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Information Diet | Raquel Chicourel

This is part of the series 'How to be Curious - Cognitive Fitness for Planners' by Ian Leslie, our APG Guest Editor during April 2018. He believes that strategists need to be curious and stay curious and the only way to do that is to excersise your brain as you do your body. One important aspect of fitness is diet.

Here he gives you a look at the information diets of different strategists, via a Q&A.


Raquel Chicourel | Chief Strategy Officer at M&C Saatchi London

Before I go into my information diet, I feel it is important to say that the truth about me is that I am not an intellectual or a bookworm. My mind wanders, lives and consumes more than it reads. From Netflix, documentaries, podcasts to films and my own mad life, I live and love culture, science, human behaviour and being a mum to three little girls. I’d say these account for 99% of what truly inspires me.

1. Outside of ad industry/marketing sources, what are your daily must-reads for information?

My daily dose of information (before school run kicks in) are the online bitesize news from The Guardian, BBC, Canvas8, Mashable and Huffpost.

2. Which websites, if any, do you go to when you want to spark new ideas and insights?

For cultural inspiration and better understanding humanity:

My three children, Netflix, TED, documentaries (more recently Dirty Money & Blue Planet), BBC iplayer, TV series (like Black Mirror, Westworld, Stranger Things and Game of Thrones), Disney Pixar films, Tarantino films, Wes Andersen films, JJ Abrams films, C. Nolan films, Independent cinema, Jimmy Fallon/Kimmel shows, sci-fi books & children’s books (‘Bedtime stories for rebel girls’ and Oliver Jeffers are total favourites), IFLScience, Contagious, Women in the world and Girls in tech.

For insightful business and tech:

The FT, The Economist, Time Magazine, Wired and WARC.

For original thinking:

Jim Carroll’s Blog, Richard Huntington’s Adliterate, Nick Kendall’s ‘What Is A 21st Century Brand’, Russell Davis APG Podcasts, Patricia Mcdonald’s ‘Planning In High Heels’ And BBH Labs. Additionally, there are the random gems which tends to be anything original and insightful twitter or other planners share. More recently the brilliant Martin Weigel’s ‘Case For Chaos’ and APG‘s ‘Art Of Persuasion’ Noisy Thinking.

3. Are there any magazines/periodicals you read regularly?

The Sunday Times, Time Magazine, Campaign, Contagious and The Drum.

4. Are there particular writers you find to be a regular source of insight and inspiration?

In Culture & Entertainment… All the Greats… Gillian Flynn, J K Rowling, Adam Curtis, Charlie Brooker, Christopher Nolan, J.J. Abrams, Tarantino, Hitchcock, Spielberg, Suzanne Collins, Nora Ephron, Sophia And Francis Ford Coppola… This list could go on and on and on.

In Marketing & Advertising… Malcolm Gladwell, Mark Earls, Adam Morgan, Edward De Bono, Les & Peter, Nick Kendall, Jim Carroll And Sir John Hegarty.

5. Which social media, if any, do you find most intellectually stimulating?

TWITTER - my daily secret weapon for bitesize knowledge, fun, memes and random culture.

6. When and how do you find time to read books, and do you pursue any particular reading strategy (fiction vs non-fiction, recommendations, etc)?

These days, I only skim read Marketing books. Reading pages diagonally without missing what’s important is a skill that improves with practice. I’d rather use the little time I have to reading, cover to cover, books there are meaningful to me as a citizen of this wonderful, mad and brutal world we live in. I carve time to read on my way to work and back. I am currently reading Helena Morrissey’s brilliant ‘A Good Time To Be a Girl’.

7. Is there a book or books that changed the way you think about your work?

The most transformative influence in my career came from all the brilliant minds I had/have the privilege to work/have worked with at BBH, AMV, Saatchi & Saatchi and now at M&C Saatchi. Other transformative influence comes from creative work, from purpose-led to funny & obscure, that made a cultural dent in the world.

9. What topic would you most like to learn more about?

Sci-fi (from AI to Alien life and Time travel)

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