It’s safe to say that B&T’s inaugural Towards 2030 Forum last week in Sydney was a rip-roaring success, but just to prove we’re not biased, TBWA Sydney’s Chloe Saintilan (pictured below) has provided some honest feedback on how it all went down.
The Towards 2030 Forum was fantastic, and I couldn’t recommend it enough to young industry peeps. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much free food, heard so much valuable advice or have been in the presence of so many Millennial overachievers. Oh, and James Matheson was the MC – the early 2000s Chloe died and went to heaven.
The mentorship session in particular was a pretty amazing experience – the mentors were drawn from the likes of media, tech, creative agencies and production houses. While everyone had their own unique advice and anecdotes, covering everything from up-skilling to working overseas, Jane Huxley was definitely my favourite. Her career building businesses up from nothing and her advice about future-proofing ourselves had my whole group non-stop scribbling in our notebooks.
After mentoring, we broke into our groups for the ‘hackathon’ section of the day to discuss and eventually write a business plan for what we believed to be the ‘agency of the future’. What quickly became evident within our group is that everyone had very distinct – and contrasting – viewpoints on what this hypothetical future agency looks like.
For some in our group, this agency’s offering was very tech-heavy (with a lot of talk around AI). One dude in our group even pitched that the future of advertising is a consumer walking into a room and having every brand curated for them for life, on the spot. For others, they felt AI and emerging tech could lose touch with what advertising is all about – storytelling and human connection.
So, the agency we ended up pitching sought to bridge these two ideas together – an agency called Humanity that infuses human connection into emerging and new technologies. We re-thought the agency structure too – Humanity would bring teams together based on what skills they had that were right for specific projects – not their job titles. Also, I need to add that our table captains – Cate Stuart-Robertson and Matt Taylor – were champions.
The day concluded with all groups pitching their agencies of the future to the judges. Some really interesting ideas came out of it, including an agency on a plane and an Airbnb-style rating system to choose people for projects. But what was clear is that while there were definitely common themes, there is no single agency of the future. Everyone had amazing and diverse agency models, and I know that in 2030 a lot of the concepts are going to be far more than just an idea on a screen.