Writing

Writing a short, funny film to reach employees

A drinks company wanted its people to know the firm’s position on the difficult questions about alcohol. They had lots of policy documents, but they wanted something that employees would actually absorb.

I suggested a short film in which the hapless hero, a junior manager for the company, comes late to a big family gathering – and has to deal with all the difficult questions one by one. Each family member represented a different issue – from health to drink-driving – and could be used on posters to reinforce the messages. By hearing an ordinary person explain things in a real situation, employees are more likely to remember the points – especially since they all come up in funny family conversations.

The film wasn’t made in the end, because of department and budget changes, but my clients loved the scripts and other material I produced.

Designing a giant outdoor boardgame

One of my favourite projects was to come up with a board game that the Department for International Development could use at festivals. They wanted it to work for kids of all ages, to be simple, to be educational and to be engaging and fun. The result was the Race Against Poverty, in which up to eight kids competed to win a voucher for their favourite charity. If they answered a multiple-choice question correctly, they spun a wheel to see how many spaces their piece moved around the track – but some of the squares were booby-trapped.

I came up with the rules and wrote the questions and the instructions for the volunteers running it. It went down very well.

Here’s a sample question:

Read the whole thing

Writing articles for private-equity investors

I interview experts and do my own research to write articles for Pantheon’s investors. These have to make very complicated and often very abstract concepts interesting, readable and easy to understand, without investors feeling that they’re being talked down to. Like all thought-leadership, they have to show just how much the company knows, without giving everything away.

The topics I’ve covered include the outlook for the economy, Latin America, investing in infrastructure, emerging markets, performance and the more technical subjects of exit uplift and strategic allocation.