Town Hall #25 - The New Possible - AUS
Updated: Oct 23, 2020
Celso Borges - Head of Experience Design at Tigerspike
Dylan Brady - Conductor (Owner) at Decibel Architecture
Mia Feasey - CEO and founder Siren Design Group
Richard Henderson - Founder & CEO at R-Co Brand
David Montgomery - Founder and Director at Scaffad
Julie Ockerby - CEO, Creative Director and Principal at Meli Studio Australia
Mark Bergin 00:00
Hi, and welcome to the 25th episode of the Design Exec Club Town Halls. A short six months ago, we all learned the term COVID and then we also had a certain amount of business interruption. Over those last six months, I've had over 200 people around the world, fantastic executives, sharing their strategies, their coping, they're thriving, and also their survival techniques. Today, I've got another great panel of people and we're going to talk about the new possible that they've explored over the last six months, and also the new possible that's going to take them forward and their clients forward in the next 12 months. Okay, so the first person I'm going to throw to today, Mia Feasey, from Siren here. Now Mia you were recently recognised as the woman in design of the year? What's the correct title help me?
Mia Feasey 01:10
Yeah, yeah, I got an award for being a woman.
Mark Bergin 01:16
No, no, no.
Mia Feasey 01:16
No, I'm just teasing you.
Mark Bergin 01:17
You got an award. And I know Brandon's design program, or Awards program, really. You got an anward because you're an awesome female designer. And actually, when you shine spotlights on things, that's when we say that we really value them. So I don't think you got it because you're a woman, okay.
Mia Feasey 01:33
Thank you. Yeah, so it was The Good Design Australia 2020 Woman in Design Award. It was pretty amazing actually, it was a really nice sort of hit in a really tough time. And I've sort of promise that we'll use the award for good know that we can do something really great with it. So I think it was just the the history of Siren and you know, 16 years of building this business. So it was great recognition.
Mark Bergin 02:00
Well, what what I'm going to do so that people who are viewing this as they are getting a bit more context, about 12 months ago, Mia and I went and did a podcast, I'll put a link into that so you get to hear the Siren backstory. But Siren has growb a little bit during COVID, you've also now announced that you're going to be opening up a New York office.
Mia Feasey 02:18
Yeah, well, I will just laughing before that pre COVID the opportunity to open up Siren in New York was on the tables, but I just decided it was more important for me to stay this side of the world with my family and with children. I made the decision that, you know, lifestyle was going to be more important having the opportunity rather than taking everywhere. And then because of COVID, it's okay for me to not be there. And I'm not expected to be on a plane and be, you know, across all the time zones. So it's a fantastic opportunity. And I think this time has allowed- so we've got the ex VP of CalissonRTKL from New York, she was heading up retail there and has decided that actually Siren is a brand she can get behind and our mission and purpose is something she wants to bring to New York and she doesn't need me to be there to do it, we can do it, you know, by zoom. So it's incredible. We launched next week, actually.
Mark Bergin 03:20
Fantastic. So you're launching next week in New York. And you know, it's really interesting, if you go look new from all the people that have gotten New York, they're still working out how to be productive, while they've got this horrific interruption to public health. But commercially, they're actually quite busy. So it's actually a very interesting time. And also from talent, it's very interesting. There are a lot of people who as part of the responsibility to their business, that they've had to go on lower staffing levels and explore that a bit more. So there's talent around everywhere, so you're gonna have a great time.
Mia Feasey 04:09
Yeah, I think also, you know, I think we're slightly more boutique than the brands that they've got at the moment. So you know, maybe not at this side of the world, but to us, we'll see more boutique and we'll hopefully be able to bring what we've got across
Mark Bergin 04:23
Awesome. And then what have you been finding has been the change in that new possibility that you know, if you reflect back on six months, what are some of the astounding things that you found?
Mia Feasey 04:36
I definitely think people are putting more emphasis on creative thinking. I think the way we're solving these problems that are coming up has to be cut from a very creative place. And the opportunity to digitize design and democratize it is now open. The gates open. The possibilities are endless. I think people are open to so many more ways of doing things. I'm particularly excited about this idea of connection. And I know personally, when I was working from home, I was really only having conversations with people that I wanted to have conversations with, whereas when I was in the office, you know, people call me and they want to see me, as a business owner, you do those things, but what I found, and I don't know, if it's a personal thing, I was in my living room, I was in my home, so I felt like I was inviting them into my home. And I was being very picky about the conversations I was having and who I was having them with. And I just thought, wow, what if I just spend the rest of my life doing that, and just being you know, more choosy as if I'm inviting them into my home? And just in terms of our values and our mission, and as a business, if that's what we should be doing? You know, I think generally, we kind of go, oh, there's opportunity, there's an opportunity there, let's do it all. Whereas now I think it became a lot more refined.
Mark Bergin 05:59
and know with the with the introduction of activity based working, that was found that there were people who would just stick in their neighborhood, and that cross pollination between different parts of the company was a problem. Remember, there was a fantastic office that ARUP went and did in Melbourne, done by Hassle. And they made sure that everybody had to go through a central area where the lockers were, so that they had those casual collisions. And in a previous Town Hall, we had a Harry West, the former CEO at frog, he was talking about inducting the freshmen into Columbia, and how they talked about the idea that the issue now is, how do we actually manage those mid-friends, not the close friends. And because it's the mid friends where you go and actually get that side cultural reference or something that is new, something that you want to accept, something that you want to reject? And so I suppose that it's really good that you're finding that you're getting that more immersive connection, but also we need to be careful that we're not in an echo chamber. And so it's how do you go manage both?
Mia Feasey 07:03
Yeah, I think it was, it's also relying a bit more on your intuition. I think there was less noise for a while, even though it seemed sort of maybe more noise. The environment change. So if I had a connection with someone, it wasn't because I'd maybe met with them 10 times or had 10 conversations, I was like, actually, I really like that person. And it was very clear for me that I had a connection with that person, because I was away in my home and I thought, actually, I don't mind talking to them. Whereas I think when you're coming in all the time, and there's 10,000 people around, I'm exaggerating, but 10,000 people, am I making sense? But there was a lot of crystal kind of like, "Oh, yeah, no problem, we'll have a chat, let's do a zoom." You know, were you all inundated on people just wanting to have a chat? And how do you pick? Because everyone's day was kind of free for a while there.
Mark Bergin 07:55
Yeah. It was interesting. When I did the first round of the Design Executive Town Halls, the availability that I had was phenomenal. You know, I think there was, there was one of them, where I was looking at it, and it was in New York, and I had Mauro Porcini was in there, Matte Bolonga, Debbie Millman, Harry West. It was like, I had the best call in the world. But as we've gone along, people's availability is decreased. Yeah, to let the viewers know, there's actually five people this morning who have said they couldn't do this call because there's something urgent that has come up that they need to go deal with. So our modality has changed dramatically they sell. Celso I want to go across to you, because the team at Tigerspike, you've actually found that although you had a distributed team in that past, that there was often a siloed culture where it was easy to work with the person on the index desk next to you rather than in the distributed offices. But I think the new possibility for you guys has been that you've worked out how to go make that truly we are a multi office, a multi region organization. What do you think the new possibility beyond that is?
Celso Borges 09:13
Well, one of the things that we're seeing is also the way that we're engaging with clients is we're starting to include a lot of our other offices as part of our approach. And starting to have, you know, multi office approach to a single client that is even based here in Australia, because they serve customers outside of the country. And so to have a kind of a unified experience, a universal experience is really important. And I guess that, you know, brings us to develop not only our practice, but also a culture around universal design and how we're designing for multiple communities and how we're creating you know, experiences that that consider that personal connection, you know, as that dependency on digital services increases with people being at home, you know, we need to be able to kind of maintain that standard. So we're definitely seeing a new possibility, specifically in the in the private sector around making services more personable, making them more humane. And I think by us having a distributed workforce, we are able to introduce more diversity, and more access to different perspectives and communities that will just enrich the experience overall.
Mark Bergin 10:21
Yeah. And I think it's really interesting when we think of universal design, which in the pre covid period was normally sponsored by very large corporations or by government authorities. But what we're finding is that universal, when it comes to a government approach actually isn't universal. It's very much politically centered. And, you know, if I go think of what somebody like McDonald's, or a Starbucks or PepsiCo is able to go do as far as having global influence from Universal design and policy, they seem to get the idea of universal design, multijurisdictional, something that allows our commerce to fly back and forth. Because at the moment that universal design is saying Australia stuck in the state of Victoria, the State of New South Wales, the State of South Australia, we can't even move around the country using a universal design principle yet. So it's gonna be interesting to see how that evolves so it actually is universal design, not a particular jurisdictional universal design. I think that's a barrier that we need to break through.
Celso Borges 11:28
Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, we've been focusing on, you know, is universal design complete? And something that we've been introducing is the idea of trauma informed or crisis informed design principles around this because, you know, we at globally we are, or have experienced trauma by going through this, through this pandemic, and through being forced into a new way of living. And that means that we respond differently to what was done previously. And so how are we building mechanisms to understand what tomorrow looks like? And how are we catering for that in the way that we're designing businesses, in the way that we're designing teams and the way that we are provisioning services?
Mark Bergin 12:09
I was on a call earlier this morning with Prima Careers, and they were looking at corporate psychology. And they brought up that one of the most important things is the acknowledgement and then exploring the possibility. And I think that's what we've seen that's happened, we all have been through a certain amount of trauma. I think that Mia and Julie, you'd been speaking about various sorts of trauma, how you've gone through stages, we've been through the Ronacoaster in my office several times. The first time, I think we wanted to kill each other, by about the second or third time we've worked out, oh, one of this is down and the other ones up and we've kind of worked out and made to get through that. But, you know, the really important thing is that we actually work out how to go and deal with that trauma moment. And there's a lot more people who have been traumatized, and in a previous Town Hall, and sorry, if I keep going back to the previous town halls, but that's what we're here to talk about. We explored the idea that what people are experiencing is like in a Glacier, where there's a fissure, and that Fisher is in Maslow's hierarchy. So they're going through their life, and they know what level they're up to. But all of a sudden, this COVID thing has actually put this fissure with, it takes them down to maybe three levels on on as low as hierarchy. And our heads just aren't built to deal with that dynamic range. And that's what I think that we've been learning to cope with how to do that better. Dylan, I want to go across to you, because you've had a very interesting journey with the practice, you've seen that some of the ways that you're working with your clients on projects throughout Asia have actually sped up because there's fewer tea ceremonies that you're waiting around to go actually get the cadence of projects going.
Dylan Brady 13:58
And fewer flights and hotels and transfers...
Mark Bergin 14:01
Yep. But you've also got the fact that you've got a productive team working remotely. And at some point, you know, they're all going to come back to the office. And you've got to refactor that whole office, tell us about your exploration there.
Dylan Brady 14:18
Look, you know, we've worked out that actually, we work in certain ways, a hell of a lot better apart than we do together. Talking to this democratization of design. We've never had a more egalitarian approach to the way we work, the way we're able to interact. I can bring six people to a meeting with a client and it doesn't matter. Because they're all just digital. They're all in the background. And I get to experience that interaction and I save time not only in not flying, they're not getting a taxi, not getting a hotel, not going to the meeting, but actually I save time because when I come out of the meeting, everybody is already been in it. I found that the way that we communicate is incredibly purposeful. And to me is point, you know, like, Who am I going to invite into my room? We were really worried at the beginning and we've maintained an extraordinary commitment to culture, which is about me spending a lot of time, making sure that I'm activating connections between people and keeping us together as a team every morning, every afternoon, and then all the way through the day, that we send out care packs to make sure that people know that they're looked after and that has paid massive dividends to us because we have a team who can't wait to see each other. And literally, when we do see each other, I said, the first time we were getting in the office, it's just going to be a party. What I realized is, that's also the problem, because we're all going to get back into the office. And we've got so used to purposeful communication, where if I was in the open floor plan here, and I wanted to have a one on one conversation with somebody, or they wanted to have a one on one conversation with somebody else, that they didn't want everybody to be party to, they'd have to make up all this fluff around the outside of how they actually got that conversation to happen. Whereas now people can communicate with me, they would normally sort of look over and say, Oh, is he busy, busy, busy, busy, right? Now they can send me a message. And they know that I'll get it and they know that I'll get back to them as soon as I'm ready to. And we could do it in such a focused way. So we have actually been, I hate to say it, we've been performing better apart than we do together. Now, for all the ozmotic learning that you miss out on, there is so much purposeful learning that people are exposed to. I had thought we were going to really miss out on stuff. Actually, it's been much, much bigger, much more concerted, people are becoming better, faster, smarter at the things that they do. They know when to ask questions, they know where to ask questions, they know who to ask them to in a way that's incredibly smart. So my challenge now is Jesus, how do I how do I tell everybody to stay at home? I want to hug everybody like everybody else does. But the first three days in the office is going to be like, yabba yabba yabba yabba yabba. And then everyone's going to turn around, sit down, start trying to do work and realize that they have to tell everybody to shut up, put headphones on so that they can connect to each other through their screen. Because drawing on the screen with everyone in the virtual space of that is is the most productive way to do our work in design and architecture and drawings and using software. We all tried to gather around somebody's screen to have the same meeting, it'd be useless. It just wouldn't work. So my office has got to change completely. The possible for me is how do we get a really big kitchen, a big making space, the library has never been more important to my team, I've realized that no one has access to all of our books, I've digitized photographs of the library and put the Excel list up and said to everybody, hey, if there is a book here that you want, I'll drop it off. And you can get it and you can read it and you can look at it. And we've converted all of our magazine subscriptions to digital. And we've got everybody so they can go online and keep their keep their eye in on that stuff without relying on seeing the magazine and the lunch table. So I think the possible for me is that we are much more purposeful about how and why we gather. So that we gather with with intent, and we communicate with purpose. And I have to agree with Mia, it's much, much much more about connections now and the ability to connect deeply and instantly and privately and still broadly in a way that I just don't think you would ever get in the flotsam and jetsam of an average day. We've never said hello or goodbye to one another in a more comprehensive way than when we haven't been together. Because normally when someone leaves at 5:35 or 5:45 or 6:00, it's like cya, and now it's like we're all together. And we all talk about our day we talk about a night and we have fun and then we see each other in the morning. Remarkable.
Mark Bergin 19:17
So Richard, I want to I want to throw across to you because you know your your phenomenal career with the types of brands that you've been involved in has you in boardrooms, probably more than any of us have been in. But those boardrooms, probably are less in real life and more having those conversations connected to people now through something like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. That doesn't change the nature of what people are trying to achieve, does it? What they're after and what they're trying to actually talk to you about and where they want to go see their business go, that stays the same. It's actually just the vehicle or the carrier that you're doing it by.
Richard Henderson 19:59
Well yes Mark. Just picking up on what Dylan was saying then and I love the way Dylan sees these businesses as a sort of corrobory around a camp fire, I think it's great. But I think what he also alluded to was leadership. And I think that's something I've personally found, I mean I've got a small studio and as a designer by heart, you can't help but want to be in the cooking stages of living in the recipes and how the drawings are going, and you sort of hover and get distracted part of the process. But with the remote situation, I think leadership has become much more important. And you've got to really define who your business is or what your business is about and your vision and your mission is becoming much clearer, because you need to connect that with your people out there's brand. The thing that connects both the virtual world and the physical world is brand. Okay, so that's a universal linkage and whether it's the internal brand between your own people culture and getting things done, or it's a brand, talking to a customer about a marketplace, brand is that is that singular link. My experience at the moment working through in, as you said, the leadership level, we talked about this before, of management. I'm much more interested in how creativity can inform management's headspace and the C-suite and CEOs and a chairman of boards to actually define redefine themselves or evolve from where they are to where they need to go. And if we looked at an analogy of this, we could use the idea of the cocoon principle, if we're in a cocoon now, in a sense of darkness, we're looking for a new way out a new pathway forward. And we could reagrd ourselves as a bit of a caterpillar moving from, say, crisis into uncertainty, then there's some hope, and the light, and then there's a reorganization of understanding and we move out of the cocoon, into beyond. And when you move out of beyond, you become a butterfly. But the thing about the butterflies, the DNA and the butterflies is exactly the same DNA as in the caterpillar. So actually, what you have to do is to reorganize yourselves. As the business moves forward, I find that a fascinating sort of conundrum of thinking. Creativity and imagination, talking to the people in the C suites, they're much more open to this now because they know has to be a new way. Imaginationa nd creativity is the only pathway. It's not about revenue, it's not about, you know, sales and things. It's actually about a new direction. And I think listening to the designers on the table here, they are going through their process themselves, their own businesses, but the most important thing is how can design and creativity influence the decision makers. That's my sort of passion, if you like.
Mark Bergin 22:42
Monty I want to throw across to you because in your world, doing mega graphics on buildings, building wraps, I imagine there's a propensity for people to get you in, almost, can you put lipstick on this pig? You know, it's towards the end of the cycle that they're bringing you in. They're not bringing you in at the beginning of the cycle. And Richard and Dylan and Mia and Julie and Celso and myself have all spoken before about when do you get on the bus? Are you at that early planning stage? Or do you come in right at the end? We all know it's a disaster at the end. How does it work for you if you've got buildings and I know that you've got a project coming up in Melbourne that's been delayed? Did they bring you in at the early stages of the planning for that building wrap? Have they brought you in just at the end?
David Montgomery 23:31
Um, I get brought in at the beginning. Yeah, and probably the reason being is I'm probably one of two people that do it in the country, and to a level where now from an engineering and public safety that my system needs to be vetted, checked, they trust me. I get involved with the, you know what Dylan was saying before, I'm better part of scaffolder. I know the council seps, dcps. I know what they need to hear, I know the design policy. So whilst I probably don't get really deeply involved at the beginning, more so at the end, because that's when I'm on site, that's when I'm doing what I've got to do. But I've spent 12, 14 years trying to get into the beginning. And now I'm fortunate enough to have developed my systems that are actually being used to implement for anyone else who wants to do it. So it's a little bit of both, it's taken me a long time to get where I am. And now we're definitely pioneering that space, which is a dream.
Mark Bergin 24:41
And and it's so important that people are getting in at the right phase of the project. I know that when you come in late that you're actually trying to play catch up all the time. There's always those extra executional compromises that are coming in there. You get right at the front, you can actually make sure you're avoiding a lot of those. And the graceful elegance that you can go delivers is just so much better. Julie, I want to throw across to you because there's a story here that you've got, which is, we know your expertise in age care and the healthcare sector. And we know that in the next five years that say, the level of amenity and the repurposing both front of house and back of house in aged care is going to go through the roof. But you've had as you mentioned in the pre conversation, you've had one of the toughest fortnight's that you've had in your business, because you've had to let a couple of team members go, right when you know there's going to be an upturn in the market. So you've got this possibility of saying, Well, we know this is going to grow, but then you've also got the reality of can you hold the team together between now and when those contracts fall? That's very difficult to reimagine your business that way?
Julie Ockerby 25:55
Yeah, and like I said in our pre conversation, you know, my optimism is still relatively high, my stress levels are a lot higher than it probably was early in COVID days. And because it's not nice to let people go, that are actually good talent, you know. If they misbehave, that's a different story. But, but saying goodbye, good talents really hard during this time, and you you're letting them loose in, in a market where it's, it's pretty flat out there in the job market. So it's really hard. And but you know, there's a commercial judgment that needs to come into it, which which outweighed everything else unfortunately. And the reason why that happened is in the sector, where we're a niche with, its paused, you know, we just had our new budget overnight, the world aged care commission reports will come out next February. So I think everyone is just hanging tight for all of that. But in the meantime, we've been looking at extra services, the extra service offerings that we can do that we've never done before, only because we were too busy doing the stuff we were really, really good at. And so, you know, a few months ago, I did pull the team together and said, Okay, what are the things we can do, but we haven't done, but we should do and let's be really good at it. And so they're the things we've been developing and similarly to what Dylan and Mia have been saying, and what everyone else has been saying is that there's been a bit more time to harness new skills. Don't get me wrong, we've been super busy the last few months. But you know, the bell curve is when we finish a project, which we've finished three in this COVID time, believe it or not, there becomes that lull where we've been able to develop new skills. And we've relied on our relationships to learn from and deal with things that we've never had to we've never had time to deal with. So it's actually been a very positive moment, but it has had its hard moments as well. But I remain optimistic going back we've kept kept kept saying in the last six months, relationships have always been important, and they're more important now than ever. And similarly, to me, I don't really welcome many people into my close knit world and I'm still sort of the same, butrelationships are really important, you know, just leaning on people, like yourselves for the ability to look outside the square.
Mark Bergin 28:36
Yeah, and it's so important to have a network that you can actually get influences from and that you can and understand and calibrate. Early this morning, I was speaking to a designer in New York, and it happens to be his birthday, hence giving him the call reaching out and giving a bit of love. But we're reflecting on the very first USA market town hall that we did. He was there and he was being really honest about just how down he was. And you had his peers on the call, who were all saying but you're one of the best graphic designers and typographers in the world, how could you not be actually busy. And then about two thirds of the way through the call I see him pick up his phone, and he starts to punch the air. And he said, we've just been awarded the job which actually secures us for six to nine months worth of work. And you saw every part of his physical demeanor changed. So we've spoken now, five months down the track from there and you can hear that there is such a different person there. And it's interesting, we all go through those stressful periods when you're beyond it, and you've got that thriving side, it's great. But that's also where the new jobs come. And that's also where new vitality is in the market. That's that new possible. And I think it's important that we're To go and support each other both when it's actually that difficult moment, as well as aborting when it's actually thriving, and then saying, Well, how do we make it more efficient, because, you know, the first thing is that you've got to go survive a bad circumstance. The next one is that you just actually make sure that you're paying your commitments, and that you've got that. And the third one is that you're actually getting really good extraction out of the business. And it's been worth your while for all that effort and toil that you put in there. So, you know, I think it's really important that we hang in there. And that actually we're proud that we've actually gotten past the pain in our commitments and we're thriving. Because there's going to be a bit of survivor's guilt in this and I think, Dylan, you reflected on the fact that it was almost like, yeah, there's almost a bit of survivor guilt in the way that you're referring to some of the stuff there. It's fantastic that there are people who are doing well, and we need to flag to the talent that's in the market, that we will be hiring the future that we will be expanding, because hope is such an important thing, you know, first thing we have to do is address the dilemma, the next one is we've got to imagine what that possible is. And that's part of where the leadership comes in. We're shining that.
Richard Henderson 31:07
light to say something about that Mark if I may. I think in a personal sense, out ofchaos and confrontation, actually that does bring the best out of you, because you have to peel back the onion, look at the core or you are. Everyone comes onto this earth with a purpose, it's like your fingerprint, everything is individual. And this is about the old adage of the glass half full glass half empty - sometimes you have to empty the glass to be able to actually look at something and bring something new into it. I think that's a positive thing with designers and creative creators have wisdom that we have always got the tyranny of the white page, how do you start? Where do you go? So I think whilst it's hard, it's also good, because it actually brings you back to who you are and what you're about. And you can reinvent yourself, which is really what creativity is all about. So I always think that confrontation is not necessarily a bad thing.
Mark Bergin 32:01
Yes. So there's confrontation, which is actually bullying confrontation, and then there's confrontation, which is uplifting confrontation. You know, if you get people who do the I'm trying to win against you, rather than I'm trying to add to what you're saying, you know that that's the important thing is how do we actually do this in a respectful, additive way that actually lifts each other up? What I do want to do, because viewers, we're going to actually continue this conversation as a group after we finish the recording here, but I just want to check, does anybody actually have a point that you want to go bring in before I wrap this up here? Anybody who wants to add something that we that we need to talk about?
Dylan Brady 32:41
Yeah, I'd love to. I've got a sense that all of this change- I work with three horizons in our business, and we try and get our team to work to three horizons, the furthest one away is legac, that's what you want to leave behind; the middle horizon is inspiration, Why do what you do?; the close horizon is sustenance, what do you do on a daily basis to keep you fed and busy and connected and those things? At the moment what's happened for us is there's been no shift for me personally and legacy as a horizon. My inspiration has moved slightly to try to do more that changes the way that we experience our first horizon globally, in the sense of sustenance, how do people take from what's given? And what's presented the best thing? How do you do the best with what you've got? So for us, it's really about how do we change the way we sustain our business in order to maintain the inspiration and the eventual legacy?
Mia Feasey 33:47
Dylan that reminds me of something that we've been working on around places for purpose. So within the interiors thing, and we've been looking at Ikigai. Have you guys heard of the Japanese Ikigai, so when you're trying to find your own purpose - what you love, what you pay for, what the world will pay for, I can't remember all three of them, but we've been translating them to place because I think when we come out of this, places really need to create places with hearts and everything has to have a purpose. And it all has to be connected. And how do we take this Ikigai for yourself and apply it to our planet, our cities, our places for connection? So I've the time during Corona has been really wonderful to start thinking about these concepts. And Richard, when you said the tyranny of the white page, I've just written that down, that is fantastic. I love it. And I feel that we and I'm sure all of you have got much better, I've come up with more ideas in the past five months than ever before. I kind of wake up and it's like, I've got another idea! It's been quite interesting.
Mark Bergin 35:02
Well it's only us here, do you want to share some of those ideas?
Mia Feasey 35:05
Yeah, I mean I even had one yesterday or the day before. I was in a car with my husband, and the more you do it, the more it comes right? So I was like, Oh, well, it's a bank holiday. And he's like, it's not a bank holiday. I said, it is a bank- well, I know, it's Labor Day, but in England, everything's a bank holiday. And then I was in the car and I'm like, why in England, was it called the bank holiday? And I was like, oh, so even if is not a bank holiday, it's always a bank holiday, because the banks in society in our community have been the pillar of our social network, our community. So what is going to happen when retail - we've been talking about the future of banking for so long. You know, basically it's going to be an ATM and it's going to be a zoom link, you know what I mean? It does not make sense for them to have this, so what are we gonna do with their space? So then I suddenly started thinking, well, the banks are going to withdraw their street presence at some point, we knew this anyway, but it's going to happen faster because of COVID. So they have a responsibility in my eyes, to do that social community piece, and how are they going to do it? Is it going to be is it you know, soccer, whatever, and it's not enough. And I spoke to a guy at CBAS, they're going, I'm worried about it, Mia, the young people today, they don't have bank accounts, they do PayPal, they do Zip, they do afterpay. I said, Okay, so you need to get to all the parents and say to them, we're going to use our spaces to start doing accounts. So just Mark, here's one example of just thinking about stuff.
Mark Bergin 36:41
And I think that's a really interesting thing about the deconstruction phase that we're in, particularly if we go think about retail, so we need to deconstruct what retail is, as well. Banking was always about financial instruments, but our relationship with them was actually about cash accounts and it was about notes - well the notes are gone, the cash accounts have gone, they should be about financial instruments. And none of the banks that I've had any engagement with have actually said, Mark, you've got a business, maybe you need some financial instruments, it's always about these account products. And so what they got lost in was, they didn't express their meaning and utility to me, what they did was they sold me a product feature. And therefore that brand is really bad. You know, Richard, going back to you if, if having a relationship with your bank is actually about financial instruments that allow you to accelerate your business I'm with them. But when it's always about account fees, I am not with them. And so they kind of broke it, because they they found this really rich stream of extraction as account fees, and they forgot to tell us that they were friends from financial instruments, because they were extracting so much money elsewhere. So, you get that's very interesting to see how they're going to go fix that up. That sort of deconstruction is going to happen everywhere - it has to happen in retail, because people will still want to go back and have in store experiences. I was speaking with Bob Neville, who has set up the design test centre, previously he was with Adidas, with New Balance, with Puma. And it's fascinating to see the projects that he's working on in Asia, which are actually all about in real life retail visitation experiences, not necessarily transactional experiences. And you go is the shopping mall going to be actually the entertainment center of the future, not the transactional center of the future? And so they're reinterpreting, banks need to do the same, health services need to do the same.
Mia Feasey 38:41
And think Mark, where this has all come from - It came from something that I thought of, and I may not be the first person to think of it, but in terms of the triple bottom line, economic, environment, and social and it's sort of the three, right and in real life, economics always sort of come first. Money is the first thing businesses think of, you know, a bit of environment, a bit of social and I just have completely changed my thinking to going it has to be social first, it has to be community first. And we have to get what Richard was saying about creativity on boards, we have to get more creatively on boards. And if we as a nation, or as a society of people, can start thinking about our people first, which I think in studios you generally do, because without culture, you know, it completely affects your bottom line. But I don't think in the big businesses and particularly the pillars of society, like the banks, post offices, everything like that, that have been the pillars of our society to this point, really. Somehow someone up there, Richard, has to get them thinking really with with those values and that mission around social and community first and then the money will follow and then maybe we'll have some money to fix the environment.
Richard Henderson 39:58
Picking up on that there, you know, the World Economic Forum has said that creativity and emotional experiences is the number three of the top skills that everyone has to have nowadays. And the triple bottom line of saying it's personable, it's emotional connections, it is the human aspect of it. Social is a big part a community, but we need to think about the individual. Of course, this is really like a first world problem. I mean, there are plenty people who are in the world, billions of people who are just just trying to exist- starving. I mean, that's
Mia Feasey 40:29
Starving, I mean how can you get people to care about the environment if they're hungry? You know that's exactly the point.
Mark Bergin 40:35
And so Mia, over the last six months, I've spent quite a bit of time with the teams at McKinsey and froh and PriestmanGoode and a bunch of others, I've been very privileged. But we've been doing a discussion, which is actually about a better future framework. And the problem with the triple bottom line is that it uses the word social and in certain parts of the world social goes next to socialism, which then gets triggered. So we know that there. So we said, well, isn't it really about social equity and it's about the sustainable environment and a thriving economy. So you've got economy, equity, and environment, those three E's that come together, it's basically the same thing, but it kind of gets rid of the word that actually triggers people. Because you're right, if somebody actually doesn't have the capacity to feed themselves,
Mia Feasey 41:32
Maslow's hierarchy of needs-
Mark Bergin 41:34
Yeah, they really care about about what the future of their children is going to be because they're actually worried about their own future today.
Dylan Brady 41:41
I think you have to take on more than three lines there. And Kate Raworth's Donuteconomics is much more sophisticated. With the Sustainable Development Goals and the missing Sustainable Development Goal, which should be no violence, because they've got a bunch of them that are all about like war or safety, but actually, violence is one that doesn't exist, and it should be there because it cuts through every economic quarter and racial quarter of world. If you can blend SDGs and the donut economics, then you've gone way beyond triple bottom line, triple bottom line becomes like talking about a green star score when you know that reducing the energy in your building is like one filament of sustainability. So I think that we need to be able to think broader.
Mia Feasey 42:30
But fo you think these big institutions can go from there to there without-
Dylan Brady 42:35
The problem is at the moment is the banks are seen as pillagers, not pillars.
Mia Feasey 42:43
I know, it's such a shame. It's such an opportunity, though, isn't it?
Dylan Brady 42:47
Well, I try and look at the world through this particular lens when I'm trying to imagine the future and it's very useful to look at photographs of old cities - if you go and look at photographs from the olden days, "olden days", and look at everything that's no longer there. Like what's in the picture that's no longer needed? And then look with that lens at today. What do you see when you look out there that you think is perfectly normal and you don't even see it anymore because it's so normal? So classic example, telephone booths? Where did they go? Oh, do you know what they are now? The biggest advertising boards in the world and all the councils are going, how can you put that there? And there's this archaic rule from 1812 that says the telecom company is allowed to put a telephone booth in the middle of the road without a permit and that telephone booth is a giant fucking advertising billboard, right? Because no one needs a mobile phone nooth, no one's got 20 cents to put into the machine to make a call, but it doesn't matter anymore, right? So what are the things that exist today that that we think are normal that are going to disappear? Carparks. 3.5 meter wide car road lanes and left turn lanes will be irrelevant. Traffic lights, irrelevant, gone. Why don't you need them? because cars will drive themselves smoothly, continuously, they'll do that without us needing them. So what are we gonna do with all of that leftover stuff? How do we think about making a better place for people, but that's better for the biodiversity of the nation. There's an insect Armageddon going on. You know, when you talk about everybody starving, I'm reading a wonderful book at the moment called Factfulness, written by Hans Rosling, who is just a genius. Now departed Swedish statistician who swallows swords, and his book is about the fact and you should read it because I heard you say Mia, "everyone's starving".
Mia Feasey 44:48
Well only because I was just reading about Yemen and it feels like everyone's starving.
Dylan Brady 44:51
Read that book because actually over the last 10 years, the human environment has been radically shifted, the natural environment has been decimated, absolutely decimated. And so when you say social comes first I think environmental comes first, hungry people focus on the environment because the environment is where our food comes from. And ultimately, most people don't buy their food, they grow it. And so how do we help people grow better? How do we make that part of our DNA?
Mark Bergin 45:32
Dylan, you know, I'm gonna leave this town hall on that sentiment there. How do we help people grow better? What an amazing new possible lens that's out there. Everybody, thank you so much for your time, I know we could go on for hours, we probably will after we stop recording. And we'll be back in a month time in Australia, but every week, there's another town hall from either from Asia or the UK or the USA. Thank you so much for your time here. And thank you, panelists.