** This article first appeared in The Drum **
Two weeks ago, we held the Collider Class of 2015 Demo Day. Almost 200 people came to see a showcase of the best global marketing and adtech startups in central London, and give the audience an overview of where the industry is heading. Nine startups, six minutes each, four panellists, three co-founders and one UK trending hashtag. We worked tirelessly to make sure the right people were in the room to have effective synergy.
We brought together people from all of London’s biggest and best brands and agencies. From Aegis, Camelot, dunnhumby, Haymarket, Havas Media, Ogilvy & Mather Group UK, and many more, these individuals were some of the first in their organisations to be fully immersed in innovation. They were not only passive observers, but active engagers. They also inadvertently participated in two powerful, culture shifts:
They were being exposed to some of the best relevant tech to their industries
The theme of our Demo Day was to ‘inspire confidence’. We wanted people to feel comfortable in thinking outside the box, not be afraid to ask questions and imagine ways in which they could integrate new tech and working styles into their companies. People had to be ready to think critically about what they were seeing, but not make critical judgements. We encouraged thinking about how these startups could fit into long-term strategy – about the returns in years’ time as opposed to months. And because the audience was so responsive, brands and agencies approached our startups and set up meetings straight away.
They were in a space with their competition, learning with them and getting to know them
One of the things Collider is trying to incorporate into the culture of the marketing and advertising industry is the idea of collaboration. One of the forms this comes in is working with a third party, like us, to provide outside expertise. And sometimes that means coming face to face with your competition. We currently have three different agencies signed up as partners. Everyone is constantly learning from their competition – either in formal talks or informal coffee chats. It is great to see agencies coming together in ways they wouldn’t have three years ago. This is a measurable change in the industry mindset.
I am a big advocate of serendipity – taking the chance that you will be able to find answers to your problems in unexpected places. Half the battle is knowing where to look, even if you don’t know what to look for.
We are building one solution to this – by bringing the right people together at the right time and giving each party the tools to have effective conversations. It’s called MadTech.