IPA Excellence Diploma: Introduction

When the then IPA president, Stephen Woodford, invited me to develop the Excellence Diploma qualification, the prospect, I must admit, was daunting. Not least because "teaching" something as fluid and individual as brands and communications is a real challenge.

The success of this first year has made it all worthwhile.

Asking delegates to read the shared texts of our industry in just a year is tough. But it does give them strong foundations. And their feedback is that they feel more confident in presenting their point of view, more convincing in their arguments to clients, more professional in their perspective.

They also reported a different level of return on their investment. Such a focused review of past and current thinking has forced them to actually define their own point of view. The following pieces reflect the sense of excitement, discovery and freedom they found in exploring their own vision and ideas.

So we are proud to publish these papers.

Proud of the industry's support of the Diploma; proud of the module editors' contribution of experience and time; proud of the agency teams who "volunteered" the delegates; proud of the agency mentors who helped support and direct the delegates' efforts. And, of course, proud of the delegates themselves for their willingness to learn, explore and imagine the future of their industry.

Campaign described the Diploma as "vital" for the industry, and that "just as vital is that agency chief executives give it their full support". I am proud to have done so and pleased I said yes to Stephen (who can ever say no to him?).

Richard Hytner (the editor of Module Six and a member of the final examination board) said the process, though daunting, had restored his belief in the talent we have in this industry and given him a massive boost of energy. I can only agree. I hope reading these papers does the same for you.

- Nick Kendall, group strategy director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and chair, IPA Excellence Diploma.

THE JUDGES
From left:
Ann Murray Chatterton - Director of professional development, IPA
Tony Regan - Head of planning, The Red Brick Road
Nick Kendall - Group strategy director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Caroline Marshall - Executive editor, Campaign
Peter Field - Founding partner, express train
Frances Illingworth - Recruitment director, WPP
Hamish Pringle - Director-general, IPA
Will Collin - Partner, Naked Communications
Jonathan Taylor - Head of marcoms, London Metropolitan University, and
chairman, Visionpoint
Stephen Woodford - Past president, IPA
David Pattison - Chief executive, PHD Media, and president, IPA
Gerry Moira - Director of creativity, Euro RSCG London
Not pictured:
John Bartle
Richard Hytner - Deputy chairman, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide
Alan Rutherford - Global media director, Unilever