February 19, 2014 - Comments Off on Old dog, new tricks and falling upwards

Old dog, new tricks and falling upwards

It was said that only death and taxes were certain. Well, I think nowadays we have to add “change” to that list of certainties. After spending more than two decades in the world of large corporate business I left to try my hand at something different. I wanted to feel the freedom to be more agile and learn new tricks, but I appreciated that it would not be easy for an old dog like me.

Although I was sure my skills and knowledge were transferable, it wasn’t actually as simple as that. The thing that troubled me was that no matter how confident I was, I wasn’t quite sure of what I actually wanted to do.

So I met with lots of people, which helped me to decide what not to do – an important part of the process.

Then I came across the team at Bloom and immediately felt an energy from the passion that creativity just naturally generates. However, in business, ambition and passion can often blind a management team so much that they become busy fools. Someone once said: “Experience – isn’t that what we call our mistakes?”

The Bloom team had experience, but they coupled that experience with hard work for their clients – and, importantly, differentiation of products and services.

For example, with Whisper, I think we have a world beating social intelligence tool. I learned that Whisper was built by our Non-Executive Director Peter Grindrod CBE, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, and Pete Laflin, General Manager of Insight and Innovation at Bloom.

Now, I’m relatively new to the agency world and my thoughts were, ‘which kind of agency has maths geeks on their books?!’ I’m in a book club myself, and these guys are in maths clubs! Alex Craven (CEO) and Dave Wood (MD) explained their vision to me at The Cross Keys, which happens to be just around the corner from Bloom – and my favourite pub!

Alex is your archetypal innovation-led entrepreneur and Dave is very much the commercial brains that will ensure controlled growth. They’re perfect foils for each other.

In the agency, the music is on all the time, people doodle amazing stuff on walls, there is a continuous communal chess game going on and clients as well as Bloomers love the space in which we work together.

My wife jokes that I have several offices now, all within walking distance of each other: two pubs, one cafe, one funky coffee shop and Bloom. You probably won’t believe me, but it’s the clients who decide where to meet for a beer or a coffee…

So, what have I learned so far?

If you pick the best team to play with then you do not need to fear learning new tricks – and you can even teach the young ones some things they don’t know. Embrace change; it’s incredible fun – even for an old dog like me!