I help make the future happen,
sooner and better.

I help people make their own futures happen sooner and better

Whether as a creative to generate ideas and concepts; as a strategist to develop future thinking of how your brand can do better; as a leader to get the best out of teams and organisational culture; I aim to combine passionate curiosity about what is possible; a longer term vision of where we should be going; and a healthy pragmatism about what is achievable - in order to create something valuable.

I've done this in tiny and large organisations, as employee, as founder, as consultant, as volunteer - and I love the opportunity to work with new people and fresh challenges.

2012-Present:
Head of Strategy & Innovation - Carat UK

Hired as a new type of creative strategist, I was promptly promoted to Head of Carat's Strategy and Innovation team, and have spent the past five years reshaping the way in which innovation and strategy is approached.

In that time, I designed and led programmes which delivered:

  • → an agency wide culture of connectivity, curiousity and confidence.

    Rethinking our agency culture was paramount to ensuring every single person at Carat is motivated, valued, and has a sense of purpose and impact. Over a three year period, I explored and designed a programme of activity and investment to support the best parts of our culture, which manifested as ‘Make Brave Happen’, being more curious, more connected and more confident. This has been called one of the “most significant” projects in Carat’s recent history.

  • → a platform for people-first, purpose-driven development

    Every single employee within Carat will have a long term career plan, rooted in their motivations, skills, passions and future purpose. I designed a programme of game play to help individuals discover their own purpose, and develop a bravery plan, which is being rolled out to over 300 people in our London office.

  • → long-term strategic ambition for every client account

    Ensuring every client in our business has a shared three year ambition, to which all of our efforts point - creating alignment and purpose within teams, allowing us to define our focus and product pipeline, and develop network wide teams. This shift in approach has changed the client leadership model and helps us look towards long-term strategic growth in partnership with clients. I designed and implemented this approach and coach teams on developing better future strategies.

  • → a model for client-centric transformation

    Tangible acceleration towards their stated objectives, Catalyst projects are designed to focus on the client ambitions and break free of inertia. Both small-scale rapid de-risked innovation, and large scale transformation projects - I've been responsible for designing and delivering our most consultative and transformative approaches to client business and behaviours.

The “Make Brave Happen" strategy of rewarding and prioritising innovation has been exported to the US and Australia. In a recent survey, 83% of staff say they feel encouraged and supported to make brave decisions and introduce innovative ideas to their clients – up 7% compared with the previous year."
-- Campaign Magazine, Agency School Report 2017

As well as deeply involved in the day to day business of the agency:

- active member of the Management Board, shaping the future of our business and accountable for multiple key workstreams to drive growth of our network
- regular leadership and support of local and global multimillion pound New Business pitches
- revenue creation through product development and cross network collaboration
- regular internal and external thought leadership projects, and content
- team management, coaching and mentoring

And naturally, stand out work which exceeded our clients’ expectations.
Recent examples might include:

- Exterion - London’s Media Owner (consultancy)
- GoCompare - Purposeful Comms (communications strategy)
- LEGO - Volt (service model design)
- Debenhams - Hush (brand inception)
- British Gas - SHED (innovation process)
- Diageo - Innovation (innovation process)
- NDA Brand - Challenge Accepted (creative strategy and ideation)

"Matthew has an unusually clear-sighted view of the emerging dynamics of the digital economy. He has a sharp understanding of how people's lives are changing, and how this impacts businesses and the rapidly changing nature of the categories in which they operate."
— Matthew Hook, UK and Ireland Chief Strategy Officer, Dentsu Aegis Network

Life Before Carat?...

My career has been a journey, starting with the early days of the web and digital connectivity, through to helping large organisations deal with the implications of how that technology has changed everything. I still dabble with code to create small side projects that explore the themes of serendipity, connection, curiosity and exploration.

Below are a selection of projects and roles I’ve been responsible for over my career.
 

projects

The Visual Dictionary
a 2000 person collaborative platform collecting photographs of words. Over 13,000 images of capturing 6600 words.
Disposable Memory Project
a global project leaving cameras around the world for people to find and use. 500 cameras, 35 returned, travelling over near to a million miles in total.
A Nice Cup Of
a way of making someone a nice cup of tea, for the digital age.
Over The Shoulder
an engine for serendipity, to discover the content people near you are enjoying.
Bluesky
capturing the colours of the world above you, globally across a network of participants.
The 100
a year long global photography project, capturing portraits and lives of 100 people aged from 1-100, using disposable cameras.
Edges of London
a photography exploration of my city, from the edges in.
Clarity*
a visual tool to help people understand complicated privacy and data policies, never more needed.
Project Yesterday
a content exploration platform, designed to burst the filter bubble.
LoveThink
a social experiment in dating without seeing, and understanding the opinions of others.
OneDayCurious
a daily exercise to develop your sense of curiosity and wonder.

roles

Deepend / Senior Developer
working on clients including Cartoon Network, D&AD and Panasonic.

de-construct / founder
award winning digital creative agency working with clients including adidas, barbican, eurostar. Acquired by Aegis in 2005.
Endemol / interim head of technology
helping the world class content business develop its digital capabilities.
W+K / technical creative director
new role to help this leading agency make best use of emerging tech and creative thinking on clients like Fairtrade, Lurpak and Nike.
hyperhappen > naked - technical creative director
long term relationship with this new breed of agency. Award winning work for Nokia, Cadbury and Virgin Atlantic.

yarned / founder
award winning consultancy, helping brands and agencies embrace strategic and creative futures.

Projects included developing D&AD’s digital strategy, storytelling concepts for HP, Smart Devices for the NHS, retail experience innovation for Nike and Sony, product development for Accenture, plus 20% commitment to non-profits like Coding for Kids and Child’s i Foundation.



Carat UK / head of strategic innovation
helping this global media agency redefine media, and shape the future of the agency and its talent.