Rory was appointed Creative Director of OgilvyOne in 1997 and ECD in 1998.
He has worked on Amex, BT, Compaq, Microsoft, IBM, BUPA, easyJet, Unilever and won numerous awards along the way.
In 2005 he was appointed Vice Chairman of the Ogilvy & Mather Group UK. He was elected President of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising in 2009 for two years.
Rory is also a visiting professor of Warwick University and was recently awarded an honorary doctorate (D. Litt) by Brunel University.
IMI: Based on your current work – if you only had 6 words of advice to give a business – what would they be?
RS: “Think like a biologist”
IMI: What does this mean?
RS: There is a dangerous tendency for people to look at businesses and markets as though they were pieces of engineering: and should be managed and understood in Newtonian terms. Today more than ever it’s more useful – at least most of the time – to use the mental models we use to understand complex and evolving systems.
IMI: Where should we look for further information?
RS: A great first place to start is by reading Robert H Frank’s book The Economic Naturalist, and his later work The Darwin Economy. Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile is a long but mind-reshaping read.
The other areas of worthwhile study are evolutionary psychology and behavioural economics. These seek to understand how (and why) people – often unconsciously – make decisions in reality, and why this may differ from narrow and naive theories of economic rationality.
Where to start here? Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein. And The Rational Animal by Griskevicius and Kenrick.
Sapiens, by Noah Harari, Butterfly Economics by Ormerod, Adapt by Tim Harford and The Origins of Wealth by Eric Beinhocker would also be an essential read.
Rory Sutherland s a keynote speaker at the IMI National Management Conference taking place on Thursday 8 October. This event has now reached maximum capacity however if you would like to be added to the waiting list, please email your contact details and company name to firstname.lastname@example.org.