Thursday morning's plenary sessions at the ACT Annual Conference included a highly entertaining presentation from Guy Browning, Creative Director for Smokehouse. Browning's irreverent tone really engaged the audience, particularly a woman sitting just behind me who was in fits of hysterics throughout!

Rejected themes for the ACT Annual Conference 2014? 

Photo credit: @Cassie_Sale

Browning's entertaining presentation charged the audience to develop new ways of thinking - treasury voodoo - to bring creativity and innovation to the fore within their organisations.

"You can't solve a problem with the same thinking that created it. " - Albert Einstein.

Using this Einstein quote as a jumping off point, Browning enthused that there are lots of good ideas out there and that you should import them from somewhere else if you can - taking ideas from different industries or professions and applying them to your own strategy can be a way to gain a quick win.

"Creativity is thinking new things, innovation is making these them happen," said Browning, who emphasised that in any process it is vital to keep things simple where possible. If things aren't simple, keep innovating until they are.

Guy Browning at the ACT Annual Conference 2014

Photo credit: @Cassie_Sale

Describing the time that a client had challenged him to put his money where his mouth is regarding his philosophy, Browning identified that his two key skills were writing comedy (as the delegates in Glasgow can attest to) and managing creative teams. Using these to think differently he challenged himself to write, direct and produce a feature film! On top of this, he pledged to hold the premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square cinema in central London. To his credit, Browning succeeded in his goal.

Browning used the film anecdote to sign off with three key thoughts for the delegates to take away with them:

  1. Give people a challenge and they will rise to it.
  2. Strategic thinking is key and this is something that treasurers are very good at: "If you look at a spreadsheet for long enough, beautiful things will happen!"
  3. When you start innovating, what you think at the outset will be the easiest part of the process will likely turn out to be the most difficult, and vice versa.

So there we have it - anyone for a spot of voodoo?