Winning In The Age Of Now – Berlin

Monday, 5 November 2012 - Berlin, Germany

Age of Now Berlin

Presentation Summary

At a public speech in Berlin Kevin Roberts explains how the city is the SuperVUCA capital of the world, and how the city can embrace this to win in the Age of Now.


“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” – Vince Lombardi

It’s great to be in Europe’s coolest city and central country, charting the course for an entire continent.

I want to talk about winning, which beats the hell out of losing. Winning is something Berlin stands for, as a creative,cultural and let’s face it continental capital.

No country or city, company or cause, family or person wants to go backwards. The alternatives to winning are dispiriting and destructive. Europe’s Club Med countries would strongly agree.

There are no free rides in today’s world; you have to create a whole new theme park, you have to build and boom life from the street up, Berlin start-up style!

Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous

Vince Lombardi said “Winning isn’t everything; but wanting to win is.” Winning starts with this attitude, a desire to reframe VUCA, to get above it:

Vibrant – Radical optimism is the operating system. This is not just being positive but creating language and frameworks that unlock the human spirit. Saatchi & Saatchi’s founding belief is “Nothing Is Impossible.” Our people walk on water because we give them permission to!

Unreal – McKinsey predicts that by 2025, more than half of the world’s population will have joined the consuming classes, driving annual consumption in emerging markets to $30 trillion. This is a phenomenal opportunity and the key question today is how is Europe focused on these opportunities?

Crazy – Who here is crazy? Let me see a show of hands. I want to know the crazies, I want to hire you!

Astounding – This year we landed on Mars again, discovered the Higgs boson, created the world’s first quantum computing network, and published the most detailed analysis of the human genome. Google has just driven 300,000 miles in a driverless car. The human race is still astounding!

All of this is quite a challenge. VUCA and superVUCA. How do you get up in the morning and motivate yourself for winning in the face of daunting obstacles and priceless challenges?

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit” – Vince Lombardi

Whether your stage is rev-up or stay-up, winning is a habit. It begins with being at your best every day, in everything you do.

Your 3 biggest questions personally and professionally are:

  1. When am I at my best?
  2. What will I never do?
  3. Where do I want to be in five years?

It’s all about KSA:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Skills
  3. Attitude

5 ideas to help you make winning a habit:

1. To win as a habit, ENTER THE NOW

The context for winning in business has shifted from production to people.

People are digitally indulged and accelerated and escaping VUCA into the moment, living for the moment, where they feel best. 15, 70, 15 Happiness.

It’s an ‘always on’ world of screenagers where excitement, comparison, feedback, improvement and delivery are on instant demand.

In a Consumer Republic, winning is more velocity than strategy. New is dead. Now is alive. It’s the Age of Now, where management and marketing are dead.

A win today is a dream on a deadline. Martin Luther King did not say: “I have a Mission Statement.”

Have an inspired purpose, a dream, feel the pulse of the people – and go forward in 100 day steps. Berlin has the attitude mixing energy, diversity and velocity.

The total focus must be on action. Stay in permanent beta mode, constantly adjust, and rip the moment.

Strategy Purpose
Attention Participation
Inform Inspire
Interruption Interaction
Return on Investment Return on Involvement
Pumping Markets Creating Movements

Winning is the difference between getting things done and making things happen, 
aka entrepreneurship.

In the Now, execution is the killer app. Key moves:

  • 100 day plans.
  • Fail fast, learn fast, fix fast.
  • Drive the important not the urgent.
  • Get your retaliation in first.
  • Goizueta: Meet, Beat, Repeat.
  • Blue Ocean: Eliminate – Reduce – Raise – Create.
  • De Bono: There’s no point at being brilliant at the wrong thing.
From To
Assess 50% 20%
Decide 30% 10%
Execute 20% 70%

2. To win as a habit, UP THE CREATIVITY

In business, re-engineering and re-structuring and re-everything have exhausted people and only added incremental growth.

There is a premium on originality. To deliver in the Now, takes the unreasonable power of creativity.

Having creative solutions, being creative, leading creative ideas, being a creative leader – these are the new benchmarks of peak performing organizations.

Radical thinking and execution drive business results. Revolution starts with language:

  • CEO as “Chief Excitement Officer”
  • CIO as “Chief Ideas Officer”
  • CMO as “Chief Magic Officer.”


Creative Key 1: Pour in Emotion

Emotion has always trumped reason, today even faster, because emotion rules the moment world.

The currency of the Now is emotion.

Explore, discover and work back from how people feel in the moment. This will radically alter what you make, how you package it, sell it, brand it and distribute it.

Emotion is how a revelation sparks, an innovation happens, a customer decides, an idea scales, and a movement gathers.

Emotion is how screens come alive in the Screen Age. Everything is digital, nothing is digital. To win in the Now, a brand idea has to scale end to end.

The mixer of emotion is Sight, Sound and Motion, rocket fuel for winning people over.

Donald Calne: Reason leads to conclusions, emotion leads to action.

Creative Key 2: Generate lots of small ideas, continuously

… because it’s the Age of Now! Big ideas are scarce, strung out over time, investment hungry.

The big idea is usually stumbled on, found one degree away from where you are standing right now, or your audience makes it for you.

Creative Key 3: Be a Disruptor

Evolution takes centuries. Revolution takes 30 years.

The Now demands constant disruption. It’s about:

  • Reframing constantly.
  • Surprising with the obvious.

To develop a pen that could write in space, NASA spent millions on advanced technology. The Russians used a pencil.

Creative Key 4: Flow

In Flow, dream-driven activities work to energize productivity and creativity.

Flow combines passion and harmony, enabled by wellbeing, happiness through fulfilling potential (signature strengths, reframing, personal purpose).

Creative Key 5: Ask three questions of any idea:

  1. Will people want to see it again?
  2. Will people want to share it?
  3. Will people want to improve it?

3. To win as a habit, INSPIRE OTHERS TO DELIVER

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour – his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear – is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he’s exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” – Vince Lombardi

In 1949, a schoolmaster (at Eton College) of the 2012 co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine called the future winner’s dreams of becoming a scientist “quite ridiculous.”

Continuously challenge yourself and coach others to achieve the Dream.

To inspire people today you must:

  1. Responsibility
  2. Learning
  3. Recognition
  4. Joy

4. To win as a habit, CREATE A LOVEMARK

Today everything is a brand. To win you must engage the higher human drive:

  • Brands are owned by companies, marketers, and stockholders. Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them.
  • Brands are built on Respect. Lovemarks are created out of Respect and Love.
  • Brands build Loyalty for a Reason. Lovemarks inspire Loyalty Beyond Reason.

Brands deliver performance, respect and trust. Lovemarks infuse Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy, the stuff that matters.

  • Mystery: draws together stories, dreams, myths and icons, inspiration, past / present / future together. It’s where past, present, future become one.

It’s the unexpected and unpredictable stuff we don’t know, that has most value. Berlin has it: allure, spontaneity, texture, underground culture.

Danish futurist Rolf Jensen: “The highest-paid person in the first half of this century will be the storyteller”

  • Sensuality enthralls the emotions, Vision, Sound, Scent, Touch, Taste.

Berlin is described by its mayor as “poor but sexy.” The more senses you stimulate, the better for your margins.

  • Intimacy is empathy, commitment, passion. It’s the small touch, the perfect gesture, you in the audience’s heart, not the audience at your heart.

The Ritz-Carlton changed “Please stay with us” to “Let us stay with you.” Priceless.

  • Brands aim to be Irreplaceable. Lovemarks are Irresistible.

5. To Win as a habit, IGNITE WITH 3Es

  1. Enthusiasm: From the Greek ‘enthusiasmos’ (literally, having the god within you.) Vince Lombardi: “If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.”
  2. Edge: Change happens at the margins, the fringes, the crazy edges. The further you are from orthodoxy and conformity at the center, the more you can make things happen.
  3. Energy: Entrepreneur means “irresistible force of nature.” Get pissed off with VUCA, and make the world a better place for everyone.

How to Win in the Age of Now


Spanning creativity, leadership and execution, Kevin Roberts’ presentation to the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Wellington Chapter is an inspirational primer in: Wanting to Win, Ways to Win Now and Ways to Keep Winning – the secrets of Peak Performance so that winning becomes a habit.

Up, Up and Away – Rotary Newmarket


Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, talks to the Newmarket Rotary Club about Winning in the Age of Now, and how to turn a brand into an irresistible Lovemark for the next generation.

Start Me Up


Kevin Roberts gives keynote speech at the 6th Annual Global Competitiveness Forum “The Entrepreneurship Imperative” held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, sharing three ways to win in the region.

Set Fire To The Rain


In this presentation to Spotlight On Lancaster at Lancaster University, Kevin Roberts talks about enabling, energizing and activating creative partnerships and achieving Vibrant, Crazy, Unreal and Astounding impact.

Brighter Than Sunshine


Presenting to AAC Saatchi & Saatchi in Bermuda, Kevin Roberts shares three key ideas on connecting people around ideas that create Loyalty Beyond Reason.

Magic Time


In this presentation to EmoDay in Amsterdam, Kevin Roberts shares five key ideas on emotional innovations and creating Lovemarks.

Just Can’t Get Enough


Presenting to the Institute of Development Professionals in Education in Oxfordshire, Kevin Roberts presents three ideas on creating Loyalty Beyond Reason and creating frameworks for development discussions.

Rhythm of Love


Speaking at the National Speakers Association of Australia Convention, Melbourne, Kevin Roberts shares 5 big ideas to put you on the path to creating Lovemarks.