What do Riyadh, Amsterdam, Cannes have in common?

What do the Global Competitive Forum in Riyadh, Amsterdam Fashion Week, and the Midem Music Industry conference in Cannes have in common? You guessed, I visited them all in the last 7 days, as a guest and keynote speaker. The large fantastically-well convened and organized conference at the Global Competitiveness Forum in sunny Riyadh was all about freeing the spirit, a region learning to take its hands off the wheel a little and drive development through an entrepreneurial spirit and an unshakeable belief in the future. The range of inputs from speakers was incredible. (Thanks Rasha and Richard). It was great to be back in Saudi Arabia again, it had been 20 years since I visited.

Sanoma’s reception at the Amsterdam Fashion Week was full of brave, positive people with cutting edge insight and innovation celebrating their industry. The cocktails made the conversation flow further, and the irrepressible Dutch were on fine entertainment form.

Rounding the week was the Midem conference in Cannes. If ever the music industry needed the optimism of Nothing is Impossible, it’s now. As record labels cede space to tech start ups and new ideas about distribution, and brands are hunting the next big partnership in music, I spoke to a large audience on music and branding. Making Lovemarks through music. Music is the fastest way to make that connection in the consumer. Music is a shortcut to the heart. As humans we want to be smile; and we love music; it’s a simple equation.

At every venue the one constant was a hunger for ideas, creativity, and emotion. Riyadh and Amsterdam had it, and I felt stirrings amongst the fearless in Cannes. Cynicism withers resolve quickly; optimism is its own reward.

There was just one more thing I noticed these three locations have in common: at all three, everyone knew how to dress in black, with plenty of style!

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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