Some skills will always be needed, no matter how much the world changes
A view from Russell Davies

Some skills will always be needed, no matter how much the world changes

The first agency I worked in, there were no computers. And now there are planning directors who don't remember a working life without iPhones.

I thought about this when I did a thing for The Account Planning Group the other week - how can I offer young planners useful advice when I grew up in a completely different world? So I tried to work out what I could say that was timeless. Here it is:

1. You’ll always have to be good at presenting. However the world changes, there will always be a need for someone to stand up in a room and explain complex and difficult things in a clear and persuasive way. Doing that well will require good skills in rhetoric and information design, and it will need a certain intangible quality that makes people want to listen and agree. The best way to get that – practise.

2. You’ll always have to be good at translation. Humans will organise themselves into groups – those groups will always develop their own argots and "in-speak", so they will always need someone to translate between them. If you can talk commerce, consumer and creative, technology, finance and service, art, analytics and accounting, then you’ll always be valuable to organisations.

3. You’ll always have to be good at learning. Marketing and media are vampires of novelty – technology won’t be done with us for a while and we’re locked in an innovation arms race that’s not slowing down. So there probably won’t be a moment in your career when you can just settle back and coast on a body of knowledge – you’ll need to be like a software developer: always learning new things. You’d better get used to that and be good at it.

(And, in that spirit, I would like to meet people who are working in our big media world today and I would like to find out what you’re thinking about. I’ll buy you a cup of tea and you’ll tell me what you do all day.

I can’t guarantee I’ll write about you, but it will help me and it might be therapeutic for you. If you fancy keeping me young, e-mail me at

Russell Davies is a creative director at Government Digital Service