A frenzy of project briefings, revenue meetings, secret pitch missions and internet trawls, balanced with office gossip, Cheese Club and plenty of tea rounds - that pretty much sums up my "typical" week (if there is such a thing).
But this week has been different. I’m taking a break from my day job at LBi to join the Google Squared programme – which has the ambition of "empowering today’s and tomorrow’s leaders to drive the industry [r]evolution". No pressure, then…
I usually spend Friday afternoons mopping up my week’s to-do list and dreaming of 5.30pm, when the LBi beer fridges are unlocked. But, last Friday, I ventured over to the new Google Squared office on Tottenham Court Road for my first meeting with the other programme participants – 36 of the brightest young minds from the industry’s best digital, creative and media agencies. The message for us was simple: leave your comfort zone, make mistakes and learn by doing.
So, with that in mind, I arrived on Monday fully prepared to make loads of blunders. After reviewing some key skills (leadership, reflection and powerful conversations), we were dealt our first real-life brief: to have a "powerful conversation" with the managing director of Borough Market and to use that to provide some creative solutions for the development of the London Bridge area. We work in an industry where people like to talk a lot, so having the ability to push some of those conversations further should have a huge impact on my day-to-day work. Rewarding but utterly exhausting – the end of day one felt more like the end of week one.
Tuesday brought some digital respite, as Neil Perkin came to talk to us about an "anthropological view of digital". Since I haven’t completely abandoned my job at LBi, I was glad that some of Neil’s examples were perfect for the competitor review my line manager needed by the end of the day. In the afternoon, everything went a bit "am-dram". I struggled to find my inner thesp while reciting the line "I thank you. I am not of many words" over and over again, but it was ideal preparation for Wednesday’s task.
Wednesday. Picture a Lambeth primary school, eight very excited ten-year-olds, an abridged script of Much Ado About Nothing and five marketers with no teaching experience. Pretty mad, but amazing what can be achieved in just a few hours. As the cherry on top of a great day, we had the brilliant John Willshire come and talk to us about the risk of brands "fracking" the social web. This one is going straight up on to my "LBi at Squared" blog.
Now the task is to put everything we’ve learnt into practice and come up with an idea for a new online business – exploring emerging technologies, analysing competitors and developing revenue models. The whole shebang. This is going to be interesting.
Not exactly a typical week for me, but one that will have a massive impact on those to come.
Louise Windo is a client services graduate at LBi
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