The final Glug London event of 2017 was a cracker. We heard from people who have broken the mould as disruptors – and how they’ve navigating their post-disruption worlds.
If you’ve not come across Glug before, they are an international movement that brings together creative communities around the world through informal ‘not-working’ and talks from generally awesome people.
So how do you disrupt – and keep disrupting?
- Embrace the scary and the difficult – it inspires creativity.
- Hire great people and keep investing in them.
The talks kicked off with Tom and Alastair from Giffgaff, who talked about building a mobile network that put people front and centre. As well as empowering their customers, they’ve made sure they’ve focused on the people working for them. – so they’ve thought a lot about building a culture that works. They talked about the importance of not relaxing – culture is not a tick box. Keep listening, ask for feedback, and keep working on it.
They also talked about how they’ve approached hiring, focusing on how each new hire can not only fit in but add value to the organisation. They look to the All Blacks for inspiration – creating a team of people that works together rather than focusing on individual glory.
Next up was Ian Cameron from the weirdly wonderful Bompas & Parr, who talked about how they developed their offering from luxury jelly (complete with jelly models of St Pauls that were handed round the room), and on to a diverse offering of unique and sometimes surreal experiences. They’ve always been driven by creating the unexpected, but as they’ve grown, Ian talked about how they’ve continued to disrupt. He highlighted that disruption is hard – and it shouldn’t stop being hard. When meeting objection, you need to have a clear sense of the underlying messaging you’re trying to convey, and be prepared to adjust and reassess to produce something extraordinary.
Next up was Hugh Thomas, who took us on the warts-and-all journey of Ugly Drinks. Making their first foray into the market, they had early success getting their first drink into big stores like Selfridges, and were slowly picking up steam. Until their entire stock went off overnight.
What followed was two years of working tirelessly to keep money coming in, and fine-tune their brand into the polished product it is today. Hugh shared what kept things moving during a time of uncertainty. The team have never hired anyone they weren’t sure was right for them– they’ve maintained a vigorous recruitment process and have spent a lot of time hiring. Though time-consuming, they now have a rock-solid team that have stayed together.
Hugh also talked about the importance of purpose, referring to the concept of Ikigai – which translates to what gets you out of bed in the morning. This purpose is what has driven the team to keep working, even when things weren't going so well - and go on to disrupt their industry.
Last up to speak was Nils from Uncommon Creative Studio, on the advertising industry, and how it is being disrupted – whether the industry wants it to be or not.
The rise of the ‘skip ad’ button and falling engagement with adverts are symptomatic of failure – but for Nils, this failure drives creativity and disruption. And this is where Uncommon was born, taking a fresh approach and delivering ideas that would traditionally be scrapped in a client pitch. As well as delivering a new approach to design, Nils has made the 'uncommon' decision to create a 'non-contract' for his team signed only with a handshake. Still dealing with the fall out from an aggressively enforced non-compete, the choice to leave his employees with contractual freedom sends a powerful message of trust that has been repaid with loyalty and enthusiasm.
Thanks to Malin, Elkie and the Glug team, the speakers, and to everyone who came along.