By Chris James, SCL Trustee
It was time, then, for the executive team and the trustees to enjoy a glass of fizz at our annual Christmas lunch last week. As it happened, we were joined by our new Paintworks neighbours, Workbrands. Last year we recognised the need to bring our brand up to date. Having discussed the topic at our board meetings, and sought feedback from many of you, we recognise the legacy in our current name and branding. We have decided to pursue change cautiously and with expert help.
To this end, Workbrands kindly donated a brand consultancy session earlier in the day. To kick things off, they challenged us with a question: "If SCL was an animal, what would it be?" I am pleased to report that the SCL team responded with gusto. Getting agreement - not least amongst the lawyers in the room - was not an easy task. Fortunately we were allowed to cheat a little by picking three animals rather than one. After quite a bit of deliberation, and some very questionable illustration, we'd whittled our choices down. In the spirit of giving full transparency into SCL's important business affairs, here they are:
1. A lioness
2. A dolphin
Of course, these animals also have some traits that could be considered negative for SCL. For example, coral nourishes and supports a whole ecosystem but tends to stay below the surface. Instead, whilst continuing to nurture and educate, SCL also needs to be visible, unmistakable, unmissable. An elephant, a giraffe, an eagle?
How about a team of committed, enthusiastic people who enjoy their charitable mission of fostering thought leadership in this important field?
We've had some great success partnering with organisations such as HM Courts & Tribunals Service this year, but it's important that we continue to shout about our own virtues too. Not least because 2018 was arguably the year that tech law really hit the mainstream consciousness. For example, as an acronym GDPR is probably now as well-known as FTSE. Further, in 2018, the notion that lack of effective tech regulation can have profound consequences found critical mass.
Our discussion at lunch touched upon the qualities the Society needs to flourish in this environment. We will continue to welcome to our shores members and visitors alike. We have a solid platform, but we need to continually protect and invest in it to keep it healthy. We need to raise awareness of our mission. Put another way: we need to keep our coral reef in good shape and growing, but we need to make more of a splash too. We'll be exploring this theme more formally in the new year, and we welcome your views.
We hope that you agree with our armchair zoology, or at least recognise many of the same attributes in SCL as we do, particularly our community focus. The maxim "the more you put in, the more you get out" definitely rings true with our Society. Getting involved in 2019 is as easy as dropping the SCL team a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to have a chat. We have opportunities for all of our members and prospective members to help us meet our charitable objects.
In the meantime, on behalf of the exec team and the other trustees, many thanks to everyone who has been involved in the Society in 2018. We hope you enjoy the festive period and look forward to working with you again next year.
Chris James is a Trustee of SCL and Associate General Counsel, Digital & Innovation / Cyber at HSBC