We emerge from the Embankment tube station and are immediately blinded by radiant sunlight. “25 degrees in September, not your average British weather,” I say.
“Must be global warming,” says Anouk with a smile as we climb the steps to the Golden Jubilee Bridge.
We’re on our way to meet Peter Fisk at a café on the South Bank next to the Royal Festival Hall. Peter is an expert consultant and business speaker, and also the author of books like People, Planet, Profit and the Genius series.
As we stroll across the bridge, I take out my iPad to take another look at my notes.
“He’s founder of Genius Works,” I read out loud, “a strategic innovation firm that helps business leaders to see things differently.”
“I read he’s working on a new book called Game Changers,” says Anouk as she looks at a tourist boat passing under the bridge. “Something about next generation brands, but I’m not sure what that means really.”
“Well, you won’t have to wait long for an answer,” I say. “We’re meeting him in 5 minutes.”
As we walk into Le Pain Quotidien, we immediately recognize Peter from his LinkenIn profile picture. Apparently he recognizes us too and gets up to greet us. “Anouk and Maarten? Great to meet you!”
We sit down at a large table and while we wait to place our order, I ask him about the Game Changers project.
“The world around us is changing,” he says. “Power is shifting from west to east, large companies to small ones, mass markets to niches, business to consumers. It’s time for business leaders to change their thinking. It’s time to press the reset button.” He pauses to let his words sink in.
“Okay…” I say, curious to hear the rest.
“I interviewed over 120 brands that think differently: brands that are developing new business models, caring for people and making a difference to people’s lives.”
“What did you find?” Anouk asks.
“They win through ambition and innovation, by rejecting convention and embracing the best new ideas in business. I call these brands ‘Game Changers’.”
“Can you give some examples?
“Amazon: relentless innovation in online retail, from Marketplace to Kindle Fire. Zao Zao: a Chinese fashion retailer that matches consumers with designers. Google Glass: the future of knowledge will soon be in your vision. I could go on for a while…”
“And what will you do after the book is published?” Anouk asks.
“I gathered so much knowledge about how to think differently and how to look at different business models, that I want share this knowledge to help companies become Game Changers. Through presentations, workshops, talks…”
“So we’re kind of colleagues,” I say. “We travel the world, meet people with a vision and brands with a purpose and share their stories. You do your research first and then travel to share your knowledge.”
“I know,” says Peter. “That’s why I thought it would be nice to meet. You are the explorers and narrators, I tend to focus more on codifying the inspiring stories, and helping people to apply them. In a way, you are Game Changers too.”
“Oh great!” says Anouk, “does that mean you’ll feature us in your book?”