Impressive innovation on the Central Asian stepp

March 20, 2015

Astana, Kazakhstan.

My new book “Gamechangers” came out recently, and has already sold out of its first edition. It’s about the new breed of brands across the world who are shaking up markets, redefining them in their own vision, fusing digital and physical, and embracing new business models, for more profitable and positive impact. It includes a whopping 100 case studies, with new insights and ideas from every sector and region. The Dutch marketing association recently called it “the best strategic marketing book of our time” … that was very kind!

The best part of launching a new book, is getting out there, inspiring people with its messages, but also finding their own examples, and helping them to become “Gamechangers” too. Last year we discovered Aeromobil’s flying car in sleeping Slovakia, which quickly became a global media story, and will soon be production ready. This year in Buenos Aires, we held a Gamechangers competition to find the best local innovators, won by Taragüi, which took the traditional drink mate, and gave it a modern day twist, now available in flavoured powders plus a range of merchandise. In Istanbul, another competition threw up 30 fantastic examples of local innovation, from Brisa’s incredible car and tyre services to LC Waikiki’s local twist on fast fashion.

Truly impressive was Kazakhstan’s new capital city Astana, which emerged 10 years ago out of the inhospitable central Asian steppe. This is a nation that is larger in size than Europe, a tradition of fearless horsemen, and a bridge between Russia and China. It’s also a country of great ambition. Kazakhtelecom is building one of the largest fast broadband networks in the world, so with the prime minister we explored how could the government use this infrastructure to become a game-changing nation. From distributed e-learning to e-healthcare, leapfrogging old models to create new services. With Astana’s World Expo in 2017, watch out for the rise again of the Kazakhs.

Download my keynote “Big Data + Big Ideas = Big Impact” at

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