No Guts,No Glory – in search of collaboration, Jef and Sheep!

No Guts, no Glory….a 2day international marketing congress at Ghent (Belgium).
A small round-up on insights, ideas, future views,  sheep, your mind, collaboration & GaGa-nomics!

Jamie Anderson (@ProfJamieA) took the stage  on stage, and gave quite a rock’n roll performance on GaGanomics. I got his message on Creativity World Forum, but he added some nice Lady Gaga Movies to show strategy doesn’t have to be complex. Her connection with her little monsters, the GaGa-fans, is a small thing, but has a huge impact. Lady Gaga owns her own social media channels, but works with 4 people who make her social strategy (not complex you said?)…so she can keep up with the clock speed of the music industry (+/- 6 months <-> 2 years in the 80-ies). Thanks to social media you can create mass intimacy!

After the rock of Jamie Anderson came the most authentic guy I ever saw on an international congress, Jef Colruyt (@Colruyt), director at Colruyt (a soft discounter in Belgium). After Jef Colruyt took the stage, I completely understood the Colruyt philosophy…Great to see how down to earth authentic he brought the Colruyt story. First quote he said: ” Change if you don’t like what you’re doing” – and that sums it up….
Colruyt always tries to act according to what they say, so failure is always looking you in the eyes. But failure is necessary (I heard that once before….could it be Creativity World Forum?!) to create vision and strategy. Create an environment in which your people get the change to grow and be part of your vision and strategy.

After I missed out the first afternoon, it was Dan Ariely (@danariely) who kicked off the second day. Dan Ariely was great on playing with our minds…since they can’t be trusted anyway.  My favored tweet said: “Don’t trust your mind, because it’s troubled with your thoughts” summed it up. this means you got to keep on experimenting to get as much information as possible to get a true view/idea on what people want. People are lazy by nature….so you have to tickle them/stir them up to get their mind going. This means people don’t have responses to your questions, they responds with the ideas you implement in their head! Even intuition can be doubted….because of the environmental noise!

Then a sheep took the stage…or where the sheep watching Jef Staes (@JefStaes)? I still don’t now for sure…but Jef got our minds going. In his own authentic way he stirred things up. His message was easy….our society creates sheep, we put them behind a fence. So the role of HRM – department is the role of sheep – management or shepherd. Our society doesn’t need sheep, it needs people with passion and talent otherwise our information society will lose its value. Up until this point I couldn’t have agreed more with Jef!
To solve this Jef Staes want 3 revolutions: No Degree Education in which you  can develop your (individual) passion and talent, No function-driven working and a pension free society.
On the second part where he gives the solutions I’m a bit sceptical….in an extreme bottom line he’s right, but getting this done in true life looks a bit over the top. But then again Jef got us (re)thinking our education, work organisation and our society! Jef Staes a man with a true passion (out of the kempen).

Before lunch Steven Van Belleghem (@steven_InSites) took the stage. I’ve seen quite a lot of his presentations the last months, but now he’s a got a new one, with an added value message. He gave us small pallets with like on one side and fail on the other so we could provide instant feedback on his talk (instead of using the twitter channel). Good idea…but this audience wasn’t ready yet to give this instant feedback (but what the hell, when Steven posed a question these pallets came in handy!). Steven has always been quite visionary on things like this…so probably next year we’ll all be doing this at each congress, talk, keynote we’re attending. That’s womma & social in real live! But back on topic….
The insights Steven gave us today where quite inspiring. He took his ideas up a level (or 2) and told us co-creation wasn’t enough.  Up until now, we tried to listen and co-created with our customers, but this isn’t enough we need to take away the fence and really start to collaborate with our customers. Outsource items to your most engaged customers (hell most of time your customers outlive your brand managers – so they’ll know a thing or two about your product). This means you got people working for you without having them on your payroll (interesting and cost efficient!). This collaboration needs to be structural, honest and open and then chance can really happen! So he’s taken his own conversation model one step further…can’t wait for his new book in 2012: The conversation company.

In the afternoon some young inspirational speakers took the stage for 9 minute speech….two things struck me; we had to wait until the second day late in the afternoon for a woman to take the stage (aren’t there any female marketeers out there who got a story to tell?) and we have the young Zuckerberg living in Belgium by the name of Davy Kestens (@davykestens). He’s only 23 years old, but he took the stage and told all 1000 marketeers present, he didn’t need them to grow his business! That’s real guts!

Futurist Mike Walsh was the last content speaker who took stage, talking about future trends.  Nothing really new, but then again he got our attention to the things that will matter in the next years. The new generation is native to technology (and no I’m not using digital native) in a way we never have been! The clock speed of our society is going faster and faster thanks to our asian friends who can develop and deliver within a month (instead of a year). So innovation is necessary, and will happen not in a clean lab-environment but innovation happens when consumers break the rules. And everything will be brought back to data….so the true question is not what did you sell your customer, but should be what data did you get from your customer. Data as the new oil….

So a nice first meet with this international marketing congress…already looking forward to the next but I truly hope they change the technical guys because they really sucked (2 days in a row! – bad sound, wrong timings, a lot of the speakers in the dark, ….). Maybe change venue (small hint)?!

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