Aug 22, 2022 • 28M

PoE #3: Tom Goodwin, Common-Sense Innovator & Relentless Agitator

On focusing on the basics and avoiding the shiny objects to deal with business and professional challenges.

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This is a newsletter from culture and creative business observer Piers Fawkes (me). Previously called ‘Distracted’, I’ve evolved the theme around a title ‘Project of Energy’ - where I interview people who run projects of energy. I want to understand those projects but I also want to understand the personal motivations. Ultimately, I hope to share inspirational stories around invention and reinvention.

I really enjoyed recording this conversation with Tom Goodwin - even though it took me a few weeks to edit because of the distractions of a barmy summer. In this podcast, Tom shares the topics of his second book, Digital Darwinism Surviving The New Age of Business Disruption - and we talk about how we need to look at the basics when trying to solve business and professional challenges.

With his popular LinkedIn channel, Tom is known as an agitator in the advertising and marketing world. Within this conversation, it was interesting to hear him provide a word of warning about getting too distracted by shiny subjects like web3 and the metaverse, especially when more immediate opportunities should be focused on for personal success today.

I enjoyed the conversation very much and I hope you do too.

Tom Goodwin’s Projects of Energy: Book | LinkedIn | Personal Site

Some other news & ideas from me and PSFK

Over the summer I worked on market relevance for my research and insights company, PSFK, and as a result I am testing out various new products, projects and service features.

What I Learned About The Market’s Needs For New Ideas

As part of my project, I spoke to about 30 ‘fans’ of PSFK to get their read on what they need in terms of gathering of new insights and ideas.

  1. The (perceived) speed of business means that the time to do due diligence and really study market research like we used to has been very much reduced. In addition, knowledge managers get new, internal requests for insights every week.

  2. A pandemic-induced generational shift in leadership has led to the empowering of less experienced employees to do insights work - buy while less experienced, they are strong at Google and finding the data that backs their hunches.

  3. Insights are being used to back hunches rather than look past them.

  4. There's an abundance of #free and "good-enough" research reports now available from tech companies, ad agencies and solution providers, and they're all a search query away. Some of this is real click-bait but in general, these reports help serve the needs in points 1,2 & 3

  5. Some PSFK readers love a newsletter with a hundred links, some readers just want the newsletter to focus on 3 key topics.  (doh)

  6. There's a need for many retailers and brands to deal with the now.... too many trend reports talk about concepts that are many years from the mainstream experience. 

  7. Creative strategists want specific case-studies that can help them as they activate now - and they want stats to help them defend strategic decisions.

  8. There still is a desire for executives to meet likeminds, experts and peers working at competitors - for learning and idea sharing.

  9. With remote office work, there's a demand for corporate teams to meet and connect around physical and digital experiences.

My Challenge with PSFK

Over the last couple of years, I've been trying to productize the business so it offers an efficient knowledge base - with PDF reports at its core, then newsletters and events around it. Folks are less interested these days in buying, downloading or reading a PDFs - but they do like our POV and network. So this is what I've started to develop (in addition to maintaining the existing IQ platform) ....

Some Ideas That I'm Exploring for PSFK

Reacting to the conversations, I personally used some no-code tools like Airtable and Shopify to test some new ideas. If you have the time - please do check them out - and provide feedback.

+ 1. Expert Database

A platform that helps the PSFK community find and connect with people in our community - including new hires & topic experts. 

Search a first version at this service that I set up using Airtable and MiniExtensions here:  (e.g. Search what it says about you!)

+ 2. Topic Alerts

A service that sends emails about 1 piece of innovation news  as soon as our research team finds it (vs a weekly round up). The recipient can choose specific topics. 

Try the service by signing up for this test I made using Zapier/Feedly here:

+3. Free Industry Report Library

To improve the visibility of our thinking (and to up-sell paid-for reports), I set up a Shopify version of our report library. Ultimately, I think I’d like to add other company's reports on this so it becomes a knowledge space for all trends and insights reports. 

Download some free insights here : (My SEO consultant is freaking out that I have an alternative sub-domain with dupe content now…)


+ 4. Quick Hit Advisory Services

--Check-A-Deck - A new service where PSFK researchers offer a review of a retail strategy and compare it with trends and innovation that we see developing in the marketplace. 
-- Phone A Friend - A newish service for companies to access our research team for a 1-hour video call to pick their brain about any topic in our report library.

More details for these 2 services :

+ 5. Immersive Experiences

-- CES/NRF/Shoptalk Immersion Tours - To provide an opportunity for remote colleagues to come together and learn in person, we are showcasing these creative immersive learning experiences we've been providing in the past in Vegas & NYC

-- HQ Town Halls - Creating experiences that encourage staff to come back to the office and learn by leveraging our event production skills, our trends and innovation knowledge and our access to experts.

More details for these 2 offerings here

+ 6. Convention MeetUps

Creating spaces for the community to come together - maybe by industry vertical during events like NRF. 

To help me understand the demand for this - come along to a PSFK meetup for the upcoming GroceryShop or FastCompany shows (or don't! :)

+7. Solution Provider List

Find the best companies delivering innovation for retailers and brands today. I hacked Wordpress to create this initial roll out: 

+8. PSFK Email Focus

Our weekly emails are getting a little more focused around the 3 themes - vs sending a blanket of news. Keep an eye out for them and send any feedback when you receive them. (sign up here)

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