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Be brave...

DD Global's Drago Djourov reviews our first flagship conference in Singapore

David Mayo, our daring MC, kicked off, poking fun at himself and keeping things light-hearted, but also personal and meaningful.

During the day, we were reassured that the future is Asian, experienced the power of a little semicolon, learnt that quitting is a very good option, heard from a ninja of setbacks and were convinced that the bravest of question is ‘What does it do for humans?’

Be Brave To Embrace Local Values & Cultural Sensitivities

Parag Khanna (author and Managing partner at FutureMap), believes that the future is Asian: we’re lucky to be at the right place and at the right time. However, if we want to make the most of our fortuitous position, we need to understand the hybrid that is our region and apply cultural sensitivity when navigating its business landscape—e.g. private business has to work closely with government. 

Be Brave To Shout About Your Passion & To Engage People In Conversations

Next, Andrew Au (Execuive Director, Eight Inc.) got up-close and personal with Lizi Hamer (Regional Creative Director, Octagon), Chris Lee (CMO, Singapore National Gallery) and Gaurav Kripalani (Director, Singapore Repertory Theatre). 

Lizi spoke about creativity, female empowerment and a little semicolon tattooed on her forearm (go and ask her!). Chris explained about the importance of claiming back some business metrics territory marketing has lost in the C-suite and about inspiring people to engage with a museum experience that many see as intimidating. Finally, Gaurav had his eyes set on the future: producing shows for the next generation of theatre goers and building the global brand of Singaporean theatre.

Be Brave Not To Do What You’re Good At & To Put Yourself First

What followed was a tete-a-tete conversation on the sofa between Erica Kerner (The Marketing Society Singapore Chair and Senior Advisor, ONE Championship), and Joel Simpson (Australian Sprint Kayaker and Managing Partner, Simpson Medical).

The most resonating takeaway from this intimate talk was the importance of personal conviction, regardless of whether it is in starting a new business or in quitting—Joel decided to put an end to his sport career prematurely. Further, Joel’s experience with anxiety has convinced him that we need to recognise the importance of putting oneself first—sleep, mindfulness or exercise—in order to optimally look after our family and our business.

Be Brave To Transform Yourself First & Be Resilient

Harriet de Swiet (Managing Director, Brand Learning, part of Accenture) injected energy in the room by asking around how leaders put change and transformation into action. She then brought Jenn Villalobos (VP & Head of Management Governance, NTUC Income) and Caspar Schlickum (Regional Managing Director, Accenture) into the conversation. Jenn shared that all true transformation starts with people. More importantly, one needs to learn to transform oneself and become more resilient—to turn oneself into a ‘ninja of setbacks’. Caspar explained that you can bring people along for the journey, only if you’re able to articulate the Why, but also the What & the How: he believes that the brave disrupt themselves and break the mould of their business model or category.

Be Brave To Be Human

Tim Kobe, CEO of Eight Inc., the design firm behind the Apple store concept, spoke about the importance of always asking the question, ‘What does it do for people?” He shared that it takes a lot of courage to design human experiences as we’re creatures of habit and resist change. Tim’s focus is on how design can connect not with users or with consumers, but with human beings whose existence is described by a complex system of interactions and emotional connections.

Three hours flew by... yes, it takes bravery to disrupt, to transform, to be future orientated, but we all seemed to recognise that there’s something more fundamental…that bravery is mostly about humanity—embracing the importance of engaging in conversation, listening with empathy and making culturally sensitive decisions. Doing the bravest thing is also what we most intuitively want to be a part of: to continuously add human value in our work and life—for customer, for brand, for organisation stakeholders, and for oneself.


By Drago Djourov, Managing Director at DD Global