Doing Different

A new month – and a new theme.   This month we are looking at ways of ‘doing different’.  To introduce this theme, what better than to use the Ted Talk presented in 2009 by adman Rory Sutherland (kindly drawn to my attention by Hein Aucamp, one of our regular contributors).

In this talk Rory argues that the role of advertising is to create intangible value (or perceived, subjective, or ‘badge’ value). His opening story tells of a group of engineers who, some ten years previously, were asked how to improve the train trip from London to Paris. The engineers come up with a solution requiring the construction of new rail tracks to the coast, costing 6 billion, to cut 40 minutes off the then 3.5 hour travel time. Rory considered this a particularly unimaginative solution and presented his alternative – employ the world’s top male and female supermodels to walk up and down the train handing out free Château Pétrus.  “You’ll still have about 3 billion in change, and people will ask for the trains to be slowed down!”  In other words, we can improve the trip by making it more enjoyable rather than simply making it shorter.  His whole TED talk, which you can find here, is a great example of this – so enjoyable, you wish it were longer!  It is also full of ideas that may be used to help change focus and produce better results – by ‘doing different’.

So this month we are looking for examples of ‘doing different’

– examples that will improve outcomes (social, environmental and economic) by reducing the draw on scarce resources, a  ‘less is more’ approach to infrastructure and construction.  Your inspiring examples welcome.  Please send them to me at

And don’t forget that you can join in discussion on earlier blog posts.

The posts are designed as conversation starters.  Show your appreciation by adding your perspective, your suggestions, your experience.

One Thought on “Doing Different

  1. C Brown on February 2, 2018 at 3:06 pm said:

    I think to extend from this concept, pushing more towards the idea of green infrastructure: Masses of the world’s population (in particular the transient younger generations) are trading desk jobs with the door-to-door commutes for the outdoors or premature sea-changes in pursuit of more meaningful lives. If the city invested in constructing more (Singapore) Gardens-by-the-Bay-type sceneries for travellers to revel in, along with some sort of environmental investment / offset included in the cost of every ticket, this would double as ethically & aesthetically appealing.

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