3 ways to ‘Do’ I learned from Do Wales 2016


3 ways to ‘Do’ I learned from Do Wales 2016It has been over a week since Do Wales 2016 finished. 3 almost indescribable days.

When I began my 600-mile journey from Belfast to Cardigan and back I had an inkling of what to expect from the Do Lectures.

Thoughts I formed from article snippets here and there. Unadultered brand advocacy experienced through catch ups with a fellow creative. Visual stimulation from a well curated Instagram account. Musings from an informative twitter. Thinking read and developed in Mark Shayler’s ‘Do Disrupt’.

What I experienced in those 3 days at Do Wales 2016 took everything I thought I knew about doing, threw it in a blender and pressed go.

1.Learn how to serve

“I learn how to serve not I serve and then learn,”Daniela Papi-Thornton founder of PEPY and deputy director at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship speaking on the growing epidemic known as ‘Heroprenuership’. For me these simple words take a jackhammer to the glass ceiling of business.

Part of the magic of ‘Do Wales 2016’ is its dedication to complete immersion. For 3 days you have a very simple choice- turn up or don’t. From 6.45 each day until whenever your mind has decided it needs to stop thinking about ideas you are engaged. Formal workshops and lectures blend with the informal workshops and lectures that take place every other moment of the day. This concept was no more apparent to me than at meal times.

“Food is simply a way to bring people together,”-Kamal Mouzawak said when he told us why he founded Souk el Tayeb in 2004 in an effort to change the way Lebanon saw food. He spoke of the lack of the culture of the ‘other’ in Lebanon. A country formed by many different people and their beliefs fusing together- the result, a lack of the minority, no ‘other’, just Lebanon.

Souk El Tayeb’s literally translates to the ‘Good Market’, its success relies on the people of Lebanon. Its very essence and vision are one and the same- community.

At Do Wales 2016, community established itself. We were served and we served each other. Eating together. Everyone was welcome at the tables- we accepted.

That is the magic exchange that takes place every time we serve or are served. Acceptance is given and received, it is a 1 for 1 model.

3 ways to ‘Do’ I learned from Do Wales 2016

2.If you do nothing, well then nothing is going to happen

It seems like stating the obvious that if you do nothing then nothing will actually happen- but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated.

Getting started is often the hardest part to any project, piece of work or problem. It is easy to be paralysed by the magnitude of a task or the thought of failing. So it was fascinating to hear how each speaker started and ended up where they are today.

20 different people but the same answer- they simply wanted too.

Anna Koska’s illustrious illustration career came from always wanting to have a go, whether she should or shouldn’t.

Wrights came about because Simon Wright saw a concept that wasn’t being met.

Oratory Glory and the Hall Pass Tour were born when Holley Murchison experienced her voice being hidden. Holley’s story and Kamal’s story are different but they teach us the same thing- we have an obligation to honour and own our voice.


Start by being vulnerable. Your organisations strength comes from knowing its value system. Cultivate a tribe of likeminded people who are as excited as you are- your boundaries will increase the more your tribe explores, increasing your reach. Your ability to grow is intrinsically linked to the degree you are prepared to explore and test.

Anna Koska’s attitude of, “I always want to have a go whether or not I shouldn’t,” echoes this. Our desire to ‘do’ should be fundamentally at the core within each individual in the process. This thinking results in opportunity, opening doors through a willingness to learn and try. The minute that stops, is the minute work stops being creative.

Or follow the brilliant Mr Bingo’s lead and send beautifully illustrated hate mail to people you have never met. You never know what it might lead to.

3. Changing the rules is ok, in fact sometimes it’s the only way.

The age old phrase ‘rules are there to be broken’ sounds ok in principle, but in reality is more like anarchy. Not necessarily the best solution for any business. Changing the rules altogether, well that’s less offensive, democratic and actually solves problems.

20 years ago none of our favourite social media giants existed- not one. Fast forward 19 years and we have developed new ways to talk and share with each other. Somewhere in those 19 years we broke it. People established ‘rules’.

While anyone with internet access can create and share content, original content is increasingly harder to find. With all the filters and edits you can make before posting, creating content has also become a little less ‘instant’.

Camera x VSCO + (Whitagram + Instagram)= 1 Photo


Enter Matt Hackett previously the 8th employee at Tumblr, co-founder of Beme, practitioner of visual mindfulness and believer in the authentic.

His creation Beme make creation easier. Taking social back to what it is at its heart- the experience. Simply cover your phones sensor and it will instantly film and upload a 4 second video. No chance to edit, filter or retake- a truly authentic experience.

Images now control our decision making. In order to regain control, we need to change our relationship with them- by critiquing them. We can produce better images, better campaigns by remembering – “Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive.” Howard Thurman.

Perhaps even more amazing than a world without social media is that until recently we all considered it totally normal that we couldn’t easily locate each other- incredible and really dangerous.

Not anymore. After 10 years of managing bands and constant headaches from the wondrous ability of the sat nav to take you to the utterly wrong location. Chris Sheldrick created what3words. Armed with 40,000 words from the English dictionary he and his team geo-coded the world into 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares, each given a 3 word address.

Whether your home is on the outskirts of eastern Mongolia or East Belfast you can instantly pinpoint the exact location using the app. The real world benefits are obvious. Take the special version was developed for Glastonbury this year. Helping event staff quickly locate and sort out medical and support issues over the course of the festival.

What3words changed the rules and changed the world.

The fact is change happens a lot. Whether we want it to or not.

Gillian Davis of UsTwo and First Time Leader summed Do Wales 2016 up for me when she said we can either, “become part of the change or get swept into it.”

3 ways to ‘Do’ I learned from Do Wales 2016

If you want to hear more about us and what we like to ‘Do’ you can find us using what3words at text.jazzy.flame or more conventionally with the details below.


Jonny Agnew

Jonny is an Account Executive, brand planner, content creator and insight researcher.

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