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Inspiring Futures

Author: Ed Cotton

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Inspiring Futures is a podcast about the future hosted by Ed Cotton. We live in the now, everything around us is increasingly real-time, so we are somewhat challenged to think about the future because it’s an unknown and takes discipline to think about. But what happens when we do we think about the future, when do we think about it, who inspires the futures we think about and what do we think the future will hold? Inspiring Futures is a podcast that talks to people from diverse backgrounds, careers and industries and talks to them about how they think and what they think about the future.
78 Episodes
Jay Chaney is a strategist and part of a crack team of Canadian advertising professionals who have gone and done something completely insane by launching an ad agency in the middle of the Covid 19 crisis. Chaney has teamed up with Beverley Hammond, Todd Mackie, Carlos Moreno, and Denise Rosetto to create Broken Heart Love AffairChaney is no stranger to challenges has been part of successful turnarounds at both DDB and Cossette. In the interview, we talked about Jay's interesting career that included time as a Canadian broadcaster, the inspiration for the new agency, the name, and what they are hoping to achieve. Plus, of course, the challenges and perhaps some of the advantages of launching during Covid. 
George Olver is the co-founder of Movidiam.Movidiam is all about changing how films get made. It is basically a global network of skilled practitioners in the world of film production. The network allows production to be more efficient at a time when clients are short on both time and money. It also ensures a level of quality because the experience of individuals is fully transparent. Think of it as a global production house at your fingertips which allows for both payment and project management.In the episode, I talk to George about the evolution of the company and where it headed.  
Jen Patterson is now a mom and a life-coach after spending over 20 years as a strategist. She started her career at Wieden and spent time at Deutsch in LA and at Wunderman in Seattle. In the episode, we talk about her career trajectory - growing up at Wieden and then moving to Deutsch. About agency cultures and her thoughts on the magic part of the culture that make Wieden, Wieden, and how different things were at Deutsch. We discussed her time in Miami with The Community and the challenges involved in getting clients to understand the importance of the Hispanic market. We also talk about her passion which is listening and learning from others. Nowadays Jen has channeled her passion into life-coaching and motherhood. We talk about these two roles and some of the challenges. We discuss the way in which agency life and corporate life in general squeeze the self out of people and how the best advice she gives people is about getting centered around who they are and what they want is.Her life-coaching practice is about paying close attention to you and developing a program which is, in simple terms. a gym for the mind. 
Niclas is one of the most experienced strategic planners in Sweden. He began his career at Acne and had stints at the likes of TBWA, Naked and Grey, and in consulting. He now finds himself back at Acne- which is now owned by Deloitte UK. In this episode, we talk about his career, the history, the evolution of Sweden's ad agency landscape, and talk a little about COVID-19.What emerges from the conversation is a perspective on an agency landscape driven by creative entrepreneurs, where the integration of multiple disciplines is expected and demanded by clients and the working style is very open, collaborative, and transparent. 
In March, creatives at R/GA Chloe Saintilan, Zach Roif, and Matt Woodward sold in an initiative to their agency leadership which was designed to help small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The The initiative called Merch Aid, which went live in early April, helps local businesses by selling specifically designed merchandise created by designers. The initiative started in New York but is expected to roll out to other cities in the coming months.In the podcast, I talk to the team about the genesis of the idea, how it works, the challenges of making it happen, and what they have learned along the way. 
13 years ago, Adrian Ho left his strategy job at Fallon to create a new offering for clients in the form of Zeus Jones. In this episode, I talk to Adrian about the evolution of the Zeus Jones business and what he has learned along the way. We also take a moment to discuss the Covid-19 situation, which given this was recorded a few weeks back, might be a little dated.
Shaun is the global chief creative officer of Iris Worldwide. He has been at the agency since 2008 and took on his latest role in 2016. Shaun has worked with a number of interesting brands over the years including the likes of  Adidas, Guinness, Samsung, Domino's, Pizza Hut, Mini and Jeep.In the episode, we cover his unique background which includes writing for theater and how his non-conventional career trajectory has served him well over the years. The bulk of the conversation centers on Shaun's expansive view of creativity. He believes that creativity needs to be in service of solving a client's business problems and that solutions shouldn't be confined or limited by media choices.     
Terry Young is the founder of Sparks and Honey an Omnicom owned company that specializes in helping clients understand potential futures. In this episode, I talk to Terry about his background and the development of Sparks and Honey as a company from the process to people. We talk about how the company combines people and machines to understand key trends and underlying themes. We also talk about what his clients are asking right now and what Sparks and Honey is telling them. 
Matt is the founder of Green Stone- a virtual or rather an officeless agency that helps design experiences for brands. Matt started his career at R/GA where he was part of the Nike team. He then spent 8 years at Crispin Porter Bogusky as EVP/Executive Experience Director where he led a team of 25 experience designers.For the past six years, Matt has been running Green Stone which obsesses about the customer journey and builds experiences around those journeys which create greater brand love and loyalty. In our conversation, we talk about his 6 years of learning from building an agency that word and operates remotely. We talk about how you make up the physical distance and build things like culture. We also talk about companies and the digital experience and how there is still work to be done to get to true digital transformation and we also get to compare and contrast the work of experience design vs. advertising. 
Zoe Scaman is the founder of her own strategic consulting company Bodacious and Global Head of Strategy at Ridley Scott Creative Group. Zoe's experience includes Naked, Universal-McCann, Isobar, and Droga5.In this episode, we discuss the current situation from a global and London perspective, focusing on how people and brands are responding and could be responding. We also discuss how Zoe approaches her consulting assignments and her work with Ridley Scott Creative Group 
Doug is the Senior Editor at Adweek where he covers the world of ad agencies. He has a background in the world of radio as a producer and DJ and currently is offering VO talent for free to anyone who could use it for a good cause. Our conversation covers his dream of a copywriting job at Wieden and Kennedy and his career in radio and onwards to the state of creativity, advertising, and communication, against the backdrop of Covid-19.
Dave has been an expert in Asian consumer culture for the past 20 years. He was responsible for spearheading the development of McCann-Erickson's regional planning network for McCann and its processes and protocols. For the past five-plus years, he has been consulting and developing his own own businesses- one focused on AI for market research and the other is a small consulting company based in Bangladesh. In the conversation, we were focused on COVID-19 and discussed what we are currently seeing across the world overall, but Dave highlighted some of the specific nuances that are important to understand for the Asian market.This podcast was recorded earlier in the week before Thailand went into broad lockdown. 
Lucy Von Sturmer is a young entrepreneur based in Amsterdam. She runs, together with a partner,  Humblebrag; a media communications consultancy focused on corporate and individual leadership around purpose and sustainable change. Lucy has found her way to Amsterdam and this world via broadcast journalism, working as the head of digital communication for an NGO and was head of communication at MediaMonks in Amsterdam. Our conversation covers her career trajectory, how she and her company and clients are coping with the current situation, the work she has done setting up Creatives for Climate and how despite the terribleness of the Coronavirus, the silver lining could be how it serves as a catalyst to a new more sustainable economy.
Orlando Wood is the Chief Innovation Officer of System 1. System 1 is a research company that has built its reputation in advertising testing and has a proven methodology that links emotional response to marketplace impact. Orlando is also the author of Lemon- published by the IPA, the book examines the world from left and right brain perspective and takes that learning into an evaluation of television advertising which Orlando proves and demonstrates has become a lot more left-brained in recent years. Building on the work of Peter Field and Les Binet, Orlando argues that this is leading to less memorable and less impactful advertising. In the episode, we explore the genesis of the idea, the research work that went into the book and Orlando's thoughts on why we have ended up with more left brain work and some thoughts on where all this might be heading. Sadly, Orlando's talk with the ARF at SXSW was canceled, so I am hoping those who planned to attend can listen to this and get and a very good idea of the great work that Orlando has done. The book Lemon can be found here.
Lindsey has spent the last 7 years on the frontlines of a changing marketing landscape. Through her work with Sunday Dinner, she has been helping clients navigate the complexities of modern marketing. Helping them with goal setting, measurement, organization and the orchestration and management of their agency and creative partners snd internal audiences. This work gives Lindsey unique visibility into this landscape and in the episode, she explains how she works, what she recommends to clients and what she feels are the new ways to work in this changing environment. 
Amelia is one of England's sharpest strategic minds. Inspired to join the ad business by a personal response from a letter she wrote to Sir Martin Sorrell.She joined the WPP fellowship program and worked directly with Jon Steel and from there built an amazing resume of experience including stints at Naked, TBWA, and VCCP where she was part of the team that won the ad account for the 2012 London Olympics. Today, she is the co-founder of the Fawnbrake collective- a network of strategic thinkers that are deployed on teams to work on client projects. In this episode, we cover her career trajectory and the evolution of strategy from a discipline that mainly existed inside of agencies to one that is now thriving outside of its traditional confines. This is the world of Fawnbrake,  a world where everything and everyone is a brand and they all need strategic thinking even if they do no advertising. 
Thas worked in strategy roles at Chiat, BBH, and Deutsch. She joined Omelet 4 years ago as the CSO and six months ago was promoted to CEO- a rare thing for a Strategist since CEOs usually come from the ranks of client service. Omelet is a 15-year-old- LA-based independent agency with an impressive client roster that includes- Google. in a wide-ranging conversation, we talk about her transition from strategist to CEO, about the importance of culture and creating an environment where employees can thrive and how important it is for the leadership to have an honest dialog about agency direction and strategy.  
Frank Rose

Frank Rose


Frank started his career with the Village Voice covering the emerging mid-1970s New York music scene centered around CBGBs. He has written numerous articles for the likes of Rolling Stone, Fortune, Vanity Fair and Wired. He has written books about Apple and in his book the Art of Immersion, he explored the changing nature of storytelling in Hollywood and Madison Avenue. Currently he is a senior fellow at the Columbia University School of the Arts, he is faculty director of the executive education program Strategic Storytelling, presented in partnership with Columbia Business School.In this conversation, instead of looking forward to the future, we look back at past futures. A future proposed by the punk movement and the likes of Brian Eno and Malcolm McLaren and trace a trajectory outlined by advances in technology that transformed the media and entertainment industry despite their best intentions. We end looking at the present day world of Google, Facebook and Amazon and suggest we have reached an inflection point, where it might be time to take a look at what has been created and where we might all be headed. 
Colin Nagy

Colin Nagy


Colin Nagy is currently Head of Strategy for Fred Farid, an agency based in NYC, Paris, Shanghai and LA. Previously he was Chief Media and Strategy officer at The Barbarian Group. In this conversation, we talk about the souring of the tech boom and the arrival of a new questioning culture and the debate about the impact of tech on humanity. We talk about the push towards the real and how that is impacting physical spaces and our human desire for connection. We explore the growing importance of wellness, the challenges for global brands and how the short-term, quick-hit seeking CMO might be getting in the way of more profound business transformation. 
Episode 2- Gareth Kay

Episode 2- Gareth Kay


The guest for Episode 2 of Inspiring Futures is Gareth Kay. and touches upon many things, including the future of advertising and the agency. Gareth is the founder of Chapter-SF- which describes itself as a new type of creative studio focused on designing soulful brands that thrive in today's world of unreasonable expectations. Our wide-ranging conversation-includes a discussion about Gareth’s background and experience, what he is trying to do with Chapter SF- versus the typical creative agency, the curse of specialization, the challenge of short-term thinking and pressures, the best client brief ever, our lack of human understanding, how he thinks about the future and the importance of timeless ideas and where we stand with digital technology in the communication and marketing space. 
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