greenlightWhat a week! I started in Boston at BAI’s annual Retail Delivery Conference and Expo (for which we’ve created the campaign and graphic theme for four years in a row — more on that in separate blog post), and ended up at the Opportunity Green conference at UCLA over the weekend.  To quote from their website, “The world can no longer afford business as usual. Opportunity Green emerged to confront this challenge and bring together the brightest innovators leading the growth of the new green economy.”

A few highlights of the conference — at least for me:

  • Hearing Adam Lowry, one of the founders of Method cleaning products (whose concept, design, copy and creativity have made me a huge fan) talk about their beginnings, what the company has learned, and where he sees the industry heading. About how a company is more of an organism than it is an organization. And how, despite all the metrics and business models, sometimes companies “just have to do something awesome.”
  • Seeing Chris Jordan’s mind-bending photographs designed to give the viewer an experience of the actual amount of garbage we create. And watching his moving, beautiful slide show documenting the decimation of the albatross population from ingesting the plastic now swirling in the Pacific Ocean — an island of trash twice the size of Texas.
  • Being stunned at the positive impact Proctor & Gamble can have on the environment simply by making a cold-water detergent that’s as effective as the usual warm-water kind.
  • Running into my old business partner Stuart Karten, a brilliant industrial designer, who brought half a dozen members of his team to get current on the state of the shift to a green economy.
  • Hearing Annie Leonard and Jonah Sachs discuss their renowned video The Story of Stuff, and thinking about how their approach to story-telling relates so deeply to all the work we do.
  • Experiencing the powerful Hopenhagen campaign that Ogilvy’s team has put together, and learning how this enormous agency knew when even its own resources weren’t enough — and sought partners to augment their message.
  • Reveling in the news from a year-long study by MIT’s Michael Hopkins and BCG’s Andrew Townend that, even in this recession, corporations are not cutting back spending on sustainability. Then talking to Andrew over lunch about where things are headed and what it means.
  • Watching 13 brand new green startups — all finalists in the OG25 competition — each give a 60-second pitch to the whole conference. Brilliant new ideas, three of which apparently found venture capital funding this weekend at the conference!

There’s much, much more. But this post is getting long. Bottom line, to quote Jim Davis from SAP, “A bullet train has left the station. You’re either on it, or you’re back on the platform. And in 10 years, you’re irrelevant.”

What a fascinating ride this is going to be!