Innovation in Retail Forum

Mary Queen of Shop

Mary Queen of Shops

I was pleased to be invited to speak for the Omnicom “Innovation in Retail Forum”, an even for the agency’s CEOs and senior managers, along with key clients. The event was organised by DAS Global in a rather exemplary fashion and held at the Wolff Olins offices in Kings Cross/Islington, overlooking Regents Canal.

The line-up was very impressive and a little intimidating.

Chris Sanderson, Strategy and Insight Director of the Future Laboratory opened proceedings with a clear and stimulating articulation of “prosumers” – today’s demanding and knowledgeable consumers.

Mary Portas, “Queen of Shops” (pictured) gave a really engaging and characterful articulation of the need for innovation, engagement and collaboration in retail. I’d obviously seen Mary on ‘telly’ and so had certain expectations of her presentation. These in no way prepared me for such an open, amusing and highly engaging 40 minutes. I was totally won over.

Dr Jonathan Reynolds of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management (at Said Business School) gave a fast-paced and and well-supported presentation on ‘location’ in retail and queried its importance in future.

I followed with a presentation on opportunities for ecommerce in the ‘network age’ (a development of my presentations on epiphenomenology, magic and the network/attention economy).

The event was fast-paced, intense and fun. It ran very smoothly and this was largely due to the intensive work by Danny and Alice (you know who you are!) in detailed advanced preparation with the speakers. Not only did we have several phone conversations to flesh out the content, tone and approach of each session, but great care was taken over the interaction of the presentations. The result of this advance work was that there was a good flow, negligible overlap and good thematic reinforcement.

I’ve taken a lead from this and will be emulating this approach for the October InternetRetailing 2009 conference!

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