Andy Townend

Andy Townend

Proven track record in shaping and delivering complex national transformation programs.

'How would it be, if everybody did that?'

How would it be,” the police officer asked him severely, “if everybody did that?” 

 - Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

Douglas Adams may not be an established literary giant, but for me (at least) he has long been an inspiration. His original Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy series, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4, captured my heart and mind many years ago. Captured my mind as I was figuring out who I was, what I wanted to be. Gave me an early insight into alternative perspectives. Made me think.

Last week, I was privileged to be invited to speak at the Baltic Project Management Forum 2016. The subject of my presentation Cultural Diversity: Making the Project Fit the Culture.

In the lead up to the Forum, I was invited to give an interview to Simas Čelutka at IQ magazine, a Baltic publication affiliated with The Economist.

The questions posed to me, the contributions of my fellow speakers, the warmth of the welcome extended to me by the organisers of the Forum, and the people of Vilnius, reminded me of those days long ago when the world stretched out ahead of me, waiting to be discovered. And so, again, I realised that no matter how rich one’s experience, there is so much more to be learned. Always.

The interview I gave to IQ, transcribed below, reminded me of how lucky I have been, of the opportunities I have had, to learn more about our world, about how much more there is to learn.

For we can never stop learning.

Or sharing.

Space: the final frontier?

Well, ok, some might contest that we know more about our own solar system than we do about the world below the waves of our oceans, but, last night, the frontier was clearly space.

Earlier in the week, in a session focused on the world of advertising, we were presented with an image of Matt Damon and the surface of Mars. An image being used to sell potatoes in a supermarket. Lateral thinking.

Gafas del sol

Optimists have long been accused of wearing rose tinted spectacles.

The pace of change in our media industry is such that sunglasses are now essential. 

Google. Apple. Facebook. Amazon.

Yes, that's right. The first day of the IBC 2016 conference in Amsterdam was dominated by discussion of the strategies of the internet giants that not only dominate our industry but the world's economy. Oh, and don't forget Netflix and telcos such as Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and KPN.

Mad Men, Mobile and Media

'The premier annual event for professionals engaged in the creation, management and delivery of entertainment and news content worldwide and an unparalleled platform to meet, address and learn from 55,000+ of the most engaged power brokers, press and prospects in international electronic media and entertainment’ 

At least that is how the IBC describes the international broadcasting conference held each year in Amsterdam.

This year’s opening Keynote ’Mad Men, Mobile and Media’ promises, if not Don Draper, to pick up where NAB left off back in April. The rhetoric has a distinctly familiar ring to it ‘monetisation, content creation and distribution are all adapting to the rampant growth of mobile, connected, personal devices coupled to rising consumer power’

A lie goes around the world before the truth gets its boots on

In most of the democratic countries in Western Europe it is easy to argue that we are spoiled by the choice of media on offer to us. A feast of news, opinion and debate is laid out for us, on news stands, in kiosks, on television, radio and online.

We have long prided ourselves in Europe on the plurality of our media, the freedom of our press, the liberal nature of public discourse.

Speaking on the first morning of the Global Media Forum, hosted by Deutsche Welle in Bonn, Franz-Josef Lersch-Mense, Minister for Federal Affairs and the Media, reminded us that 'freedom of the press is one of the cornerstones of democratic society’. He went on to warn that this freedom is being curtailed, even in some European countries. He did not mention it specifically, but the state of press freedom in Hungary underscores his point. I have friends who recently left the country as a consequence. It’s that real.