CONSERVATION COMES FROM CONNECTION WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE

Anton Crone from Sarious shares the key insights he gained at the Conservation Lab 2017.

In a previous life I was a creative director in advertising. I don’t miss the corporate world, but I do miss the brainstorming – the process of tapping into your imagination is more an art than it is a science, but there is a process you can follow. In my case and many others’, it involved hours of solitary musing, long walks to stimulate the brain, and then moments of relaxation to let all the ideas fall into place – this is when the

Anton Crone at Conservation Lab 2017
Anton Crone at Conservation Lab 2017

“Aha!” moment would occur, often in the shower.

But all of that takes time. Without doubt the best, and fastest, way to get the creative juices flowing was through collective imagination: putting every creative person connected with the job into the same room. It was stimulating, it was fun, it was serious, and it was quick – by bouncing ideas off one another we came up with solutions in no time. But it wasn’t ideal. Why not? Because we didn’t have ALL the people connected with the job in the room. There were no strategic planners, no account managers, and most importantly there were no clients – the people we needed to sell the idea to, the ones who knew more about the product than anyone, and who were fully invested in their brand – who lived and breathed it.

As a creative team we would try and sell our incredible ideas to clients, who would often blanch because what we presented was often too risky, or irrelevant. By and large, it had little to do with the brand that they knew. And this is where I relate my experience with the Conservation Lab.

The Lab is a great way to network, to find out what’s going on in different corners of Africa. It is incredibly stimulating, it is fun and it can be damn serious; it is also very quick – we come up with solutions in no time, but we don’t have ALL the people connected with conservation in the room. We don’t have the people who are closest to the wilderness, who know it better than anyone, who live and breath it. And I’m not talking about lodge owners and safari guides.

One thing was very clear at this last iteration of the Conservation Lab – in fact, it became the thread of most discussions: conservation depends on the communities who live in or near the wilderness areas that we are trying to preserve. It is clear that we need many more community members at the un-conference, so that we can include them in the process, learn what the real challenges are and, that way, come up with real solutions.

Breakfast mingling at the Conservation Lab 2017
Breakfast mingling at the Conservation Lab 2017

The third edition of the Conservation Lab un-conference will take place 11-13 May 2018 in Stellenbosch. To find out more about how to get involved (and collaborate with the biggest names in the game), contact paul@beyondluxury.com.

[All photos are by Maya Brasnovic]

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