I'm James Borrodell Brown, a strategist, technologist, designer and publisher. At digital agency and consultancy Zone I help businesses realise the full potential of digital change through a combination of technology innovation, customer-centred marketing and agile service design. I also run and publish Punktastic, voted one of the world's hundred most influential digital music magazines. A few years ago, I wrote a guide and call-to-arms for the charity sector called the Digital Fundraising Handbook. I'm best known for a website I created to explain how marketers and advertisers must change the way they create and share knowledge. Since 2010 I've been curating a list of things that are helping me understand the future. Zone was recently acquired by the Cognizant global network, a hugely satisfying endorsement of our approach to solving business problems in a world where digital is mission critical. The decisions and inventions we make today will have long-lasting consequences for society and culture. What are the most responsible and interesting things we can create?
Let's make that more real. You're a progressive, unorthodox investor looking to fund some long-term digital projects that are good for the world. Where do you put your money?
#1. Something like Atlas, but for public services
#2. Something like Blackbox, but for learning
#3. Something like IAmA, but that my grandma would use
#4. Something like Freecycle, but for energy
#5. Something like CareKit, but for government
Or something to put estate agents out of business.
If you're working on any of these, or you want to give it a go, get in touch, because I'd like to help.
As Director of Group Strategy at Zone, my job is to ensure that all our clients have confidence that every decision made by their Zone team is the right one for their business.
Practically, this means things like managing a tree of strategists, running training to support the whole agency's strategic development, enhancing Zone's reputation for delivering mission critical digital, team performance management, recruitment, and managing the team's profitability.
In the work, it means using data and customer research to guide clients with their digital strategy, creating the roadmaps of change needed to embed and realise new ideas and propositions, and leading agile teams to create new digital products and services.
And it means helping achieve Zone's ambitious growth targets, running new business pitches, owning and cultivating key client relationships, responding to RFIs/RFPs, and leading chemistry meetings with potential new clients.
Born and adopted
Responded to my name
Walked without aid
Learned to code
Worked in retail & the NHS
|Studied social psychology
Made websites for money
Worked as a chugger
|Met a girl on a train
Worked for a think tank
And graphic design
|Joined a small digital agency
Fell in love with Stockholm
Studied experience design
Tried starting up a photography
side-business with a friend
|Became a godfather
Started to understand the perils
of making a profit in
|Joined Public Zone, then Zone
Redesigned & rebuilt punktastic.com
Wrote a call-to-arms for charities, the
Digital Fundraising Handbook
A PFRA street fundraising advocate
|A tried and failed vegan
Completed a diploma in brands
and business, creating a widely-
celebrated website on how
marketers must change how
they create and share knowledge
Punktastic became more famous -
co-hosting shows on BBC Radio 1,
partnering with major festivals,
putting on our own gigs,
and launching in the U.S.
Seconded as Head of Digital
to Barratt Homes, overseeing
£2M digital projects & driving
organisational change in
a growing FTSE-100 business.
|Married in Durham
Took a travel sabbatical
Punktastic an 80+ person team
I head up the strategy discipline
at Zone, the UK's agency of the year
|Zone acquired by Cognizant
Won the £20M BMW account
A little boy came into our lives
Moved back North East
London & Durham
Stealing a great idea from David Cole. As he puts it: "these are the pieces that I find myself referencing regularly in my work life. Big, small, philosophical, practical, and in between."
Lisa Welchman's Managing Chaos, on Digital Governance John Maeda's Design in Tech Reports Adam Morgan and PHD's Overthrow, on Challenger Brands Contently's playbooks on Measuring Content Performance Nic Newman's Journalism, Media and Technology Predictions Accenture on Lean Digital Accounting Martin Wiegel on Kicking the Measurement Habit Google's Measure What Matters Most Angelica Quicksey's Service Design for Policy and the Public Sector GDS's Service Manual YouGov's Communicating in a crisis Robin Sloan's Stock & Flow Luke Wroblewski's Filling In The Blanks Valve's New Employee Handbook Michael Lopp's Managing Humans Edward Tufte's Forums on presenting data and information Matthew Frederick's 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School Ellon Lupton's Thinking With Type Michael Bierut, William Drentel & Stephen Heller on Graphic Design Mike Monteiro's Design Is A Job & You're My Favourite Client Grant McCracken's Chief Culture Officer McKinsey on Strategy in a Digital Age Peter Doyle's Value Based Marketing Franzen Giep's Brands and Advertising Don Norman's Design of Everyday Things Strunk & White's The Elements of Style Paul Graham's What Doesn't Seem Like Work John Maeda on Designing for Simplicity Jack Cheng's The Slow Web Byron Sharp's How Brands Grow USAF on The Flaw of Averages Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow Dustin Curtis on Reacting to Crushing Situations Atul Gawande's Checklist Manifesto Tom Bissell on violent video games Craig Mod's Consider The Paper Towel Andy Warhol on Coke Jim Collin's Good To Great HBR's Guide to Building a Business Case Stephen Levy on Diversity in Tech Josh Topolsky on Media Businesses Clare Moriarty on Inclusion and Vulnerability Deb Chachra on Ethics and Humanity in Engineering Ben Evans' on Mobile Stijn Debrouwere's Fungible, on the News Industry Ben Thompson's Aggregation Theory Anil Dash's Rebuilding The Web We Lost The US Digital Services Playbook Kevin Kelly's Better Than Free And his 1,000 true fans Macjej Cegłowski on Technology's Moral Imperative Atomico on Diversity & Inclusion in Technology Teams FutureWe's Framework of Digital Literacy Jake Knapp's Sprint Lou Downe's 15 Principles of Good Service Design Tom Loosemore's Internet Era Ways of Working
|Whitechapel Gallery||Website, shop, ticketing||2008|
|The Turner Prize, Tate Britain||Digital comments room||2009|
|Shakespeare's Globe||Online/offline brand refresh||2010|
|The National Trust||Farmville for real||2011|
|Macmillan Cancer Support||Fundraising in a digital world||2012|
|Tesco||Social and crisis strategy||2013|
|Coca-Cola||Digital's role for FMCG||2013|
|Barratt Homes||Lead generation and CRM||2014|
|Gatwick Airport||Digital roadmap creation||2015|
|British Red Cross||Digital transformation strategy||2015|
|University of the Arts London||Online estate planning||2016|
|Marks & Spencer||In-store innovation prototypes||2017|
|Centrica / British Gas||Customer journey management||2018|
|BMW / MINI Group||Customer Experience transformation||2019|
|On digital fundraising||Public Zone, 2012|
|On talking to your customers||The Guardian, 2012|
|On agile marketing||Zone, 2013|
|On the power and usefulness of brands||2014|
|On the future of marketing: Go Supergnova||2014|
|On data and the future of agency influence||2015|
|On competing with free||2015|
|On technology and choice||Zone, 2016|
|On mission critical digital||Hyper Island, 2016|
|On what the hell strategy is||Future Strategy Club, 2017|
|On authentic customer experiences||Zone, 2017|
|On the right tools for digital change||Hyper Island, 2018|
First off, check out Glenn Fleishman's website because he's an interesting guy and his design inspired this one.
There just isn't enough time in the day, right? But do get in touch and say hello all the same.