Kevin Roberts on the 'VUCA' world and creative leaders

Kevin Roberts giving a speech on Professor Sir Roland Smith CEO Lecture 2014.

25 November 2014

An enthusiastic audience attended Lancaster’s Professor Sir Roland Smith CEO Lecture to hear Kevin Roberts, Worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, deliver his entertaining, lively and thought-provoking presentation.

Welcomed by the recently knighted Professor Sir Cary Cooper, around 170 Lancaster University alumni gathered for the CEO Lecture. They benefited from Kevin Roberts’ many insights and challenges to traditional leadership and marketing. This annual event is a highlight of the Lancaster University year, and extra cause for celebration being the 50th anniversary.

Giving his new take on the ‘VUCA’ world – Vibrant, Unreal, Crazy and Astounding, he talked us through five characteristics of creative leaders. They:

  1. Create other leaders
  2. Provide rocket fuel in the form of Responsibility, Learning, Recognition, Joy
  3. Stay in Beta – having lots of small ideas continuously
  4. Let emotion rip – it leads to action
  5. Make things happen

Drawing on examples from around the world, including sport, business, public awareness and charity, he illustrated his points with humour and striking images. He also drew on his Lancaster roots and New Zealand perspective. Kevin shared his memories of Professor Sir Roland Smith which gave some poignant moments to the evening.

Reactions from the audience were very positive, with many of them echoing the key messages and how Kevin’s experiences and insights resonated with them. Everyone had plenty to talk about in the networking reception afterwards.

To view photos from the event, please visit our Flickr page.