A night of Random-ness

10 Feb

You can read a shorter account of the night on my Devon LIfe Blog

The anticipation for Random Exeter was palpable. Twitter banter was flying around on the hashtag #randomexeter all day and as people began to arrive the suspense was heightened by us being kept from the ‘Random’ room until 6:02pm.


There were five speakers Des Smith of the Ann Holman Company, Chris Penberthy who works with charities, volunteers and leads Devon Social Media Cafe, Ann Holman founder of the Ann Holman Company, Simon Gough founder of Redfront creative & cultural engagement, and finally Rob Glover, lead organizer of #TagsExeter social networking group.

Each was asked by Ann Holman to select one word to think about and then talk about for 15 minutes. The words chosen were ‘strategic’, ‘reciprocity’, ‘connection’, ‘death’, and a final discussion.


Random People

It was a night for creative mind expansion and inspiration and left me feeling proactive and full of ideas. I’ve picked out the best parts of the talks below:

Des on strategic vs operational, “strategy creates opportunities”.

Chris’s impressive points on reciprocity; that it is at the core of every religion and society. That “you give people something; time, goods, not too much, and you’ll get something in return.” I especially enjoyed his example, people sent Christmas cards to people they didn’t know, but made sure they included their address, and they actually received Christmas cards in return, in fact they continued to receive cards the year after! Which demonstrates people’s natural urge to give when they receive. This applies to volunteering, business, everything. If you give, you will receive in return.

Ann Holman

Ann’s talk focused on connection and she made a prediction for the coming year; that all departments in an organization, be they finance, operations,

IT, human resources, sales, marketing or innovation, will begin to merge, walls will need to be knocked down and all will become more socially orientated. I enjoyed Ann’s use of low tech, hand drawn doodles which showed how society had moved from a social culture, to an individualist culture, and now using technology, we are returning to social culture.

The highlight of the evening was listening to Simon Gough’s talk. His word was death, and as in China the number four is the same word for death, which is why people suffer from tetraphobia (fear of fours) he split his talk into four; deadlines and awareness of time passing, death and brands, death and strategy, and death and social media. He asked as we move away from corporate brands to personal brands, how will this affect the lifespan of a brand? But conversely, to the point that the lifespan of brand being shortened, it is a strange thought that those using social media will last forever as their stream of updates. These accounts will survive for future generations to know their forebears. The saying by economist John Maynard Keynes, sums it up rather nicely, “It’ll be alright in the end, because in the end you’ll be dead!”

Rob then opened up the floor with for discussion.

I thoroughly enjoyed the event, but I came away hoping there would have been more ‘random’ elements to the evening. When I first walked into the Mill on the Exe there were red sheets of paper stuck randomly to the walls, on closer inspection they read ‘WET PAINT’ – the pub had been recently painted, but I couldn’t help hoping that they were in some way connected to the ‘random-ness’.

I’m looking forward to what the next Random holds.

You can read a shorter account of the night on my Devon LIfe Blog


5 Responses to “A night of Random-ness”

  1. Helena February 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Thank you for posting this summary – great for those of us who couldn’t be there. I can confirm Ann’s prediction is literally coming true here at Devon Air Ambulance – we’ll be pulling down the walls this Spring and going open plan to improve cross departmental working and communication and create a more productive environment!

    • Shiny Shoe Claire February 12, 2011 at 1:05 am #

      Great, I was hoping it would act as a kind of synopsis of the night… I already knew of one person who wanted to be there, but couldn’t. I like the idea of ‘walls coming down’ & reckon it’ll be a good thing. Is it working well for you?

  2. Ann Holman February 10, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Hi Claire, thanks ever so much this fabulous overview of the evening! We tried hard to bring something different and enlightening that got people thinking!!! I’m glad my doodles communicated well and didn’t look too much like a two year olds!

    Its all about building a community around creativity, business and future thinking. We’ll try and ensure there is more randomness next time! 🙂

    • Shiny Shoe Claire February 12, 2011 at 1:07 am #

      Thanks:) looking forward to the next random & the even more randomness!


  1. Tweets that mention A night of Random-ness « Everywhere You Look -- Topsy.com - February 10, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Phillippa Rose, Claire Bryden. Claire Bryden said: A night of Random-ness: The anticipation for Random Exeter was palpable. Twitter banter was flying around on th… http://bit.ly/gLLOJp […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: