The Reception


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Lubna Forzley interview

This week we meet the managing director at Stories. What’s your golden rule? When life throws lemons at you, make mint-lemonade. How can marketers be braver? Have faith in your abilities and never fear losing your job - “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because its trust is not in the branch, but rather in its own wings’. What is your most hated business expression? Women can’t…. What's the biggest risk you've taken in your career? I don’t consider I have yet (stay tuned)... I suppose, moving to UAE with two kids and a third one in my tummy and starting a business ( can be considered a mini risk? Which leader do you most admire and why?

Daydreaming degree

Room B436 has been booked out on the third floor. It’s window-less and has bright fluorescent lighting. A white rectangular formica table sits in the middle of the room and there are six black executive chairs placed around it. In the middle of it, there is a conference phone with wiring available for laptops. There are two or three used coffee mugs on the table. There is a large whiteboard with scribblings remaining from the last meeting. A perspex dividing wall separates room B436 from the rest of the floor which is full of more white formica desks and more black executive chairs. There is no air-conditioning in the room and the temperature gauge is stuck at 25 degrees. It’s a bit warm. A brainstorming meeting has been arranged between 2pm and 4pm. Are you looking forward to it? Corporate Headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Dubai's growing buzz

The collection of senior marketers at each Marketing Society Dubai event grows more diverse, interesting and whatsmore, engaged each month. On this occasion, two years since our launch, on arrival there were senior marketing execs from Dubai Airports, Emirates NBD, The Entertainer, IBM, Majid Al Futtaim, MBC, Unilever sprinkled with a handful of senior agency and consulting folks. Each event gets busier and with a bigger buzz. And that’s why we keep coming. The conversations amongst this growing community before the main attraction are often as meaningful as anything said on stage. Regular marketing community interaction, beyond big festivals, is rare in this part of the world. It’s becoming vital to catch up on unfinished conversations from the last time; great to build upon growing friendships; a delight to share ideas, opportunities and general chit-chat.

Apply design thinking

With the weather tipping to well over 40 degrees in sunny Dubai this morning… and before everyone vacates to cooler possibilities, Marketing Society members gathered for an inspirational session with Calvin Hart from IBM who recently relocated to Dubai from the startup Shoreditch Hoxton hub world in London to D3 design district in Dubai. He walked us through how design thinking is being applied to help businesses revolutionize their understanding of their own marketplace and positioning and how better to connect with consumers through a solid framework of thinking.  Reminiscent thoughts of how parker pens moved from the pen market into the gifting market came to my mind as well as all the industries that are at break speed trying to revolutionize into a ‘XaaS’ (something as a service) business model: transport as a service, entertainment as a service, and retail as a service to thrive.

One size doesn’t fit all

At times innovation feels like that famous scene in the Monty Python film, ‘Life of Brian’, where the crowd is told, “you are all different” and they reply in unison “yes we’re all different”. It’s a wonderfully ironic example of saying one thing and doing another. We may be all working for different companies, with different innovation needs and challenges, yet too often everyone is approaching innovation in the same way. Currently, too many companies are doing… the same things in similar ways, with the same consumers, asking the same questions, reading the same reports, going to the same conferences and getting to the same ideas, at about the same time! Innovation is a growth game… and growth comes in numerous different forms so the first question needs to be what type of growth are you looking for? Steal Share (same brand and core category)

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