Ideation and innovation with Duncan Wardle | On Top of PR podcast

By On Top of PR

On Top of PR podcast: PR research with guest Duncan Wardle and show host Jason Mudd episode graphicLearn how to challenge the rules of your industry and keep your team creative, imaginative, curious, and intuitive with our guest, Duncan Wardle. Wardle is the former head of innovation and creativity at Disney. He now brings his Disney experience to audiences around the world, helping people capture unlikely connections that lead to both disruptive thinking and revolutionary ideas.

 

Guest:

Our episode guest is Duncan Wardle, the former head of innovation and creativity at Disney. He now brings his Disney experience to audiences around the world, helping people capture unlikely connections that lead to both disruptive thinking and revolutionary ideas.

 

Topic: 

Innovation is no longer about thriving; it’s about survival. You must be creative to stay relevant.

 

 

Five things you’ll learn from this episode:

  1. How might we challenge the rules of our industry?

  2. How might we prioritize innovation at our company?

  3. What steps leaders can take to encourage creativity?

  4. Why should we spend a day with consumers of our products and services?

  5. Why is playfulness important to your creative strategy?

Quotables:

  • “If you think we’re going back to business as usual, you’re in for a nasty surprise.” — @duncanjwardle

  • “Now is the time to take time, challenge, and pivot yourself. Take all the rules of your industry, list those rules, and ask, ‘what if?’” — @duncanjwardle

  • “If you’re only looking at big data, you’re looking at the same data your competition has.” — @duncanjwardle

  • “Go and work in the front lines of the brand you represent one day a year. And go spend a day in the living room of one of your consumers. You’ll be amazed by what you find.” — @duncanjwardle

  • “The four traits you were born with — creativity, imagination, curiosity, and intuition — will not be programmed into artificial intelligence any time in the next decade.” — @duncanjwardle

If you enjoyed the episode, would you please leave us a review?

 

About Duncan Wardle

As Head of Innovation & Creativity at Disney, Duncan helped teams at Disney Parks, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar, Imagineering, and Animation to innovate, creating magical new storylines and amazing experiences for consumers across the globe.

 

He now brings his Disney experience to audiences around the world, delivering a series of keynotes, masterclasses, and ideation forums that help people capture unlikely connections and lead to both disruptive thinking and revolutionary ideas.

 

He is a multiple TEDx speaker and has been featured in many publications including Fast Company, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and more. He teaches innovation and creativity master classes at Yale University, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, and University of Florida. He also holds the American Citizen Award presented at the White House, an honorary MBA and honorary doctorate from Edinburgh University, and the Duke of Edinburgh Award presented by Queen Elizabeth.

 

Contact Resources:

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Transcript:

 

- Welcome to On Top of PR where we share how to use the power of PR to build a strong brand and great reputation for your company. Here's your host, Jason Mudd.

 

- Welcome to On Top of PR. I'm your host Jason Mudd and today I'm joined with my friend Duncan Wardel. Duncan is the former Vice President of innovation and Head of Creativity at Disney. Duncan has helped many teams figure out how to be creative in the workplace, which is not only an ongoing challenge, but even more of a challenge when those work teams might be working remote or spread out. At our agency, we had the pleasure of meeting Duncan in May of 2016. And literally since that time, we have been following his model and his process for innovation and ideation, including meeting once a week on every Wednesday afternoon for 90 minutes to come up with great ideas and solutions for our clients. I can tell you that it's been a game changer for our agency and really helped us to develop some new ideas for our clients and really wow them with some of those ideas. Duncan, welcome to the show we are so pleased to have you here today.

 

- Wow, that's a bit of an introvert man. If I'd known you were Jason Mudd I'd attended damn months ago . It's delight is lovely be there .

 

- Thanks Duncan, we're glad to have you. So tell me, obviously COVID-19 has changed your life quite a bit. Normally you're globetrotting, traveling the world and helping companies and organizations learn how to think bigger. What have you been doing the last few weeks?

 

- Jigsaws dude, I'm on my sixth one. And let me tell you, . And when he said here's the thing, right? I went to Target store a couple of weeks back before this lock down. And you knew the toilet roll aisle was gonna be empty so you didn't even bother going in. You knew the kitchen paper aisle was going to be, empty. So I'll get a jigsaw, it was designed . There's obviously been a rush on jigsaw . There was an article in New York Times last Sunday about the stock price in this company that makes jigsaws just gone up like 200%. So see there's a pivot right there. I mean, but think and, look at what's happened in the last four weeks. God knows we're all frightened we're all scared. But then some amazing things come out of it, there was a very small distillery up in Western Canada immediately took their distillation process and started making hand sanitizer. There was those two guys, I'm sure you read about them in Lombardi in Italy, where which, of course has been a nightmare. They're at a hospital saying, hey, people are dying. We don't have pumps for ventilators and we couldn't get them fast enough. So they just brought in a 3D printer. And they knocked out I think it was 24 pumps in six hours for $1 apiece. And then there was a high school in Japan realized they weren't gonna get their high school graduation ceremony, which I think is obviously a travesty for any high school senior I think that's very sad. But so there's the low key version and the high key version. Our local high school here in Hunter's Creek camp in Orlando, they got in their car house, they told everybody we're gonna be coming past your houses at 10am, please come out wave and cheer for our high school seniors, and everybody on the street came out. And I was getting tearful, for God's sake had nothing to do with it. But then there was this high school in Japan where they just got hold of one of the kids who knows Minecraft really well. And they recreated the gym just exactly as it would be. They took all their high school pictures out of the yearbook and the pages of the pictures and recreated the high school graduation ceremony in Minecraft. So there's been some amazing innovations in the last couple of weeks. But I guess, if you call it the silver lining, the number one barrier to innovation is often considered to be time to think. And guess what, we got plenty of it now. And it's about pivoting your business really quickly. And just the analogy I would give you is I don't believe and I'm very saddened by it. I genuinely believe I'll never shake hands with another human being again. Now take that and multiply it by every industry. So for example, okay, anybody who hadn't discovered Amazon App until two weeks ago is probably now a rabid user. Think about Uber Eats and the success that they'll be enjoying in the last few weeks. Just all these industries that were in slow decline anyway, if we think we're going back to business as usual, you're in for a nasty surprise. So now is the time to take time, pivot, and challenge yourself. Take all the rules of your industry, as we did with your your team a couple of years back and list those rules and use that tool code that we call What-If, and I'm happy to go through that if you like. It's about taking a really hard look at your industry of all the things you've always done. And why do we do it that way? 'Cause we've always done it that way. Well, guess what, stopped doing it that way, or you're gone.

 

- Absolutely, now is certainly a great time for companies to rethink everything they've been doing. One, it's probably mandatory. And two, there's more innovation opportunities and more willingness to try new things for sure. So, we have been using dispersed teams for several years now. And so we were fortunate to be ahead of that learning curve, compared to so many other colleagues who we're really struggling with it. But I think, a lot of creative agencies I've heard them say or even just creative departments or services would say, well, we have to be together in order to produce creative work. And you and I both know that's not true. There may be certain tools or certain techniques that you use to collaborate together, that you can't when you're dispersed, but that just requires more creativity and what tools you can use. Also, Duncan, tell me if you agree that it's good to have people representing multiple geographic areas to come to the table--

 

- Yes, look, here's what's going to happen. I worked for Disney for 30 years. And like any other big corporate enterprise, somewhere between here and Christmas, they're gonna very quickly understand all the people who went back of house don't actually need to come into an office anymore, because they're gonna to be fighting for survival like everybody else. And if they can save 50% of their corporate rent, you think they weren't? So there's lots of things we can say we couldn't do virtually. I didn't think I could do a successful brainstorm virtually until last week, guess what? I got on a call with a group of people from SAP on four different continents, 10 different countries, God knows how many different time zones. We use their virtual breakout rooms, and we use their virtual whiteboards and was it as successful as in person? You know what? I think it was pretty damn close. Actually, did we learn a lot? Will we change? Yes, of course we will. I think the tool I was referring to earlier on I call it What-If, it's about taking the rules of your industry and challenging them. It was created by a man called Walt Disney in 1940, when he had the film called Fantasia, which was a animation set to classical music. But he wanted heat to come too into the theater during the scene with fire, and he wanted mist pumped in during the Sorcerer's Apprentice when there was water around. And the theater owners obviously said no Walt too extensive we will never do that. So Walt listed all the rules of showing his movie in the movie theater is dark, it's dirty. I have to go at a set time. I have to sit in a seat to watch the previews. I Walt can't control the environment. He said, well, what if I could control the environment? But that was not provocative enough, the more provocative and absurd your What-If question, the further out of your river of thinking you will get. What is the river of thinking? The biggest barrier to innovation is everybody listening to this podcast and me and you. The more experience we have, the more expertise we have, the more reasons we know whether a new idea won't work so we just shoot it down. But this tool is a genius at getting you out of that river of thinking. We're being asked now with COVID-19 to get out of our river thinking and think differently. And it's hard 'cause we're really good at what we do. But here's one example of one tool. So instead of saying, how might we control the environment, he said, what if I took my movies out of the theater? Remember, that was a stupid idea in 1940? How the hell are you going to do that? Well, if I protect my movies out of the theater, well, clearly they couldn't be two dimensional anymore. They'd fall over and people wouldn't be able to see them. I don't have screens outdoors. Well, wait a minute. What if I made them three dimensional? Well if I made them three dimensional, I'd have to have people play the characters. Well, if I people play the characters, I couldn't have Cinderella live next to Davy Crockett or Jack Sparrow people wouldn't be immersed into her story. Uuu, I know, I'll create a different land. Oh wait a minute, I'll call it Disneyland. The biggest creative suggestion of the 20th century. Fast forward to 2005, the founder of Netflix had $130 worth of late fees on his Blockbuster Video, as we all did. And he listed the rules of going to Blockbuster. You had to drive to a physical store. You have to be there during opening hours. You can only get three at a time. You have to be kind of rewind, I never get the one I want on Open Day weekend. And he took one role. I have to drive to a physical store and he said, what if there was no physical store? And he looked around the world and sure enough, YouTube had been around for a while. They were streaming amateur content. He said, well, what if I just stream professional content? I'll do a deal with all the movie studios. Nobody will have to drive anywhere. My store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, everybody will get the movie they want on Opening day weekend. I'll cut the range law for 24 hours, nobody will pay a late fee. I'll call it Netflix. I'll take my idea to Blockbuster Video five times. They'll turn me down five times and I'll take them out of business in less than five years. Now it's easy to look at Disney and Netflix and say, oh, but I'm a small entrepreneur, I'm a small company. That's a cop-out. Because Walt was bankrupt in 1940 as was Reed Hastings in 2005. But I'll give you a small example to bring it to life. There was a very small company in Great Britain in the late 70s, they used to make glasses that we drink out of. And they found when the glasses were being wrapped and shipped, there was too much breakage and no much production. So they went down to the shop floor, and they watched their employees and they listed the rules. 26 employees, conveyor belts, glasses packed in cardboard boxes. 12 glasses to a box glasses being wrapped in newspaper, employees reading newspaper. And somebody asked a relatively provocative What-If question, what if we put their eyes out? Well, that's against the law, and it's not very nice. But because they had the courage to ask the provocative question, the lady sitting next to him got out of her river of thinking said, wait a minute, why don't we just hire blind people? So they did, production went up over 20%. Breakage went down over 70%. And the British government gave them a 50% salary subsidy for hiring people with disabilities. So step one, just look at your industry and list the rules without thinking about them. Step two, take one of those rules, And in less than two minutes, come up with as many absurd What-If suggestions and ideas as you can. And then step three, pick one of those and use it as stimulus to develop a new idea. You'll be amazed at just taking the rules of your industry, picking one of them that's always been there and say, what is that rule no longer applied? It gives you enormous liberty to think very differently. I mean, without going through the whole story, two guys walked into a bar, and sounds like a joke. I believe it was Chicago, it was about 2010. It was raining outside they'd had too much to drink. They couldn't get a cab because it was raining. And one of them turned to the other one said, What if every car was a cab? Well guess what? They went on to create Uber. So it's a remarkably powerful tool, don't underestimate its value. We've all got rules. We also we can't break them. Well, guess what? If you don't break them now you never will. 'Cause now it's time to break the rules.

 

- Totally agree, Duncan, thank you for sharing. Those are great stories and perfect examples for our listeners to, challenge their thinking and ways they can start challenging their thinking. Let's talk directly to Duncan our audience for On Top of PR. It's typically going to be the Chief Marketing Officer or Marketing Leader at a national brand. Dozens of employees working for them and in marketing, maybe most of them are located under one roof at normal times. Maybe they have people in different markets working with them. What are the steps that, they could be taking today to demonstrate as a leader? What could they be doing for their people to harbor and create a culture of encouraging creativity?

 

- Well, I think the biggest thing is, if I would ask people, one of the tips is like you be curious, always be curious. If you ask people who goes to their favorite restaurant four or five times a year, obviously before the crisis, now we all read the menu. We read the appetizers. we read the main courses. We listen to the desserts, and then what do we do? We order the same thing we order every time. We know if I ask people to put their hands up who sleeps on the same side of the bed every night? Everybody puts their hand up. Even in a hotel room, we put our hands up. We're creatures of habit. If I asked you when you commute home, and you get to the front door, have you ever sort of looked at it and told God how did I get here? Yeah, we've all done it, why? 'Cause on the way home, your brain shut down, it physically shut down because it knows everything you're gonna go past and so no fresh stimulus in, no new ideas out. So it is about giving your employees fresh stimulus. One of the ways you can do it is through unplanned collaboration. It was designed by Steve Jobs at Pixar. Most people think of Steve as Apple but between Apple I and Apple II Steve founded Pixar, but he founded it around the Platt principles of unplanned collaboration. And he designed the entire campus at Pixar around that philosophy, which was designed specifically to bring two people together who were not supposed to meet, to have a conversation they were not supposed to have to spark a new idea. Most marketing departments sit by discipline. The the digital marketing team sits on one floor, the social media team sits on another floor, the CRM team sits on another floor, the creative sit on another floor. I would argue it's time to get into design thinking and actually have people. So when we move, we used to work like we're related. Strategy would come up with the strategy, they pass it off to the Insights Team, they go gather the insights, they throw it to the ideation team, who would have an idea session and throw it off to the execution team. And what we watched and what lots of people one of the biggest barriers to innovation is we watch our ideas get stuck, diluted or killed as they move through the process, why? 'Cause we're working like a relay team, we're not working as a team. And so we abandon that principle and actually with a design thinking model, where we put together a team of people across discipline team of people on a given project. They all defined the strategy together. They all went out and gathered the insights together. They all idiate together and they execute together, guess what happened? Things got done, shock you!. And we all became far more consumer-centric than we had ever been. My first 20 years at The Walt Disney Company, including when I was Head of Global Public Relations, I'd never met a consumer. I was taught to implore my cappuccino machine in my system, why should I sit down from Mount Olympus and spend the day with a mere mortal consumer? Intuition, another thing you should spark in people, and I'll come back to this as to why in just a minute. But we were tasked by Disneyland Paris, how to get more people to come more often and spend more money. Well, our data told us who could afford the brand. Our data told us who had an affinity to the brand. Our data told us who'd be shopping online. But that our data told us who was a 10 out of 10 of a survey I'm coming this year for the last five years, but they hadn't come. So clearly, our data was missing something. So we went out to find out a bit more and we went out on what we call a Consumer Immersion Safari, where we go out lived with a consumer for a day. And sometimes you'll you'll see things and it's not just what they tell you it's what you see. I'm sure lots of us do focus groups. I'm not a believer of focus groups. We don't sit in houses with two-way mirrors and people spying through on us all the time. So it's not the most relaxed environment for getting it real insights out to people. When you get people in their houses, it's not just what they tell you is what you see that will confirm or deny your data. For years, we spent millions of dollars in Manhattan because we were told that if you have, a certain income level, you could afford a Disney vacation. Our data told us that therefore Manhattan would be a good place to spend our money. But actually, when you step into somebody's apartment in Manhattan realize is empty, why is it empty? 85% of my income goes on rent. Obviously you can't afford the delegation, oh no, oops!. Equally focus groups we bring in individuals. No, the real insight comes in couples. Playfully, I call it the Self Regulation Honesty Policy. If I asked a dad, what do you do at Disney? He's going to go, oh well I go on tour rides and drink beer, I'm manly man. If his wife was sitting next to him she's gonna, no, no dear, honey you went on Small World 17 times back to back last year and you really loved it. You get real honesty out of couples that you don't get out of individuals. But it's the fifth Why? It's being curious like a child. What's the number one question a child asks you? Why, why, why, why and why why? Why did they ask you? 'Cause they know you lied the first time, that's why. And they can get to the core consumer truth better than your data and better than your insights team. If you say to somebody your data, why do you visit Disney? The number one answer will be I go for the rides? Well, that tells me to spend a couple of hundred million dollars on the Capital Investment Strategy. But if I pause for a moment, and that childlike, not childish, then I say, well, wait a minute, why do you go for the rides? Well, I remember Small World. Why is that important to you? Well, I used to go with my mom. Why do you like that? It reminds me of the amusement. Well what's so important about going with your mom and listen? I take my daughter now. On the fifth why, you've just found out why she's really going. It's got nothing to do with a capital investment strategy whatsoever, and every to do with her memory and nostalgia. Well, that's a communication campaign. So again, our data told us who had an affinity to the brand, who'd been shopping online, but they hadn't come. So we thought, hmm what's stopping them from coming? So we went out and spent the day with them. And here's what we found. Now, Jason, you've got kids, right?

 

- Yes, teenagers.

 

- Right, right, close your eyes. There's a photograph of your children somewhere in your house probably in the living room, the family room, perhaps. Can you see a physical photograph? Can you see that picture at the moment?

 

- Absolutely.

 

- A particular photograph?

 

- So tell us, describe the picture for us if you would.

 

- So it's photos of my kids when they were much younger, and very playful photos.

 

- Where were they?

 

- And yeah. They were in a photo studio, actually.

 

- Okay. How old were they the day that photograph was taken?

 

- Molly was probably six and Simon, well, no, They are not quite that old. Simon was probably almost two so Molly would be now four.

 

- Okay, and how are Molly and Simon today?

 

- 16 and 14.

 

- Now, we found the same photograph and every single house we visited when we asked how old the children were in the photograph, they were everywhere from two years to 20 years old in reality. How do I know that to be true? 'Cause everybody listening to this podcast right now has the same photograph of their children in their living room. And if you're too young to have children of your own, you know that your parents do have that dorky one of you from fifth grade in the family room. That's how I know it's true. And we thought what's going on here? Do we not print photographs of our children anymore? Yes, we do, we print photographs of graduation ceremonies, weddings. So I thought there's something going on that our data is missing. So we pushed a bit harder. And here's what we found. Parents will tell you they want their children to go to kindergarten, junior school, middle school, high school, graduate, be happy, healthy and get a job. That's what we want for our kids, right? No, it's not. We actually want them, you want Molly and Simon back in that photograph when they're four and six and when you walk through the door at night, they come running, screaming towards you. They hug your legs, you fall over, somebody fats and then everybody loses it. These are the best days of our lives now. You're lucky if Molly and Simon will look up when you're coming around. So you thought, hmm, there's something here let's dig a little deeper using our intuition, we didn't have data to support it. And here's what we found by talking to these 26 mums. But I'm a dad, I can use my own intuition. They all told us essentially the same story about three bittersweet transition points that take place between a parent and a child. And once you've crossed through it, you can't go back you both want to but you can't. But I know where I was four or three. I know exactly where I was the day James was 10. It was Christmas Eve we were at Monterrey Mexico. He came around the door of Apolito's bedroom and his eyes were half full of tears, when they're just bubbling up just about to flow and he goes Papa, I say why? He goes, are you Santa Claus? And it was like, poo, I didn't see that coming, it's like a bullet. And what had hurt so much wasn't the question. It was what had just happened. Imagination gone, creativity bang, disappeared. But what he really said was, I'm not your little boy anymore, Daddy, I'm growing up. And so that was the first bittersweet transition. The second one, I know where I was. Girls listening to the podcast, you will not remember where you were that fateful day. Dads, you will. And you can answer me in a split second. I don't care if it was a year ago, 20 years ago, I know where I was. I was in the Kissimmee Loop. What's the name? Panera was on my left, Michaels is coming up on the left hand side. My daughter was on my left, the cats were on my right. It was my left hand that she dropped that Tuesday morning for the first time in public. She was 13 at the time 'cause she wouldn't hold daddy's hand in public anymore 'cause she was embarrassed. And girls you don't remember it but you can go and text to ask this evening while you're listening to podcast. You text your dad and ask. What you don't even remember happened, he does and he'll answer you in a split second exactly where he was that day. It's a seminal moment between a father and a daughter. And the last one for us. We used to drive from Central Florida up to into Orban university where she went, we would pack and unpack a third of the room. But now last year, she got her first job in New York. So we flew her up and we packed her into her apartment got everything unpacked, we hoped, we cheered, we laughed. And my wife and I got in the Uber on the way out to the airport and cried our eyes out. So there were three bittersweet transition points that we learned. And so what are going in hypotheses through our data was if we build it, they will come. Because our data tells us if we build a new attraction, they will come. Well, that's a couple of hundred million dollars of capital investment strategy going in the wrong direction. But by simply spending time with consumer and challenging your data and spending time in their turf, where they are far more relaxed, you may find that killer insight for innovation by looking where other people aren't looking. If you're only looking at your big data, you're looking at the same data, your competition score. So well, how would you find that one insight for innovation? What we found out was that there are these three bittersweet transitions that take place between the parent and the child. So we just switched it into a communication campaign and the parents of small children, Disneyland parents while they still believe, pair a dad of a tween daughter, while she'll still hold your hand and parents of older children while they're still here. And we drove sales 20% not intend to visit. And we turned a very product-centric we know better culture into a very consumer-centric culture where it is now mandatory for Disney executives to work one day a year in a theme park and a frontline cast member position and equally go and spend a day in the living room of one of their consumers. So advice that to everybody in marketing, go and work at the front lines of the brand that you represent one day a year. If it's stocking shelves in a supermarket, go do it. And then go spend at least one day a year in the living room of one of your consumers. You'll be amazed what you find. So that's intuition. We talked about curiosity playfulness. So Jason, close your eyes. Where are you? And what do are you doing when you get your best ideas?

 

- Well, it's definitely either on a walk on the beach or in the shower.

 

- Okay, yeah, you're gonna hear people say shower, walking, jogging, running, gym, listening to music, cooking, large glass of something, commuting, etcetera. But you never hear anybody say at work. Well, that's a bummer . And you remember that last big argument you were in, that big verbal argument. You're angry with somebody. And you step away from the argument, you walk away, and two minutes later, boom, that genius killer one-liner pops in that you wish you'd use during the argument, but it never comes during the argument, why? Here's why. When your brain is in an argument, it's extremely busy. When your brain is in the office, it's extremely busy. And so and you bet the moment you stepped into the shower, or stepped away from the argument, you came up with the killer one-liner or the big idea. Well, option A bring showers to the office, that would probably not be HR compliant.

 

- Oh no .

 

- Option B.

 

- How do I get you to that brain state on demand? I run energizes, there are 62nd exercise designed merely to get people to know the moment I hear laughter, the moment I've opened the door I know I've opened the door between your conscious and subconscious brain, 87% of your brain is subconscious. But when you're stressed at work and you hear yourself say, I don't have time to think, right? And when you don't have time to think that door is closed, and you're only working with 13% of the capacity of your brain. And so that's the importance of playfulness, imagination. When we all got that Christmas present when we were small, and it came in enormous box, and we took the toy out of the box, and we spent about half an hour playing with a toy, and five days playing with the box, why? 'Cause the box could be anything you wanted it to be, that's why. Well here's the thing, in the next decade, artificial intelligence will strip away analysis, statistics, finance, legal, the label I call the left hand side of the brain, most of which can be programmed. The right hand side of the brain however, the four traits you were born with, creativity, imagination, curiosity, and intuition, cannot be programmed or will not be programmed into artificial intelligence anytime in the next decade. Therefore, the skill sets that I believe we should bring back out because it the ones we've been told weren't important for the last decade. And as we seek to employ people, I believe we should be seeking to employ people encouraging creativity, imagination, intuition and curiosity. In fact, Forbes magazine just published an article that basically said the top 100 CEOs said creativity will be the most employable skill set of the next decade.

 

- Well, you definitely have job security then Duncan if you ever want to return to the workforce .

 

- You were listening to On Top of PR with your host Jason Mudd. Jason is a trusted adviser to some of America's most admired and fastest growing brands. He is the managing partner at Axia Public Relations, a PR agency that guides news, social and web strategies for national companies. And now back to the show.

 

- We have not solved how to have group brainstorming surrounding a shower for sure, and nor should we. But certainly one thing I have learned from you is the element of playfulness, as you mentioned before, when the room is able and willing. We have found some of our best ideas actually come from, getting on the ground, and playing with toys on the ground. And we have found just whether you're sitting cross legged, or kneeling, or whatever it might be there's just something about getting on the ground and playing, that really kind of loosens people up a little bit. Now, some people just can't do that physically. And we understand that for sure. But when the group allows it, we've done that with great success. We've also borrowed from you the idea of, as you mentioned, going to a local Home Depot or Lowe's or even a Mom and Pop hardware store and just listen to what questions consumers ask the store people, they ask their wife, the way they hold the product, the way they look at it. We've used techniques like that, to really gain insights we would have never had before.

 

- Will tell you all my financial investment strategy. Here's my financial Investment Strategy. It's pretty simple about... Just before the mortgage crisis of 2008 2009, about two months ahead, I was chatting to my local supermarket manager, Publix. We just chatted. And he said, all the market's gonna drop. I said, how the hell do you know? He goes, Oh, I can see it six to eight weeks before everybody else. Was like, what the hell are you talking about? He goes, Oh, yeah, Dz, they stopped buying Heinz Ketchup and they buy Publix Ketchup. And he says and by the way, he says when they switch from Publix Supermarket brand to Heinz back again, I know the market's coming back six weeks later. I was like, oh my god, that is genius. But again, to what you said about listening and watching your consumer, I was asked by the world's largest tool manufacturer to give them a talk on innovation. I know nothing about tools on the DIY disaster area. So I thought I'd better find out. So I went down to Home Depot and Lowe's, just as you suggested. And I went towards their consumers at the point of purchase particularly young millennials and Generation Z. And I went, came back and talked to him I said, Hey, this generation never heard of you. They're not even talking about it. They're not sure about your product, the hammer the chisel or the saw. They're not even talking about your price point, they don't care. They talk about what's important to them. We're gonna remodel our dream bathroom our dream kitchen our dream apartment. I said your purpose if you choose to create one is you could be the brand who helps people build their dreams because you're the finance guys rolling their arms guys going, Oh, god, this guy's nuts, how's that can help drive our quarterly results? It won't, but it might save your job. It might save your career. But it certainly won't save your industry 'cause it's already too late. But if you're the brand who can help people build their dreams, what other industries could you be? Could you be in public relations? Yes. Hospitality, yes. Entertainment, Yes. Sports finance, banking, insurance, you could be in any line of business you want. Oh, no, we make tools we're really good at it. Our definition of innovation isn't iteration. We're going to expand into India and Mexico they've a growing middle class they will buy our tools. No, they won't. We're building houses in Houston, Texas today on a 3d printer today. Amazon spent billions of dollars on shipping last year, it is not in their interest to do so. I put it to you if you didn't have a smartphone 15 years ago and 15 years from now, a third of what you buy on Amazon, you will simply print on your 3d printer at home. The small coffee table you printed at home, coffee chair, you printed. And if I can print anything I want on demand in the year 2035, why will I use a hammer, chisel and I've a cellphone? That's right they'll be in a museum. but because they don't have a purpose, they can't see it coming. But if they had a purpose they could be in any other line of business they chose to be. But again all I've got that from was standing and listening and watching the consumer.

 

- Yeah, yeah, that's very powerful. Duncan, I'm so pleased we connected today to have this brief conversation. I would love to have you back another time because not only are you an innovator, you're also a futurist. Every time we connect I learn and I'm Inspired in many, many ways. In closing, I wanna give you an opportunity to offer our listeners, how might they best connect with you. And also, if there's anything you would like to offer that they do to get on a mailing list or participate in a workshop with you in the future.

 

- Here's the thing, people learn by doing, they don't learn by listening. Conference, I just wrote a blog post on why the conference industry needs to be blown up. But if you can get in a room with a group of people who've been told for years, you're not creative. You're in sales, you're in marketing, you're not creative. Well, they think they can't innovate. People say, why did you leave Disney? You were there for 30 years, you were Head of Innovation and Creativity. I was like, it's easy, there's a gap in the market. All the C-suites are standing up saying you need to innovate we must take risks. You must be definitely we must be brave. And all of their employees are sitting there going that's great, gonna show me how? And nobody's showing people how to think differently and innovate. So all I've done based on my time at Disney is Head of Innovation and Creativity and working with companies like IBM and Apple is all I've done is taken a design thinking process and made innovation easy, creativity tangible, and the process fun. Why is it fun? Because there is no incentive for your employees to use it when you're not around if it's not fun. You can't talk culture change, you have to give people a toolkit they choose to use when you're not around. And I love getting in a room full of people. I'm running a workshop 'cause you see it about one o'clock in the afternoon. You just see that smile come on their face and I think I can do this. And the biggest compliment actually, you said it yourself, which was very sweet of you, thank you. I had somebody I was running a workshop for, NBC Universal last December and a lady came up to me she said hey, did you run one of these ESPN ABC about three years ago? I said Yes, she goes, we still use your tools. And I thought, you know what? That's the best compliment I've ever received. Yeah, duncanwardle.com Duncan is not a donut company, he's the is the first King of Scotland, I hope you know. It's spelt DUNCAN WARDLE, duncanwardle.com.

 

- So they can connect with you there and learn more about your workshops.

 

- Absolutely.

 

- Virtual workshops and also find your social media there too, right?

 

- Indeed.

 

- Yeah. Duncan again, it was a pleasure. I'd love to have you back on as a guest in the future. Are you up for that?

 

- We'll do some energizes, we'll do them live, we could actually invite people in. What we could do is get people in and have them, you could crowdsource a challenge and we'll work on it using the tools live and see what will come out of it.

 

- Give it a go, right?

 

- Yeah, that'll be great.

 

- We should do that, that'd be awesome.

 

- All right. Well, thanks for having me.

 

- Hey Duncan my best to your family. Thank you for joining us today. And if there's anything I can do for you, let me know, okay?

 

- Thank you stay healthy, everybody.

 

- Thanks, Duncan. Well, that's another great episode of On Top of PR. I wanna thank our guest Duncan today, who is always magical and majestic. And based on all of his experience working with Disney, and so many other things. He's helping the world be a more creative and enjoyable place for us as marketers, and for us as consumers in the marketplace. Thanks again, Duncan.

 

- That's all for this episode of On Top of PR. Using the power of PR, your company can build awareness, trust, and consideration among your ideal audiences. Be sure of visit axiapr.com to check out free resources including webinars, eBooks and our PR hack of the week.


Topics: On Top of PR

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