Drawing upon 20 years experience consulting on innovation pathways for billion dollar blue chips, Kate provides road-tested insights on the technological and human innovations that will change the shape of business over the next five years. As founder and CEO, Kate is the chief story-teller at GDR Creative Intelligence, a retail trend and strategy consultancy working with an impressive roster of brands including Microsoft, Coca-Cola, P&G, Hilton, LVMH, Capital One, Macy’s, Tesco and Lego. She fuses big picture context with carefully curated case studies from the world's leading designers, technologists, marketeers, architects and thought leaders to illustrate how new technologies and consumer behaviours will impact physical and digital commerce. “Innovation almost always starts with cross fertilisation.” says Kate. “Looking outside of your sector and geography at non-competitors is far more likely to lead to disruptive breakthroughs than can be achieved by chasing your competitors.”
With 10 years’ experience at management level in the creative and digital industries, Marie has a whip-smart business mind and is a passionate supporter of new thinking. This none-too-common combination is driving GDR Creative Intelligence into its next growth phase. The first film Marie saw in her native Paris at the age of 10 was Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which was the start of a long love affair with the UK.
Travel-enthusiast Hannah has worked as a PA for the best part of a decade and most recently supported six doctors at Kingston Hospital. She moved to Australia when she was 21 and completed an HND in Business and Management while out there. She’s also lived in France for a year and has travelled extensively across Europe, Egypt and South East Asia. Hannah enjoys interior design, art and going to new and quirky exhibitions. She has a love/hate relationship with exercise and is always trying to find a new way to do it.
Felix spent 15 years as a partner at brand agency Webb Scarlett de Vlam, and time as head of industrial design for Electrolux UK. Originally a product designer, his broad experience in strategy, brand development and creative direction means his insight is rooted in practical, considered opinion and crystal-clear translations of big concepts. Felix is frustrated in his desire for a sophisticated minimalist lifestyle by two rescue dogs and a large flock of chickens.
A masters graduate from the University of Sydney, James started his career as a journalist, writing for a breadth of audiences, from the FT Weekend to CAR and FourFourTwo. He then had seven years’ experience editing print and digital magazines before joining GDR in 2013, as well as several years working on bespoke video and TV projects for the likes of Triumph Motorcycles and Sky. A keen hockey and football player, James likes to play as hard as he works.
Alex is a technology expert, specialising in the practical application of the latest innovations and tech trends to solve retail’s biggest challenges, from machine learning to post-channel retail. Prior to GDR, he spent seven years at technology firm Red Ant, designing and delivering award-winning applications, innovation and strategy from boardroom to stockroom for some of the UK's largest and most forward-thinking retailers. In his spare time, he enjoys running and an ongoing quest to connect everything in his house to the internet.
Rachel has more than 20 years of international experience working within marketing, retail and advertising on both the client and agency side. A specialist in multi-channel retail, she has previously been a buyer and has managed retailer brand licensing, retail events and product development, as well as retailer eCommerce sites. Rachel has most recently headed up digital shopper marketing and business development at agencies Vivid Brand and Arc, where she led the development of digital strategies, customer engagements and creative cross-channel tools for global brands and clients including Jameson, Pernod Ricard, Nestlé, Heineken, Coca-Cola, Perrier and Purina, as well as award-winning digital activations for EE in the UK. In her spare time you can find Rachel jumping on a plane to somewhere hot and tropical, walking on Hampstead Heath, checking out the latest “must-see” pop-up around town, or working up a sweat in circuit training.
Dave has three years experience investigating consumer behaviours, insights and trends for the UK’s leading advertising agencies and holds undergraduate and masters degrees from the LSE and KCL. Interested in the fraying boundaries between media, technology, culture and politics, he’s always on the lookout for innovations that say something new about the shape and pace of change. A former congressional intern, Dave also remains pathologically obsessed with American politics and subscribes to more podcasts on the subject than it’s possible to listen to each week.
John is a trained production journalist with a wealth of experience writing for and editing print and digital publications for a range of local, regional and international brands. A graduate from the University of Warwick, John has written for some of the world’s most well-respected media titles including The Sunday Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. Born in the US to Irish parents and with siblings living on three different continents, John has a unique global outlook and is mad about sports.
With an education in 3D design, Harriet has five years' experience researching and writing for the likes of Samsung, LG and Starbucks. Keen on all things design related, she has reported on trends in industrial design, FMCG and CMF. In her spare time you can find her navigating the waterways of England's South Coast in a very small kayak in search of a nice country pub.
After completing his degree in American Studies at the University of Leicester, Charlie stayed on to acquire a masters degree in History. In his first role in London, Charlie gained three years’ experience researching and writing about the latest trends in media and marketing. As well as being obsessed with sport, Charlie keeps himself keenly up-to-date with current affairs on both sides of the Atlantic and, thanks to the Great British Bake Off, enjoys spending Sundays burning chocolate éclairs.
Bill is one of the foremost retail experts in the UK, having been CEO of Wickes, Iceland, Booker, Focus DIY and Park n Shop Hong Kong. In 2013 he published The Grimsey Review, which explains the decline of the UK high street and sets out a vision for the future. In July 2018 he released the follow-up to this Review and he is also the author of Sold Out, which explores the same subject. Bill is working with GDR on a co-branded keynote for the speakers' circuit called “How to save the British high street”. Find out more on www.vanishinghighstreet.com