Keynote by Stan Sthanunathan, Unilever, and Gavin Patterson, BT #MRSlive #MRX #NewMR 


Live blogged at the MRS conference in London. Any errors, bad jokes, or comments in [] are my own.

  • Gavin is CEO of BT
  • Talks about knowing when to let things go [is he foreshadowing my session?]
  • Relationship with a board is different than one with a boss, they are there to test you not train you
  • Says after 2.5 years in the job he feels more sure about what to do [see? Even CEOs don’t feel confident on day 1]
  • You never make decisions with complete confidence, rational and intuition need to be used together to make decisions, focus on making big decisions right and don’t get distracted by little decisions that don’t need your involvement, decisions are rarely binary
  • Many changes in technology and regulations but still need to make decisions, people don’t know what they’ll want or have in ten years
  • Need to anticipate unmet needs, every business has to do this, must stick to this
  • Need to develop instincts for what people want to buy, look for this in your employees, must make bets on trends like data
  • BT is only national provider but there are many alternatives, choice for consumer is significant
  • Need to make sure debates about competitions are fact based
  • Feels BT is innovative, BT has been around since 1800 [my brand new pipes are older than that!]
  • First programmable computer is BT, first fiber networks based on BT patents, reinvented itself a number of times
  • Great companies innovate at all levels of the value chain, admits their work is not done
  • It’s not individual people but a culture that sustains and reinvents itself, , over 100 000 people in the company
  • Key is not data, it’s insights, world is awash with data, need people to identify signal from noise
  • CEO is steward of business, judged on balance sheet you give your successor
  • Focus on immediate future of course but long term thinking is more important
  • Changes make over ten years might include a completely new board, new CEO, new employees
  • Talking about making data actionable [Queue my IIEX presentation :)]
  • It’s not just more data, it’s better decision making

Stan speaks!

  • Stan assures us he is not on drugs🙂
  • Curiosity plus insight to the power of revolution is when you get significant impact [what p value Stan? Or is it more about effect sizes? ]
  • Information is getting democratized, incredible access to information, information is not a competitive edge
  • How often does the person who wrote the brief forget they wrote it 6 months later?
  • Google lets you search data, demographics, geography, videos, sharing, differences by region
  • Information is not power, answering the right question is what matters
  • Facebook took 8 years, uber took 5 years to get to 50billion market, they disrupt live on daily basis and add value
  • People have increasing expectations but resources are finite
  • When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Need a big paradigm shift.
  • Business as usual is not good. YOu need business as unusual, transformational, unique, leave a lasting impression on the organization
  1. Get social or get ready to be branded ain’t-social
  2. Data commoditized, insights democratized, actions are the edge
  3. Get visual or get impaired, fact filled versus fact based, tell a story, make people feel to make a difference, can’t take big action without feeling
  4. Innovate don’t renovate, renovate is easy because it’s polishing the turd
  5. Become a master of metamorphosis, adapt and change ongoing, everyday, practice everyday
  6. Digitize and humanize, can get lost in mass of data, taming data is table steaks
  7. Think bi-polar, normal curve is becoming less so, it’s inverting, more polarized, a single questionnaire can’t target millennials and seniors, forget consistent questionnaires and focus on consistent feedback
  8. It is too risky not to take risks, we need to be much more bold, taking risk is not an option, someone else will take that risk instead
  9. Never underestimate the power of n=1, brands are being controlled more by people, influences who can make or break a brand, just a few of these people, digital environment lets us engage with influences one on one – think Ghandi, mother Theresa, Martin Luther King 
  10. Real time is the new currency, time lapse from question to answer gives us ADD
  • What do you do with those Ten Commandments, direction to travel to destination
  • Losers use the past to predict the future, winners shape the future
  1. Nerds will rule [yay!], math, science and coding, learn these yesterday, nerds have always been here, always essential
  2. Technology is the tail that wags the dog
  3. Boutiques will flourish and this will accelerate, millenials want to be entrepreneurs with small companies
  4. Integrators are going to emerge, often get interpretation in silos but that will become an exception, agencies may be protective of their data but integrators will put data sources together and have greater insights
  5. Scale becomes a liability, scale prevents being nimble
  6. Quantified self, measures emotions and other parameters, body becomes a source of data, don’t ask people what they did, just ask their devices
  7. Artificial intelligence is going to take over, follow ray kurzwell, human intelligence is always required, but what do we use human intelligence for
  8. I have the answer, what is your question
  9. RIP briefs, dynamic research doesn’t work like this
  10. Insights in hours and not days or weeks, this will be the norm [but this will only work if the analyst already knows the business inside and out]
  • Are we ready mentally and from the skills perspective, do we have the guts to make a difference, cane we do it before it is done to use
  • If you don’t have a seat at the table, you are on the menu. It is never the research technique.
  • Change or be changed.
  • Paragon – coming together end of this month, more joining, unique position to collect data without being overwhelming – http://www.paragonpartnerships.com
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