Russell Davies: If you're a planner, prepare to unleash your creative streak

Be the first to comment

I'm teaching a course in a couple of weeks and I'm worrying what to talk about. It's one of a series of seminars for senior planners and my bit is called "Making the most of your creativity".

My problem is to do with boundaries - first, I'm not sure what a planner is supposed to do any more. Second, I'm not sure what "creativity" you can take for granted these days.

When I started in planning, you could assume that a planner could draw a non-confusing chart, write a non-confusing brief and make a non-confusing mood board for research groups. (The really nice mood board, for the client presentation, would have to be made by the studio - because it had the scalpels and a fume cupboard.)

Then, sometimes, there were special planners with extra skills. They could draw or paint or take decent pictures.

My special skill, for instance, on which I coasted for a number of years, was that I knew - a long time before most people - how to paste an image into a PowerPoint presentation.

These days, I'd assume that almost anyone in an agency or media business knew how to film, edit and title a decent video and get it on to the web. They should know how to set up a good-looking blog, make a reasonable set of wireframes, take a reasonable photo, record and edit a reasonable interview, do a bit of stop-frame animation, nicely visualise some data, know what the golden ratio is and know the difference between Arial and Helvetica, and between a hyphen, an em dash and an en dash. (NB. Before you get all clever, I do not know all these things - I just expect you to.)

I think the average planner should be as comfortable with a marker pen and layout pad as they are with a laptop. The tools of creativity are just far more accessible these days. Doesn't everyone know this stuff? Perhaps not.

But maybe it's about more than general fluency with the tools - it's about the future of the job. And I see a lot more creativity in it, not less.

Personally, for instance, I'm convinced that the most potent and fecund creative unit of the next 20 years is going to be a team of a designer and a strategist. That's who businesses will want solving their problems. Could you do that? Can you talk about affordances and desire paths and say "canonical" a lot?

Though maybe that's all a bit too highfalutin. I also have a bunch of tricks for making the propositions on briefs sound more creative (though not too creative). Maybe I should just show them those. If you're coming on the course, let me know. Everyone else: we'll let you know what we come up with.

Tags

SUBSCRIBE TO CAMPAIGN

Only £57 for 3 months

Includes every print & iPad edition, plus full access to Campaign online and other Brand Republic sites.

SUBSCRIBE

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Campaign Jobs

Thousands of jobs across advertising, creative, marketing and media

Twitter reveals insights from best social campaigns of 2015
Shares0
Share

1 Twitter reveals insights from best social campaigns of 2015

Twitter UK's head of brand strategy reviews some of the best campaigns on the social media platform last year and shares insights to help brands in 2016.

Just published