When 400 P&G people and partners gathered in the headquarters auditorium in Cincinnati ten years ago, we were set for an interesting experiment. Building on the successful Web 2.0 conferences, we created the first edition of Signal as a new way to bring the outside in, to help fuel and accelerate P&G’s digital marketing transition. Eighteen speakers from up and coming digital platforms such as Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, Yahoo!, and AOL took the stage to share their wisdom with the P&G community. Signal even became a trending topic on Twitter — until #PGSignal was taken over by hackers! Luckily, the Twitter CEO was in the building to help fix it.
Since then, Signal has transformed into a premier event for the global P&G community and beyond. Complemented by the Signal360 publication, the event is a source for inspiration and education. Leaders and entrepreneurs from across the world help raise the bar on how P&G innovates and leads. Our aspiration is to provide the audience with the most inspiring conference experience in the world. If you only have one opportunity to get inspired and educated on topics that matter to P&G, we want Signal to be your choice. The most satisfying part of Signal for us as co-founders is when people make connections and take action because of what they learned.
The Signal journey is a great illustration of this year’s theme, “Always Learning, Always Leading.” We have learned so much from 10 years running Signal, these three insights are chief among them:
- Be relevant. As we think about the program each year, our first step is to listen and learn to discover the critical topic areas for P&G. Then, we lead a discussion based on a narrative and program that connects the topics together and makes them the most relevant for the P&G community.
- Diversity of voices is a super-power. When you hear from people with diverse backgrounds you learn more. Early on, Signal brought with it a diversity problem that existed in the tech world. We made a deliberate effort to make Signal a model in bringing in diverse voices. Easy to say, but hard to do. While we can still do more, we are proud that Signal has become more global and diverse over the last few years. We believe it will lead to better innovation for P&G.
- Leading = Learning + Action. Signal is a great illustration of P&G’s learning culture, providing essential fuel for innovation. But, as P&G CEO David Taylor shares in his Signal Conversation in this issue of Signal360, leading means doing something with what you learn. That’s how we want to measure success of Signal every year: what participants go do because of what they learned.
With over 40 speakers from around the world joining on July 14-15 for the 10th anniversary edition, Signal 2021 will be our biggest event yet.
This month’s issue provides a glimpse of what you will find at Signal next week:
- How Noubar Afeyan created Flagship Pioneering to help scientists create businesses for breakthrough ideas, and helped save the world from a crippling pandemic with Moderna.
- What Joy Buolamwini’s Algorithmic Justice League is doing to avoid making biases part of our AI algorithms.
- How Mercado Libre is creating the next frontier for ecommerce and fintech in Latin America
- Why P&G’s CEO David Taylor always has a front row seat at Signal
For the second year, Signal will be fully virtual and public, using the HopIn event platform. In this issue, founder Johnny Boufarhat shares with us how he grew the company from a small personal passion project into startup unicorn in 18 months.
We are ready to make Signal ’21 the best edition yet. But its success will be because of what you do with the inspiration and learning you take away. That in turn will provide us with great content and inspiration for future editions of Signal and Signal360. See you next week!
Stan Joosten & John Battelle,
Editors-In-Chief, Signal360 / Co-founders, Signal P&G