When the call came from Lord Bell, we jumped at the chance to design his new Brexit Calendar.
Not only for the opportunity to work closely with one of the true innovators in our industry, but also because Lord Bell was so overt in his desire to inject some much-needed levity and positivity back into the conversation about leaving the EU.
The calendar's a simple idea. You scratch off a panel on key dates as we count down to Brexit, to reveal a humorous caricature of a well-known Brexit personality or issue. A bit of light relief that celebrates our country's referendum decision, to counter all the negativity and hand-wringing that's dominating so many of the uninspiring, agenda-following media titles. What a breath of fresh air.
The subsequent few weeks spent working with Lord Bell - designing the calendar, the campaign tweet cards, website and PR plan - were everything we could have wished for: a fabulous experience. Conducted with all the can-do spirit and irreverent humour that makes me so proud to call Britain home.
It's time to crack on...
Having been at the heart of such a positive Brexit experience, it makes me sad and frustrated to see our confident national spirit being chipped away at by the negative Brexit voices. Especially at just the time when we need to be reminding ourselves of the very national identity and character that makes us so unique, so competitive and such an example to the rest of the world.
In the same way that the fear-mongers tried so miserably to destroy our sense of self during the referendum campaign, the same whining nay-sayers are now doing their best to stifle our re-emerging sense of national identity. I wish them all the success they had on the 23rd of June.
As a country, we have often been at our best when forced to define ourselves by what we are not. In so doing, we remind ourselves of everything that we are. It may not always be easy to define the British national character - but it's certainly something that can be felt. And this negativity feels wrong.
Brexit: the catalyst our country needs
I am proud to say that I am not like those who wish to talk down our country and talk up our overstated dependence on the EU. And, for the record, I cannot begin to express the positivity I personally feel towards Brexit.
It is the chance of a lifetime (and my children's lifetime) to truly engage in a positive reaffirmation of what we are not, and therefore what we have the potential to be, on our own terms. Being confident in our own abilities and talents. Providing a new social and business context that forces us towards self-reliance through innovation. With a determination to do better and be better.
Brexit has the potential to turn the UK into an incubator for fresh thinking that will positively influence our politics, business, social structures, cultural output... and a lot more besides. If we take this chance, we will enjoy a rare opportunity to support positive proactivity across all areas of society. This will drive new thinking, new solutions and new ways to engage with the wider world, not just our nearest neighbours. Britain as the progressive fly in the ointment: the challenge and the competition. The difference.
Far from being a retrograde step, as so many are depicting Brexit, I feel wholeheartedly that it is a call to action for a progressive national agenda. Are we really so out of shape as a country that we have to fear this unknown? Why on earth are so many voices determined to talk down our capabilities and potential to improve across so many areas? How very un-British.
If nothing else, I welcome Brexit because it will force us out of our current stupor and make us think afresh about who we want to be - and who we can be. Because Brexit is so much bigger than Brexit.
I, for one, intend to spend my time enjoying the pressure and the potential. Now that we've chosen this path, I only hope that we, collectively, set the standard for the next generation to follow. Leading, not lamenting.
Lord Bell's Brexit Calendar reminds me to enjoy every day of the process as we count down to lift-off. Challenging the current status quo, preparing for the new opportunities... and keeping our sense of humour along the way.
Alternatively, of course, if you voted Remain, the calendar makes a great dartboard!Suggest a correction