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Brief Published: 2 Dec 2015

Unbound Conference 2015

Unbound Conference 2015

London’s annual Unbound conference aims to facilitate connections between global innovators and investors. The mix of talks, workshops and start-up showcases at this year’s event (November 30 to 1 December) brought together the likes of BMW, Intel and Nest Labs.

The issue of how to enable true creativity to flourish in your business was a running theme. Jeremy Basset, global director of consumer goods company Unilever’s innovation lab, Foundry, outlined three key strategies: “One, you need a framework for experimentation. This has to mean you can take risks easily, quickly and cheaply. Two, you need a culture for experimentation. And three, you need space.” Through its “pitch, pilot and partner” process, Unilever Foundry has piloted 80 projects and is starting to scale 40 of them.

Neal Cross, chief innovation officer at multinational DBS Bank, spoke of the change in perception that occurs when his staff are partnered with coders and engineers at DBS hackathons. “They go back to their desks and go: ‘Hey, I've got a project to start and I’m going to do it a bit differently.’ They start to think like a start-up. And then we want them to think about platforms and collaborations and ecosystems. So no longer do we feel like a bank just building its own stuff.”

Also of importance is the need to understand the impact of the rise of Asia. Cross advised brands looking to expand into China, India or South Asia to look for “the gaps you can work into”, especially around demographics. “Go after the underserved in banking – people without accounts but who have smartphones,” he suggested. “One day, they’re going to be the middle class. It’s an enormous underserved market.”

Another key question was around the future of advertising in an increasingly disrupted mobile media landscape. Ekaterina Almasque, director of investments at Samsung, looked to a future where ads are far more unobtrusive. “Advertising will go through a revolution, with new ways to reach the consumer without actually disturbing the consumer,” she said. “There’ll be a shift from pushing information to having a dialogue with the consumer, trying to reach them when the consumer is ready.”

We discuss these sorts of contextual strategies in our 2016 Look Ahead, as well as in our reports Marketing in the Moment: Advertising Week New York 2015 and Location-Based Mobile Marketing.