Marketing cannot do Innovation for three key reasons:

-        It works in a market that exists

-        Capabilities become disabilities as marketeers only sell what they do

-        They focus on TODAYS customers’ needs as opposed to tomorrow’s

To get his full argument please do take a look at his presentation on slideshare.

Daniele kicked off his session by asking the audience whether they felt Innovation awards were flawed and a scam OR inspirational.  The audience were clearly unsure!  He then showed some examples of award winning work from Cannes and Warc and very quickly the audience changed their mind…voting full heartedly in favour of awards.  To check out his entire talk take a look at his presentation on slideshare.

I am both a huge admirer and member of Ada’s list – a list for women in technology to share advice and support.  So it was a huge pleasure to have Anjali talk about why she co-founded Ada’s list and what it set out to achieve and indeed has achieved.  I need say no more on Anjali’s talk as she has done a wonderful précis and shared her slides on her blog.  Do check it out.

Debbie is the founder of Libertine, a community of ‘diverse, eclectic and global thinkers with an insatiable curiosity for ideas, a sense of fun and adventure, and a ruthless commitment to getting shit done’.  Sounds pretty fucking cool doesn’t it?!  Debbi spoke at the second Innovation Stories where she talked about how she was about to move from a real-world publishing model to an online model. 

At this event she talked about how she wanted to create something unique within the Libertine community which lead her to found the Libertine 100.  A group of 100 women who as Debbi eloquently put it ‘is a carefully chosen community of thinkers – in our launch year, all women – with complex, beautiful and potentially world-changing ideas.’.

Debbi is such an inspirational thinker and doer – do take the time to check out both Libertine and Libertine 100. 

Jon is the definition of someone who when the world zigs, zags and was welcomed onto the stage to give advice on how to best get your talk accepted by SXSW.  In 5 minutes he covered the history of SXSW, his theory on real-time media and his BALLSY guide to content.  Oh and he got the audience to chuck balls at Felix from Hey Human. Jon’s talk was recorded and you can see it in all its glory, including ball throwing, on YouTube

Hamish has recently joined AOL as their UK MD and so it was perfect timing for him to join the stage at Innovation Stories and give us an insight into AOL – the oldest start-up in town.  AOL, as we all know, were one of the first Internet Pioneers but post the TimeWarner merger suffered a decline.  However in the past 5 years they have seen a huge resurgence with the purchase of Huffington Post, the Microsoft deal as well as possessing some of the best adtech in town.  Now AOL are on a mission to simplify the internet for consumers and creators by unleashing the world’s best builders of culture and code.  You can check out his talk on slide share for some fantastic tips on how to do Innovation.

 Jeremy and Lawrence gave an honest and open insight into why Unilever has invested in The Foundry.  They talked about the inspiration for The Foundry being that large businesses find it hard to innovate and move away from the core business and start-ups cannot scale.  Making big business and start-ups a match made in heaven.  

The Turnout, a project for AstraZeneca, is still highly confidential so no slideshare I’m afraid.  Part of DigitasLBi’s Digital Innovation Group (DIG), The Turnout aims to tackle obesity in America by using ethnographic driven insight and community lead action to design new programmes and schemes embedded within a locality.  It’s currently in trial in one town but the ambition is to roll it out across America.  Very inspirational stuff.

Alex ended the event with an emotive talk on the importance of diversity in the industry.  Alex works for Livity the youth marketing agency which employs young people from the local area – some of which are referred to them.   Alex talked about the successes of Livity where young people who want to change the world have worked on world-changing briefs.  Her key point is only through diversity can we create ideas that drive business success and improve society.  

And that was it!  Of course a few thank yous are in order!  Most importantly to Source who sponsored the event and indeed sponsor everything we do at Innovation Social. I could not wish for a better partner than Jonathan Lindon and his team as they represent everything we believe in at Innovation Social – entrepreneurial with a focus on improving the world through collaboration. And of course a huge thank you to the Creative Social team, especially Katie, who helped organise and manage the event and took all the wonderful photos!

Lastly, we had some wonderful additional write-ups of the event from a variety of people.  If you would like to know more about the event check these out:

Source's write-up of the event

Graphical notes from @Phishtitz

Tom Ollerton from We Are Social write-up of the best quotes