Vision Critical Summit, London, 2013

On Thursday, September 26th, I embarked upon an epic journey. An epic journey to the Tate Modern.

Just joking. It wasn’t really that far, but boy was it exciting (and I’m not talking about the exquisite view I got of Elephant and Castle). Why? Because I was heading to Vision Critical’s 2013 Summit.

 

The audience was peppered with big-brand clients like ASDA, the Discovery Channel and CBS Outdoor. Not to mention household names by the likes of the BBC, the Financial Times and The Telegraph (I was also pretty excited to be goggling at the outfits of Net-A-Porter and THE OUTNET employees).

Research-world celebrity and all round lovely chap, Ray Poynter, hosted the event for the day in a fashion that would leave Bruce Forsyth quaking in his boots.

Mike Stevens, MD of Vision Critical then took to the stage to talk the audience through examples of the extreme innovation consumers can provide in the process of product development. I was certainly taken aback when Mike explained that what seemed like a month’s worth of groceries on the screen was in fact a snapshot of all the grocery packaging that had been innovated in the UK in one week alone.

Then Mike gave each table a challenge tocome up with an idea for a beverage. In 20 minutes. Apprentice-esque panic ensued, enthusiastic arms flailed and, eventually, ingenious ideas were born. We sketched our ideas out onto a poster, and off they went into Idea Screen. The Idea Screen process unleashed our ideas to Vision Critical’s panel, and they were to announce the results at the end of the day.

But, in a cruel turn of events, Vision Critical granted us access to the responses our ideas were getting. So there I was, for the rest of the day, meticulously checking our idea’s reception (and I wasn’t at all heartbroken when (CEO – need to say who he is not sure audience will know?)Andrew Reid commented that my team’s effort, FroCo., was unoriginal).

Thankfully, I did manage to tear my eyes away to see Bruce Wells’ presentation, (he’s Vision Critical’s head of Asian Operations  and I had the pleasure of sitting next to him), which put China into context. To throw a few figures out there, the population of China is 21.5 times that of the UK, and there are more internet users there than there are people in Europe. I think my jaw hit the floor a few thousand times.

If you want to check out re-caps of some of the presentations, check our twitter feed as we were live-tweeting through most of the event.

The day was filled with insight, from case studies from Nestle and THE OUTNET to panels featuring Debenhams, Iceland and Pirelli. And I was filled with spiced pear and brie focaccia sandwiches (and jelly beans).

The day drew to an end and Vision Critical announced ASDA’s customer community, Pulse of the Nation, as European Insight Community of the Year. It was praised as a highly engaged and responsive community, with some weeks seeing up to five projects running.

Then, the winning beverage was announced. But it wasn’t FroCo. (it came 3rd).  Thanks to VC  everyone left with a mind full of insight, and a belly full of focaccia.