Wednesday, April 16, 2008

'The Prepared Mind'

uploaded by mike fischer on flickr

I have been throwing this around in my head for a while and it came up again with an event invitation from the IPA around 'Fast Strategy' which is going to be run by Richard Huntingdon of adliterate here in London.
So to link the two I started thinking about the usual planning timeframe, which I believe would go something like this. Take a brief, go out and discover or search for the information you need to build the context. Identify GAPS, get some more research and maybe create a strategy, talk to creatives about it, sell it to the client. Brief creative. This all happens in a reasonably long period of 2 -3 months. Im sure everyone does it differently but it takes time
But what happens if you have the 'the prepared mind'.... what happens when you know before you are asked.
Mat Milan highlighted some of this in his great presentation on insights.... and his link to the TV character Columbo. The key things were:

The prepared mind is......
  • A repeatable process
  • Always running its process
  • Always asking questions
  • Prepared to look beyond the obvious
I think these are great. But I would like to broaden it out and put it in the context of 'fast planning' which is the reality of today no matter what department of plannig you work in. In the high tech, information rich world we all live in. I think there is more to ad to that.

The prepared mind is.....
  • Always discovering
  • Always cataloguing new information
  • Always sharing with others
  • Always linking old with new
  • Always ready to go at any given time
I believe the modern world allows us to deliver 'fast strategy' as we have done a lot of the analysis before the problem hits our desk. We have consistent clients for a reason. Never giving up on knowing more and linking important things together, will enable us not to make a decision from gut feeling on the fly. But to make a decision because we could have addressed some of the hard work beforehand.

I have found with blogging and my fascination ,as well as involvement in the web 2.0 world. I can have everything at my fingertips. My constant need to discover has lead me to all sorts of places. People within my agency (and now friends in others) are starting to realise that if you need any information quickly, I probably have it on hand or can get it quickly. Even if its not on my clients, I often send out things to others for theirs. Delicious has everything and anything on it. This blog has a million things, all the blogs I read have great stuff. My custom search engines are great ways to get to things. There are millions of other options as well.

The truth is I believe we can deliver 'fast strategy' without loosing all of the strengths of time. This constant flow of information should allow us to pre-empt problems and construct an answer at the ready. This also gives us a great perception with our clients. As they have the feeling that you really do know their busieness and care as much as they do (Im an idealist by the way) Oh my god. It sounds like all those stories of technology speeding up the working process could be true. Lets not jump there just yet. But I guess we just have to make sure we synthesise, prioritise and utilise the information appropriately to create the best insights, strategy and ideas. But I believe the prepared mind.... can do this with ease.... Its just how prepared do you have to be? I will just keep on trying, until I find out.

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