Around this time last year, inspired by something that Ian Sanders had done, I reviewed some of the major projects that I had been involved with that year as a way of taking a step back and looking at the shape of what I’d been spending my (work) time doing. It was a useful thing to do so I'm doing it again.
I can hardly believe that it’s been five years since I launched my own business. Over that time I think I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked but the work has also been some of the most rewarding and challenging of my career. Most important of all the point where I have arrived at after five years of doing my own thing still feels full of opportunity, for which I count myself very fortunate. So on that note, here are some of the bigger projects I worked on and shipped in 2014:
- Google Firestarters has really gone from strength to strength this year. We ran four events in the UK in 2014 with themes as diverse as Designing for the Future, Agencies and Product Innovation, Big Data with Tim Harford, and Strategy as Delivery with Russell Davies. We also ran a couple of Performance Firestarters taking the subjects of Data, and of The Profit Driven Marketer. And 2014 also saw Firestarters go trans-atlantic with our first event in New York earlier this month on The New Operating System for Agencies. I'm really excited to be working with Ben Malbon at Google NYC to look at more US based events in 2015 so watch this space for more news on that, and other Firestarters events.
- I did quite a lot around content, and content strategy this year including some interesting workshops which I ran alongside Google for a large pharma business. I also ran some sessions on digital transformation and organisational change for the senior management of that company (and facilitated some mobile innovation sessions). And I also researched and authored the Econsultancy Best Practice Guide to Content Strategy.
- In fact this year I worked on a few more Best Practice Guides for Econsultancy in the area of digital transformation to complement those that I did in 2013. These included reports on The Skills of the Modern Marketer, and Marketing Insourcing and Outsourcing.
- I really enjoyed the variety of the workshops that I ran this year. These included a series on digital strategy for a large media agency (working with Jeremy Hill, continuing a really good long-term project), and content focused ones for the global team of a luxury goods trade organisation, and for a global consumer electronics manufacturer
- A challenging but rewarding assignment to help a large European telco business define what digital organisational culture means for their business
- A programme focusing on digital content and thinking for a global luxury goods manufacturer - lovely people, fascinating challenges
- A report on convergence in the gaming industry for one of the key industry suppliers
- A series of content marketing focused workshops with the UK and US teams of a large B2B publisher
- One of the most fascinating digital transformation projects this year involved working with the comms team for one of the big government ministries to help redefine what they do and how they do it
- The Google Squared programme continues to be lots of fun - this year I did several keynote sessions to open the programme for successive cohorts, and also ran sessions on organisational change for Squared Online
- Digital Shift, the digital marketing trends service I developed with Econsultancy has gained real momentum this year, and involved four reports and associated webinars which went out to a global audience
- I've also done some other digital trends work for specific clients in what is becoming a growing part of what I do
- As always, I really enjoyed my speaking engagements this year, both at conferences and bespoke talks for individual clients. Amongst others I spoke at the Festival of Marketing, the Learnfest conference (which I loved), the Future of Digital Marketing, Canon, Penguin Random House, Clearchannel, IBM, the Arts Marketing Association, eClerx, EDF, and the Econsultancy Digital Transformation Leadership event
- And I loved working with the super-smart Antony Mayfield and Brilliant Noise to curate the wonderful Dots conference in September
- It's been a year of growth for Fraggl, the Twitter curation app I launched with AdaptiveLab. Google became our first corporate customer (an area we're looking to develop more next year), our list of subscribers grew well beyond our expectations, and we launched version two of the service with a revamped algorithm and design.
- 42 weekly newsletters of curated digital goodness. Fish Food now reaches well over 1,000 subscribers and lots of people seem to get a lot of value from it.
- 188 blog posts. More than last year which surprised me if I'm honest as it's been quite challenging to carve out the time. But it continues to be worth it. This blog has been and continues to be great not just for thinking out loud, but for the connections I make through it, a way of developing ideas, gaining feedback, and as a source of credibility and business development
- Oh, and the BIMA thing was nice, and much appreciated
Looking forwards to 2015, there are already some fascinating projects in the diary. I seem to learn as much as I impart on many of the projects I undertake and long may that continue. One of my ambitions for the coming year is to turn at least some of what I've written here over the past number of years into the foundations for a book. It's a big ambition but something I've been wanting to do for a long time. More on that soon. In the meantime, my thanks to all those who took the time to meet up with me this year, and all those who have been so great to work with and from whom I have learned so much. You know who you are.