Wednesday 14 October 2009

IGD Convention - The hardest hitting IGD event in my experience

Yesterday, celebrating their 100 year anniversary, the IGD Convention fielded a hard-hitting line-up of industry speakers, encouraging a 750-delegate audience to face up to the realities of the global economic crisis, and emphasised the need for Leadership in Adversity.

Joanne Denny-Finch set the tone of the day by punching home some key economic facts as a basis for 'realistic optimism', echoed and built upon by other speakers adding to the impact, as evidenced by the extensive mainstream and business media coverage this morning.

Some key points below, but nothing beats hearing it first hand, on the day.

Joanne started with the following:

  • Institute of Fiscal Studies … the time it will take to bring public debt back down to the level before the Credit Crunch … is 20 years.
  • They estimate by 2018 reducing this debt will cost the average household almost £3,000 a year.
  • The public sector pension deficit … around £19,000 per UK citizen.
  • Moody’s credit rating agency … has said the banks have written off less than half of their bad debts.
  • Government Chief Scientist... Over twenty years, world food demand will rise by 50%, energy by 45% and water by 30%.

Full speech on IGD site

Paul Polman outlined Unilever's recession-beating strategy:

  • Closer to Consumer
  • More investment in R&D
  • Sharpen the Value Equation
  • Cover all price points
  • Work with all partners to optimise cost
  • Doing what is right long-term

Terry Leahy summarised lessons from previous recessions that are guiding Tesco through the current crisis:

  • Follow the customer
  • Change demands innovation (innovation never an excuse for complexity)
  • Don't lose sight of the long term trends
  • Making process better and cheaper = simpler

Andy Clarke made a passionate and moving plea for equal opportunities in youth employment on behalf of Asda.

If the IGD's second 100 years continues in this vein, we have an interesting future ahead….

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