A few weeks ago I spent two days with an inspiring group of people discussing thoughts on branding, identitity, the use of social media in the Middle East, city planning and branding challenges in China. I was invited by Nicholas Ind to meet the group in Paris and give a brief talk on organizational authenticity. I really enjoyed the diverse group consisting of branding experts from the US, Europe (UK, Sweden, Holland, France and Spain), Russia and UAE. Everyone joined in a series of small lectures and discussions with a plethora of views and opinions. How do you meet the challenges of working with the Chinese? What role did Facebook and social media play in the revolution for democracy in the Middle East? How will new typologies for fast and efficient architecture that meet the new demand for housing in Dubai and Africa develop?
I was later invited to join The Medinge Group as a permanent member, which I was pleased to accept. I'm already looking forward to our next convention in August.
The Medinge Group has such distinguished members as consultant and writer Nicholas Ind, who wrote numerous books on branding, the latest of which is called Meaning at Work (check out earlier post), consultant and cofounder Ian Ryder of BCS, CEO Stanley Moss who has been a succesful designer and brand consultant for decades and now travels the World, dean Pierre d'Huy of La Sorbonne/CELSA and Management Institute Paris, consultant Simon Paterson, Ava Maria Hakim, executive at IBM and CEO Erika Uffindell of UffindellWest. The group was founded in Sweden by Thomas Gad, brand consultant and author of 4D Branding which has been published in 12 languages. During the past decade the members have met biannually in Paris, France, and Medinge in Sweden to share and develop thoughts on branding.
The philosophy of The Medinge Group is: "We believe that change can happen at a business and societal level simply by pursuing the principles of compassionate branding. Each of our members has particular expertise which enables them to make a unique contribution to the Group and to clients throughout the world." Every year the group awards brands for their humanistic, compassionate, sustainable and socially responsible behaviour. This year the Brands with a Conscience award was given to Aquamarine Power (UK), BBC World News - Newsweek for World Challenge (UK), Caja Navarra (ES) and Masdar City (UAE).
Besides being a think-tank, The Medinge Group is complemented by for-profit activities called the Medinge Consulting Group, which puts together brand development teams to help international clients.
Update: A few more images on our moblog.