The Drip Edition 16

We are BACK AT IT.

I got back two weeks ago to a relatively quiet start to the year, which was a nice change, however it all descended into chaos in week two.

The lord giveth, etc.

I spent the (now seemingly distant) holidays alternating between thinking about work and how we could evolve strategy across the business, and also trying to switch off and recharge, so I didn’t feel like I didn’t have a holiday.

In order to switch off I needed to distract myself. So I read. A lot. I managed to get through 10 books over the holidays, and another two since then. I watched hardly any TV. No series. No mindless drivel.

I read and listened to podcasts. I walked everyday. I spent time at the beach.

I didn’t go away, purely because I wanted to be able to relax in Cape Town and feel like I was on holiday at home, which I haven’t done in years. It was marvellous.

I’ve been back at work for two weeks now, and am finally settling into a rhythm again.

So here are the things that have been on my mind for the past month.

My pick of podcasts:

  • Dr. Death: This limited series podcast follows the story of a neurosurgeon who completely botched 33 surgeries, leading to years of investigations as to whether he was intentionally hurting people, or just REALLY bad at his job. The series looks at how the system failed, and also how he managed to get away with destroying people’s lives for so long, and his culpability, and the culpability of doctors under the law. 
  • Dear John: This is the story of a man who duped multiple women in to marrying him, or manipulating women into giving him money (through blackmail and other horrible means), managing to lie about being a doctor, and swindling them out of money.
  • 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter: This great podcast is about biomimicry, and how scientists, engineers and inventors have learned from animals to develop better technology, like bullet trains; spiders and remote sensing; the Octopus and camouflage. Really great podcast!
  • Unravel: An Australian podcast serialising the murders and/ or disappearances of Australians. I just love a crime podcast.

Books I loved:

  • The Goldfinch: Donna Tartt is a wonderful writer, detailing in the most beautiful and nuanced ways how lives can change in an instant and with just one mistake. This book tells the story of a young boy who experiences catastrophic tragedy, and the impact this has on his life. It’s long, but worth it.
  • Remains of the Day: Kazuo Ishiguro is an incredible writer. He’s prolific, but also manages to cross-genres and still crafting his own narrative style, whilst staying true to the genre he is tackling. From books like Buried The Giant (fantasy) to Never Let Me Go (Sci-fi) and then Remains of the Day, he manages to write so beautifully and without compromise. Remains of the Day is a simple story of a butler in post-war England, exploring themes of love, dignity, service, and politics in a changing world. 
  • Secret History: Another Donna Tartt book. This one was set in Hampden, Vermont and follows a unique bunch of university students. It follows the death of their friend, and is told in the style of an inverted detective story. It is slow, but absorbing.  
  • The Most Fun We Ever Had: This is a story about love, family and loss. Really moving and beautifully written, it follows a family through generations, detailing the mistakes they made, the love they have for one another, the trauma passed from parent to child, and how we are all just trying to find our own ways to live. Interestingly it explores in-depth the theme of love, and how the children of parents who loved one another so much were somehow wounded by that love, unable to find a relationship that truly matched their parents’ own perfect example of it.
  • Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine: Spoiler. She isn’t fine. This is the story of a woman who works in a design agency who is lonely, over-looked and really just getting through life, without living it. The book manages to tackle issues of mental health, love and death in a light-hearted manner.

Empathy And Business

This is not an article on empathyas in “awe I like you”. It’s an article about the true meaning of empathy: “to have understanding and share the feelings of another”. Hard to imagine in a complex organisation that impacts hundreds of other beings and organisations. Think of a supply chain? Google for example might have a great working culture (just an example, I have no idea) but there are so many spaces and places along the way where it is easy to forget the “empathy” chain.

A quote:

“The UN Ambassador for the Ocean, Peter Thompson, recently told me about the dramatic rise of “blue crime” in the seafood industry: an umbrella term for all manner of illegalities in the production of the food we all casually pick up from the supermarket freezer, or enjoy choosing from a menu when we dine out. Behind those innocent prawns lurk modern day slaves, trafficked humans who work the “ghost boats” that don’t officially exist. They overfish the groaning ocean and hand their catch over to the official boats, who can therefore avoid owning the nets that would prove their guilt. They in turn hand the fish over to a company who can claim they are only using official boats from within permitted fishing areas.”


“Every citizen on this planet who has the luxury of empathy must use it. Every one of those lucky enough to have been born into a corner of the world where their basic needs are met without strife or compromise – and that is only 5% of our seven billion-strong population – must put that empathy into hyperdrive. The science is increasingly clear: we have around 10 years left to fix this mess we’ve created.”

Empathy in business is going to be REALLY hard. It means taking into consideration how we can change the way we operate to have empathy for all life, humans and otherwise, so that there is a world in a few hundred years’ time. It’s about looking at all of your suppliers and asking them tough questions. It’s about looking at clients, and asking if they are looking at their suppliers in the same way. It takes bravery, introspection and thoughtfulness across a multitude of layers.

Roundup Of The Decade:

This was the funniest thing I have watched in MANY years.

Please watch at least the first two minutes, where you see an elderly Australian man give the best rendition of a dog attack the world has ever seen.

If you are looking for ANY insight. Any trends. Design. Strategy. Creative. Retail trends. Industry-specific. Social insights. Consumer insights by PWC. Augmented reality. Influence trends. This is the most exhaustive list I have found. I have used it twice already this year for projects I am working on. A definite one to bookmark!
one folder with 15+ 2020 Trend Reports

How open plan offices kill creativity

I actually sent this to Josh as a joke because he was working on open plan layouts for our Cape Town office and I just wanted to irritate him (that’s what family is for, isn’t it?).

It is rather interesting, and I am torn on whether it’s 100% right or wrong. I suppose you’d have to judge for yourself. And the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. That open plan offices work IN SOME respects, for SOME people, at CERTAIN times.

A quote:

“Open plan offices (and especially hot-desked open plan offices) deny introverts the peace and quiet and privacy they require to be creative. As a result, the time introverts spend in the workplace during regular work hours is largely wasted.

To complete their projects, introverts are forced to work nights or at home–a burden that extraverts, who tend to express their creativity in conversations and “collaboration,” aren’t forced to carry.”

I do agree that open plan offices mean that we have to work on more things at home, because we are interrupted or called upon for advice at any time. But I also think that the collaborative spirit open plan offices create give us more opportunity to develop more interesting ideas. And, if need be, we can find a quiet place to work when we need to, without taking our work home. It’s really important therefore to build these quiet, introspective spaces for employees to find those moments.

Let me know what you think?

And that is it for this week!

As ever, have a wonderful week. If you have any thoughts, queries, questions and concerns.

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Carla Gontier

Carla Gontier

Carla Gontier is Director of Strategy at Iconic Media. Carla has developed significant digital and content strategic experience over the past 8 years, with the bulk of her experience within digital and social primarily spent across the FMCG; Automotive; Tourism; Insurance; Education and Tech industries.

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