FutureFlash 2013 – Tomorrow Decoded

The FutureFlash program read:

“Over the next two days, we will explore some key marketing trends that are likely to hit the mainstream in 2014 and beyond. We’ll explore the latest new technologies and the impact they’ve already started to have on brands. We’ll be inspired by future possibilities in retail and some bright new start-ups which are disrupting product category conventions. And importantly, we will also offer a presentation highlighting brand engagement for social good.”

It was accurate.

Every year during the month of May, the country’s leading advertising, media, and communications CEOs and executives come together to flash forward into the future at one of my personal favourite industry gatherings, FutureFlash.

Our Notable.ca hat goes off to the ICA for another incredible year of programming, event organization, and audience curation.The two-day conference was nothing short of spectacular. Here’s why:

1. Gillian Graham – an industry force

Gillian Graham, who heads up the ICA, always leads by example. With poise and charisma, she is a true thought-leader in the industry that I feel blessed to be a part of. Gillian knows what she wants and always goes after it with grace; a true role model for any upwardly-mobile young professional.

2. Paul Kemp-Robertson – an international curator

As one of the brains behind UK-based Contagious, Paul Kemp-Robertson has a global outlook but shares it with a digestible, almost local campfire-like approach. He’s been a pleasure to have as the MC of the past several FutureFlash conferences. I look forward to reaching out to him next time I’m in the UK, although I’m not sure if he knows that yet… 

3. Sir John Hegarty – industry legend

Sir John Hegarty was unanimously the most anticipated speaker at FutureFlash. Sir John heads up BBH in the UK and flew in to literally wow the crowd with his decades of industry insight, experience, and charmingly whimsical and satirical view of advertising and communications. I loved his talk. He encouraged the big thinkers in the audience to always ask, “How can I find ways to make this better?” He stressed that too many advertisers are looking at the creative game backwards, reminding us that the best of the best know, “I’m in the industry to create, not to deceive.” One of his points, that I couldn’t agree with more – having used this type of thinking for the past five years since starting Notable – was, “We fail by placing so much importance on one single thing versus saying and asking, “What do I think as a human being?” Nice and easy, yet so few do this. And lastly, I need to share this one: “A bad idea costs the same as a good idea.”

4. Nicolas Pimentel – a South American idea factory

I was beyond entertained by Nicolas Pimentel’s presentation. He runs +Castro Innovation House in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and what a magnificent project this is! Pimentel and his passionate team bring people from a variety of social and professional backgrounds from all over the world together to +Castro for two weeks where they strip them of their job titles, hence evening the playing field, and together collaborating on ideas and innovation. No prejudice, no seniority – just ideas, collaboration, innovation, and passion. They’ve done some incredible work. I love their hustle. (Left to right: Paul Kemp-Robertson, Nico Pimentel, David Thomas, David Brown)

FutureFlash 2013 was the best #FF yet. This couldn’t have been done without the dedication and expertise of one of the hardest working young professionals I know, whom we recently featured here on Notable.ca, Stacey Robinson. While there are countless other highlights to share, both professionally and socially, Cannes Lions is around the corner and I need to get moving…

Cheers and Stay Notable,
– Julian Brass