Blog

April 30, 2014

On the road to Rio…

Jiselle Steele, Account Director at Livity and somewhereto_ is heading to Brazil! She’ll be exploring how enterprise is providing a meaningful opportunity for disadvantaged young people to transform their communities. Read on to find out more about what Jiselle’s trip will have in store…

jis

Read More…

April 11, 2014

TRNDNG #11 with Henry Houdini

Livity’s Junior Producer Henry Houdini steps in front of the camera to bring you his fortnightly does of creative goodness…

Prepare to be entertained.

*Be warned, there is some strong language. Henry’s a passionate guy.

Check out Henry’s picks here:

– Youtube Comment Reconstruction
– F**K The Poor
- Daft Punk Merch
- Throwing Snow

More info on the This Is Not A Rave event can be found here.

Follow Henry on Twitter @Henry_Houdini

11.04.14, Henry Houdini, Junior Producer at Livity

April 10, 2014

Be Different. And Obsessive. 5 tips from entrepreneurial experts on starting and growing a business

Livity and somewhereto_ Account Director Athena Simpson (@heavennhellthy) gives us her takeouts from attending a Santander Breakthrough 50 startup event. Read on to discover 5 top tips on starting and growing a business…

‘I feel like a stalker’ I said to Amit Pau, the executive director of Ariadne Capital & Director of Entrepreneur Country as I hovered around him awkwardly waiting for my chance to speak to him.

‘You’re not a stalker . . . the woman who sat outside my house for two days was a stalker!’ He said referring to the story he told during a panel discussion at Google Campus hosted by the Santander Breakthrough 50 awards in partnership with Smarta yesterday.

Earlier Pau was speaking about the perseverance required to be an entrepreneur and told the story of a woman who despite having already sold three companies to Microsoft (and worth hundreds of millions), had a failed at pitch to sell her fourth. After the meeting, she sat outside Pau’s house for two days causing his nanny to ring his wife with suspicions of an affair! He arrived home from his trip to the distraught woman who after accusing him of ruining her business, broke down in tears. They later did an analysis of her pitch and she then went on to successfully sell her business. Though, Pau doesn’t necessarily recommend this approach, it does demonstrate determination.

The panel was impressive with an array of people in different stages of their business moderated by Shaa Wasmund, Founder of Smarta, which is a resource for entrepreneurs, that offers advice, events and a toolkit to help build a business. The room was packed with every walk of life to soak up the knowledge of the panel and network.

As Pau said, we are currently living in one of the most disruptive times in history, which means the opportunities to make an impact are endless. The time to start your business is now.

It’s hard to learn everything there is to know about starting a disruptive business in one hour. But the panel did give some fantastic words of wisdom for budding entrepreneurs, here are my top five pearls of wisdom from yesterday to share with anyone thinking of starting a business or is in the process.

1. Entrepreneurism is an obsession.

Pau outlined this in the story of the woman with no need to sell a 4th business, already being a successful multi-millionaire. Entrepreneurs have to absolutely believe in their product/service to be successful and perseverance to get it out there!

2. Make it easy for your targets.

General manager of Uber, Jo Bertram, says she gets requests for meetings all the time. Often the requester fails to offer insight into the relevance of the request for coffee, which then makes it easy to say no. If you want to try to get some face time with someone who can help your business, give them background on you and why you want to meet them. Most importantly make it easy for them to say yes by suggesting a time, and even a place near them. That way, your contact can easily and quickly agree to see you!

3. Take your customers on your journey.

Greg Duggan, co-founder of Wheyhey: The Protein Ice Cream which is in its second year of business, has got his product into Holland & Barrett, Wholefoods and Ocado. Recently they’ve started international distribution and are moving into a new office after starting the business from their kitchen. Duggan said the key to their plan was involving the customers in the journey and blogging about it along the way. Because of this, they were able to get die-hard supporters before they even launched their product. Doing this before your product is available means you will have customers the moment you launch and retain ‘fans for life’!

4. Keep all of your ideas.

Al Gosling, Founder & CEO of EXTREME keeps a ‘crazy ideas’ folder. Every idea that he has, he sends an email to himself, no matter how crazy. Later he sends his list to a small group of people to later run through at a meeting to decide which to action, save for later and which to disregard. This is a process that is also known as ‘green lighting’, which is a tool for innovation. Rather than stopping the flow of ideas by deciding whether they would work or not, jot every idea down. At a later point you can decide the merits, but when it comes to you keep it. You never know which ‘crazy idea’ can turn into the next big thing.

5. Be different.

One of the best parts about being an entrepreneur is that you get to break the rules and differentiate yourself. The panel agreed you need to ‘own your space’ meaning you need to define your market and be different with the product or service you offer. Being different also means that you can try new ways to be heard. Wheyhey sent a poem to a buyer after multiple attempts to get a product listed and succeeded. Duggan said, remember, your targeted audience whether it be buyer, investor or customer are people too. You can use that to your advantage.

Need a place to start? If you are between 16 – 25 and are thinking of starting a business or already have one then check out somewhereto_. You can get access to free space to do your thing. You can also come along to workshops where you can learn skills to develop and grow your business or find out about events where you can sell your stuff.

10.04.14, Athena Simpson (@heavennhellthy), Account Director at somewhereto_ and Livity

somewhereto_ , delivered in partnership with youth engagement agency Livity, is a UK legacy project which offers a free service to help young people aged 16-25 access unused spaces for community and entrepreneurial projects across the UK. Funded by a £7m injection from the Big Lottery Fund, somewhereto_ acts as a space brokerage for young people looking to get a project off the ground. Whether it’s an old warehouse to curate an exhibition, a closed shop on the high street or an unloved office block, somewhereto_ unlocks those doors enabling young people to make their ideas happen.

April 4, 2014

The Livity Creativity Five a Day Diet

Downing five a day got a lot more do-able since half a can of Heinz came out as healthy, and while I don’t really believe them, it does mean I say yes more often to chips with my fish pie, as long as I have beans on the side.

And I’m not alone. Five a day goes deep with lots of people. It works as a concept, and it should: it began life as a marketing campaign for a consortium of US food companies intent on getting American people to eat more. It worked.

Now everyone understands Five a Day as a simple and motivating message to shop and eat healthier; it’s an excellent shorthand that’s neither patronising nor preaching, entirely general and somehow deeply personal.

But now absolved of guilt / indecision / can’t be arsed today about Five a Day demands on my diet thanks to Beanz, I’ve wondered where else the successful sauce code could be replicated, and I’d like to suggest for your creative consideration, the Livity Creativity Five a Day Diet for your mind.

Coming up with ideas, freeing your mind to think, daydreaming, doodling, noodling and allowing enough breathing space in your brain for the occasional almost-a-eureka-moment, requires effort and exercise, just like avoiding a third chin.

Following a Five a Day dietary discipline reduces risk of a variety of medical conditions that range from Cancer of nearly everything to a nasty case of acute Lardychops, as well as increasing well being, life expectancy, emotional, mental and physical strength. What if we could mirror the effects on our imagination, our power of innovation and our freedom of thought?

We know bridge, backgammon, crosswords and the pools kept Granny so sharp she haunted us until well beyond last orders at the Pearly Gates, but in an economy where intellectual property – a.k.a. having good ideas – is increasingly the most valuable asset any of us can have, being able to conceive, articulate and shape a good idea isn’t just competitive advantage; it’s essential currency, and there must be similar exercises to help that part of our mind.

According to our esteemed clients, colleagues, outside observers, journalists and an independent survey of our own team, it seems Livity is far and away one of the most creative, stimulating and inspiring working environments in the UK: our methodology of sharing our space with the same young people we we aim to serve, every day, creates genuine diversity of experience and in turn, genuine different thinking and innovation. It was Chief Planet Brain Charles Leadbeater who said ‘diversity breeds innovation’ and Livity’s multi award winning way of working proves just that to be true.

So, to stay in shape, I’ve been trying to bottle and share the Livity Creativity Five a Day Diet for your inspirational imbibing. To give away a little bit of what makes Livity the MAA’s ‘Marketing Agency of the Year’, One of The Observer’s 50 New Radicals, a favourite of Prime Ministers, an agency to some of the world’s biggest brands, from Tesco to Barclays to Google as well as the Queen – her very self’s Award winner for Innovation in business – not to mention all the other wonderful accolades we’ve received in recognition of our creativity, I thought I’d share a little bit of what we’ve learned when it comes to having ideas.

It’s by no means the list that will work for everyone, and that’s sort of the point. But I’m more interested in a conversation about the concept of applying the Five a Day discipline – to exercising creative thinking – than I am in dictating a daily routine. So this is five of my best thoughts on what makes thinking more interesting, I’d love to hear yours.

For what it’s worth, stick to this simple Five a Day diet, and just as your belly, blood sugar and bum benefit from those five fruit or Baked Beans portions a day, so too will your creative juice get loose, your ideas get inspired and your creativity will get some Livity…

To quote the real Five a Day website, “A few small changes can help you and your family get the recommended five portions a day, here’s a handy guideline for you to follow”:

1. Read a small amount of something unusual.
It doesn’t have to be the works of Proust, and half a chapter of Potter would probably do, as long as it’s not your usual business / self help / parenting manual or holiday reading. It should be something you have to focus on, think about, read a paragraph twice, the sort of thing you catch yourself mouthing the words to. It could be an analytical blog, a critical column, a profound poem, a shamelessly avant garde screenplay, a mindbendingly complex recipe, anything that’s not the Metro, Buzzfeed or the Sidebar of Shame: just something that you can feel engage the gears of your brain, that makes you think (and sound) more interesting. As short as it is, it has to be something that you have to chew on before you swallow.

2. Hang out with a young person.
Ideally someone anywhere between the ages of 12 and 20ish, preferably that you don’t know, and definitely someone from a different background and set of experiences than you. It doesn’t have to be a mentoring thing, it doesn’t have to be worthy in the slightest, in fact go the other way, ask them to help you with something really tough. Talk to a teenager about a challenge you’re facing at work, try to hold their attention about it and show you a solution you’re set way of thinking would never have reached. But whatever you do, do spend more time listening than talking.

3. Argue a point you don’t agree with
There are less annoying (for others) ways of achieving this one. The point is just to get good at seeing things from an opposite perspective to the one you think is right. But trying to understand the point of view of someone you think is really wrong is really incredibly hard, so a shorthand way of achieving it is to argue hard against your own point of view for half an hour, until you’ve nearly won, then just as you’re winning yourself over, revert to your original opinion, or change your mind: either way it’s as annoying as f*ck for everyone else, but brilliant for your brain. It’s an even better exercise done in teams. It’s even better for your teams if you just do it in your head.

4. Walk
Don’t Run. Not that people who run are annoying at all. Lycra geeks. And of course any exercise is good for creativity, but if you want the catalysts to spark in your brain, you don’t need to give your calves all that pain: make time for a stroll, mooch between a meetings, leisurely loll to lunch, walk to work, or hustle home, something’s better than nothing, even getting off a few stops early. Set your feet in motion, free yourself of distractions and let your mind go into neutral. Which is where most minds start to work for themselves, and that’s how you engage the 90% you don’t use most days. It sounds easy, and rightly so, but from Mozart to Moliere, by their own word, a daily constitutional did more for their marvellous minds than all the Opium in the Orient.

5. Play with yourself

We humans do the most accelerated learning of our entire lives when all we do is play: even Einstein strongly held the view that the most powerful tool in any form of research was play. And you can do it anywhere, anytime and in any setting. There aren’t many meetings that couldn’t do with being a bit more playful, or offices that couldn’t do with a bit of a game that helps the day along. You don’t need anyone or anything to invent a game and the fewer ‘toys’ the better. And play doesn’t have to be a mission – it can just be a bit of a laugh. I’m very suspicious that any meeting with no laughter in it is similarly short on ideas. It’s not necessarily the content, but beware boring meetings: they rarely lead anywhere good.

And that, I propose as the first incarnation of the Livity Creativity Five a Day Diet. For your peace of mind, there’s a cast iron guarantee, if you follow the Livity Creativity Five A Day Diet, for a minimum of thirty days, I personally guarantee your open minded, objective, creative and inspired thinking will reach new levels, or your money back.

I shall be putting my money where my mouth is. I’m off on holiday today but on return I shall return with the promise that I will spend a minimum of 30 days myself ensuring I get my five a day every working day, and I’ll post an update, hopefully with some measurable results of the immeasurable genius world saving multi-million pound earning piece of innovation I’ve come up with as a result. Or not. TBC. Terms and Conditions apply.

In the spirit of inspiring creativity, I’d be really interested to hear what makes your ideas flow, if you think there’s anything in the ‘creativity diet’ concept, and your suggestions on what to include from your own experience or get rid of from my ramblings. Either way, it’s a concept I’d like to explore and expand. Please post a comment, or drop me a line direct at sam@livity.co.uk.

April 1, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Livity Intern

Originally starting out as a Geocache adventure (a real world treasure hunt that uses GPS devices, e.g. smartphones, to find objects in hidden locations), the Livity Intern team – Ramelle, Cherokee, Frances, Sam, Bradley and Daniel – set off for the day on Friday 21st March with Beulah, Youth Co-Ordinator, to three different client meetings.

Despite technology failing us fairly early into the trip (causing the treasure hunt part of our activities to fall flat), we travelled around London (Brixton, Tower Hill and London Bridge) without the aid of the Geocache app.

Our first stop was just by London Bridge, where we headed to Teach First to meet Associate Director of Network Management, Jay Allnutt.

Charity Teach First is a unique avenue for graduates to become teachers, in which they are carefully selected through a comprehensive recruitment process to be paid while they train and teach at schools across the country.

Jay showed us around the headquarters and provided an interesting insight into a charity that is both innovative and effective.

After lunch we headed over to News Corp, aka Murdoch ground. We met the Digital News Development Editor for The Times, Joseph Stashko. Joseph a previous Live Magazine contributor, managed to pull some strings and get us a meeting room on the 13th floor – the view was amazing!

He spoke to us about his journey and, because he is still so young, we were all able to relate to him. His persistence and passion is what got him referred to his current position, and is a story we could all learn from.

The only downside was that we didn’t have enough time to complete the tour of News Corp, though visiting The Times was truly surreal! Massive shout out to Joseph for arranging it for us – it was very inspirational!

The day was a gradual build-up to the final meeting…back in Brixton, and near the Livity offices, our last stop was to see Rob and Nick at The Stereo MC’s studio.

With two BRIT awards in the bank, there was a lot to be learnt from Rob and Nick who had plenty of nuggets of wisdom from their time in the music industry. Their hunger for music is how they have been able to make a living from it for over 25 years.

They taught us that you need to experience things for yourself and not others; never looking back or regretting anything you’ve done, but looking to the future is key. It was also obvious that they’d been involved with music for a long time and enjoyed being creative. They were more than happy to swap contact details with us and keep in touch too, and their support made us feel valued (we also heard a couple of sneak preview tracks!)

After a day of meeting many engaging and motivating individuals, we headed back to Livity with fresh outlooks on all the ways that we can make a name for ourselves in the industry of our choosing.

1.04.14,  The Livity Intern team – Ramelle, Cherokee, Frances, Sam, Bradley and Daniel

March 18, 2014

Putting The Spotlight on the best of young UK talent with somewhereto_

somewhereto_ first and foremost is a UK-wide service that helps young people access space for free to make their ideas come to life. But how would one translate that on a YouTube platform (a social network that heavily lends itself to the entertainment side of infotainment).

That was the challenge the team and I (as somewhereto_ content and community manager) gave ourselves at the end of 2013 when we relaunched our aptly named ‘somewhereto_ YouTube channel’. With target audience in mind (with rigorous research into their online behaviours and user journeys), and the power and reach of YouTube, we kickstarted 2014 with ‘The Spotlight‘, our new, fresh online platform supporting the best of emerging British talent, and putting ‘the spotlight’ on these amazing young people doing amazing things, in amazing spaces (all of this powered by somewhereto_ and funded by the Big Lottery Fund).

Spaces are still a key part of the story, the impact of somewhereto_ ever part of the DNA within The Spotlight, which has been born to entertain, inspire and engage the YouTube masses by showing young people (via weekly films released every Friday) what their peers are capable of, especially when given the space to make it happen.

On The Spotlight you’ll now find our main ‘The Spotlight’ strand which showcases entrepreneurs and performers;  from 25 year old Guinness World Record BMXer Matti Hemmings taking over the Tate Modern, to the story of 24 year old Amy Win and her 4Lunch cooking enterprise/revolution in Manchester, 23 year old Dennis Gyamfi running his youth engagement Endz2Endz magazine whilst living with leukemia, and 18 year old Raqhib Islam who is changing lives with his ‘upcycling and bike maintenance‘ business in London. All inspirational, exciting individuals and stories, all facilitated by somewhereto_ and free spaces, all digested into 2-4 minute films.

Our ‘Making of’ sub strand delves in to the journey of our stars, behind the scenes of ‘The Spotlight’ giving the back story of each talent or enterprise, including how somewhereto_ is helping along the way. Here you can find out what it takes to be a figure skating champion, run a business or be a contemporary dancer.

Our ‘How To‘ strand is self-explanatory. From top tips on branding, identifying a market, legal and protecting your ideas, how to get funding, how to protect your ideas – to how to break dance and graff, we’ll have pointers for every young person on ‘The Spotlight’ as we simultaneously develop the new learning area of the somewhereto_ website ; launching in April 2013 (backed by internet giants Mozilla) offering young people digital badges for their skills and experiences as well as exclusive content to help them achieve their goals and make their ideas come to fruition.

Finally, for the best of the rest of amazing young people doing amazing (and sometimes bizarre and unbelievable) things in the UK (and around the world), viewers are treated to a weekly dose of Yara Shaikh and ‘Spotlight News‘. Here you can watch young wakeboarders taking over a flooded car park, street skiing in Detroit, flash mob wedding proposals and the odd take of Yara taking on Ed Sheeran in a marshmallow eating challenge (unbelievable…).

It’s a new era for somewhereto_ on YouTube, and the channel will continually evolve and develop over the next couple of months. So stay tuned for more weekly goodness from The Spotlight – keep watching, like, comment, subscribe, support, enjoy!

18.03.14,  Dwain Lucktung , somewhereto_ Content and Community Manager

somewhereto_ received a £7m grant from the Big Lottery Fund to support it’s UK-wide expansion to 2016. somewhereto_ is also funded by Nesta who awarded somewhereto_ £50,000 from their Innovation into Giving Fund, enabling somewhereto_ to enhance its online user experience and streamline its digital offer. somewhereto_ is in partnership with YouTube and run by youth engagement agency Livity.

March 9, 2014

Happy International Women's Day!

Saturday 8th March marked International Women’s Day! The day that always seems to creep up on me and then I kick myself that I’ve not been proactive around a subject that is so very important to me, the importance of promoting and insisting on an equal and fair world. IWD is about celebrating how far the world has come in making life more fair and equal for women, but crucially it’s also about putting a spotlight on how far we still have to go. So here are a few words inspired by IWD, written on IWD and dedicated to the celebration and continued improvement of women’s lives and rights.

Women, brilliant women all around me from my amazing mum and sister, such strong women with great capacity to love and to laugh in all situations, to friends like Caz, who I bumped into this morning, with 9 week old Zander, embracing the very early days of motherhood and her role as a mum, to the brilliant and impressive women I work with day in and day out at Livity.  We are 70% made up of women at Livity, a company of about 50 people and growing. I’m extremely proud that the 70% women representation continues to be reflected in our Leadership Team. Kate, Alex, Lyeloon and Caroline are all inspiring and effective leaders, coaches and do’ers and examples of how ambitious career progression and pathways can and should play out. If you also take a look to their their right hand women: Lianre, Anna, Melissa, Rachel, Mira, Erica and Naomi all of whom are achieving similar levels of short and long term effectiveness and leadership and ditto all the other amazing Livity women beyond them, including our newest and youngest recruits, Livity Interns, Cherokee and Frances, I hope it begins to paint a reassuring picture that businesses like ours, that are achieving 30% year on year growth, are flying, in part (and I think a 70% part is pretty significant don’t you?) due to the brilliant women driving them forwards (Livity guys, you of course make up the other 30% and equally brilliant part, but today is and should be in celebration of the gals.)

What I observe in the women that I have the privilege of working with is an openness and willingness for self-development, both professional and personal, and this means that they are constantly raising the bar. Ours is a far more difficult Leadership Team to get on these days compared to the one we created a few years ago, because the same women who were a part of forming that team have played their part in raising the bar. What is truly exciting is that the women coming up and through in our business are now aiming for that new bar, and be assured they are going to reach it. The impact of all of this is that our business becomes better and stronger.  The glass ceiling has no place to even be considered a challenge in our business, however, across the marketing industry there is still some work to be done. I’m Chair for Youth and Diversity for the MAA and in our recent MAA Census, some figures were almost converse to ours at Livity, in that 67% of executive leadership are male, with the make up of the industry being 49% male/ 51% female – so there clearly is still more work to be done on encouraging pathways for women to achieve leadership and executive roles. Beyond our MAA member agency world the figures are even worse than our 33% of women in executive positions, with an IPA 2012 report revealing the average proportion of women accounting for roles in executive management or higher had reach 25%, and this was a good increase on previous years. The music industry is hard to get figures for, but the one woeful figure I managed to pick up was that 15% of membership of the Music Managers Forum is women and a quick play with the Creative and Cultural Skills really useful data generator revealed that overall the number of female ‘Managers and Senior Officials’ in the industry is only 13%.

So yes, on IWD we must celebrate the improvements, the great stories and stats that demonstrate progress, but let’s face it, you only have to sit and look at a few stats to realise that we still have so much to do and achieve and I believe that to gain any meaningful traction it must start at a leadership and executive level. In business, any major challenge or change that is big and important needs leadership. At Livity we have no specific programmes for women or indeed diversity, equal opps policies yes, programmes no. Yet we have great numbers of women and a really diverse team (58% white / 42% non-white) why? Well, one half of our co-founding team is female (me!) and the other half of the partnership, my inspiring biz partner Sam Conniff, is a human being and leader who has a phenomenal sense of fairness and open-mindedness, he is also someone who grew up in a family of impressively strong women, I’m certain they have contributed to his inherent sense of equality for all. We need to set examples, challenge traditional thinking and behaviours and create business environments in which everyone can thrive, be ambitious and have a clear, compelling and equal pathway. One of the most important things I’ve learnt on this topic is that once you have momentum, once you are experiencing first hand the numerous benefits of a diverse and equal business, you’ve now set a precedent and you’ve created the environment for success, you then begin to naturally attract those brilliant people who also ‘get it’. That’s extremely exciting, because then you can all just get on with enjoying, creating and delivering brilliant work, in our case, for our clients and for the benefit of the young people, the very reason Livity exists.

Change for women in business needs to come from the leadership of the business and it might indeed need a programme or specific push to support it, but the leadership is essential, because without leadership it’s an uphill struggle whereas with the support of the leaders it is simply a natural evolution, that might take time, but that will have momentum and promise and above all benefits for both businesses and the clients, customers or communities they serve.

So there we are, International Women’s Day, yes you have crept up on me once again, but this year I’ve responded to you and I promise to continue to do my bit and hopefully even a whole lot more by the time you come around again next year.

Written for my daughter, Liliana aged 10.

09.03.14, Michelle Clothier, Managing Director at Livity

March 7, 2014

In praise of apprenticeships

A month ago marked the end of the most incredible year, namely my year as one of the first-ever digital marketing apprentices at Google.

This week, fittingly, is National Apprenticeship Week, and the theme is “Great Apprenticeships” based on the notion that great businesses are made by apprentices, and apprenticeships lead to great prospects. I may be slightly biased, but I can’t help but agree.

Around this time last year I spoke at an event at the Tate Modern for Creative & Cultural Skills’ Creative Apprenticeship Week about apprenticeships, the opportunity I was being afforded, and the journey I was about to embark upon. Embarrassingly, it was captured on video. Looking back at that now fills me with various emotions, ranging mainly from dread to sheer embarrassment, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. I barely even recognise that person now, but I would like to think I’ve done the past me justice. This is in part down to the experiences I’ve been lucky enough to have, but also thanks to the realities I’ve had to face, and the sheer amount of hard work required to get to where I am.

The opportunity to go to work every day at one of the biggest companies in the world, a company that people write entire books about getting jobs at no less, has been nothing short of life-changing. Working day-to-day in a company of incredibly smart, passionate people, within a team of inspiration, dedication and fittingly, innovation, has taught me more than simple words on a page ever could have.

Fast forward one year, and one of the campaigns I’m working on in my current role includes community management for an apprenticeship and traineeship provider. This involves monitoring their social media channels and contributing to the various official National Apprenticeship Week hashtags while creating and curating content for the client around #NAW2014: a combination of all the skills I’ve spent the past year learning.

Seems rather apt, don’t you think?

As I look now for my next opportunity, it has become abundantly clear that my apprenticeship has taught me so much, not only about marketing, business, and working life within the industry, but also about myself, and the way I work, and perhaps most importantly, that experience really is everything.

07.03.14 Abi Jenkins, Account Executive (and former Google apprentice) at Livity

February 21, 2014

How do we level the playing field for women in sport?

“Sports currently fall into two categories: male sports, and females playing sports designed for men”

Having had a recent conversation about women in sport amongst friends, I then overheard a conversation about how the recent Winter Olympic success was dampened by the fact that it was in women’s events.

This just made me sad and ultimately revealed the often thinly veiled misogyny in our society which results in women being given a lesser status in sport.

And the difficulty is that often the debate becomes skewed; as it’s clearly not the case that should sporting competitions suddenly become mixed, women would win. Ultimately the landscape was not created with women in mind, with the majority of sports being devised in a time when women were based in the home, neither playing or often watching sport.

As Rick Paulas wrote in Vice last summer, “sports currently fall into two categories: male sports, and females playing sports designed for me”. If sports were devised to favour female body shapes and biological traits etc., things could be very different. This makes sense when you think of the sports where women are often equal in performance such as sailing, archery, and equestrian events.

But we are where we are, and no-one is arguing for scrapping popular sports in favour of an attempt at equality. However there are some things in today’s society which could help even the playing field, such as an increase in sports instruction for females at a younger, development age, which would result in a higher percentage being encouraged to achieve their potential. As Rick put it, “this disparity is what happens when a generation of parents give boys footballs and girls Barbie dolls for their first few years”. Well put, I thought.

And more funding, investment and sponsorship in female only sports. If you can’t source the funding, you can’t train, and even if you could, women earn so much less from sponsorship deals that I’m sure it just doesn’t seem worth it.

But it’s ok, there’s a male curling event we’re guaranteed silver in. Phew.

21.02.14, Kate Harwood, Senior Account Manager at Livity