I’ll say it upfront: The Battle of Big Thinking is my kind of stoush. A keynote can sometimes come across as a polished corporate performance, delivered in front of an audience that, while suitably impressed, is leaning back slightly.
Not so with these bouts of the brain. This time it’s personal: every contender has to weigh in, display heart and passion, come out swinging. Punchy lines have to be thrown, flying thick and fast, with the intent to floor the adversaries.
Don’t get me wrong, a keynote can have huge impact and introduce big ideas. But how different is it when you have to convince a room full of judges that you deserve the title belt? Where every big blow reverberates through the audience (in tweets) and entices the delegates to quote you and create their own jeers from the sidelines? Have a taste of these:
- “It’s difficult to follow a doctor of positivity when you’re pissed off.”
- “Planners are the cake, creatives just add the icing.”
- “Art is a reflection on humanity – it has to use the tools of today, digital.”
- “As a woman, I am not the small, pink version of a man”
And the author of the last line, Farrah Bostic, clinched the title. She passionately appealed for more respect for women in marketing, as colleagues as well as consumers. And displayed the heart of a battle-hardened thinker. One tweeter commented: “Battle of Big Thinking – it’s like TED talks meet cage fighting.”