I feel like I can still get in on blogging about the AAAA Planning Conference because it was only a week ago today that it ended, and some of the finer points I left with are really sinking in only now, with a certain amount of distance.
"The problem is not that we've set the bar too high and failed, but that we've set the bar too low and succeeded." - Sir Ken Robinson
Like many of the congregated planners, I left wishing I had a pocket Sir Ken Robinson to pull out and bring along to remind me of what is truly important and worth fighting for and to keep me plugged in at all times to creativity in all its forms. More importantly, I seem to bump up against the notion that not all our endeavors as planners (as advertisers) need to be of the "great depth" variety. That sometimes some quick, topline thinking is all that's really required. I have a great tendency to throw myself into the search for depth, to be dissatisfied with the idea of topline thinking, but I'll tell you...it's a skill set I really need to develop. I would manage time better, satisfy business leadership demands and requests, probably even open a great deal of free time that I could use to "dig deeper" if that's really what interests me.
And yet... the very idea that accepting face value truths when you know in your gut something deeper is at play, or could be discovered drives me insane. I don't mean to sound sanctimonious (too late, right?) but I think we have to demand depth of thought. At Nissan, where I used to work in the Advanced Planning department, our director, Jane Nakagawa, would push us to our cerebral limits in considering a trend, a habit, a value. It wasn't remotely good enough to define a target (for example) as "covetous of free time". What was really at play? What did that really reflect? Really, those four words could go in so many different directions. (e.g. Gen X "Superdad" disease - stuck between the desire to be a rock star at work and at home, or "Missing the playfulness of childhood" or who knows what) My point is, the benefits of "setting the bar too high", of trying and failing in so many ways outnumber the benefits of passing the paper off faster.
I guess if I were better at either, I could a) get my depth of thinking done faster, or b) convince people to give me space and time to go for big.