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Best New Thinking Winner 2010

Kata No. 2

Kata No 2 Original Spin

One of the biggest problems for planners working in agencies is coming up with original thinking or in fact doing any thinking at all! Thinking is hard work and temperament and environment can often conspire to stop us ever putting our thinking caps on. This isn’t about brainstorming.  We’ll visit de Bono and wack ourselves on the side of the head at another time.

1. Get a good night’s sleep – I’m not kidding you. Tired planners produce tired work.  I have worked in agency sweatshops (no names no packdrill) and my overwhelming impression was of late nights, working weekends, loads of people off sick or asleep after an allnighter, and empty desks on Friday afternoons as people bunked off because they knew they were coming in the following day. Aside from being an inefficient way to work you as a planner are more than a little responsible for the freshness of the thinking.  If you’re permanently knackered your work will be mediocre and the final result ordinary.  Of course you won’t admit this.  Denial isn’t just a river running through Egypt.

2. Go to the gym – No I’m still not kidding you. “Mens sana in sana thingummy which I feel speaks for itself” Julie Walter’s immortal line from the Victoria Wood spoof on health farms.  If you exercise regularly your mind will be more alert. Besides half an hour in the steam room may leave you relaxed enough to let a new idea through.

3. Go to an art gallery The new Tate is always crowded out so you could try the old one(!). The Haward is often quite quiet and usually pretty stimulating. Galleries will mess with your head very successfully because the content is very different from your usual environment and so is the context.

4. Try to programme some dead time My best thought in 6 months came when I had finished a pitch and was stuck in rush hour traffic after the obligatory drinks session after thinking 3 pm was a good time to drive home before rush hour. Two hours later I was fed up to the eyeballs and home and dry but I had also inadvertently stumbled on something.  Miss trains, choose sandwich shops with long queues (with the added bonus that the sandwiches are usually better). Dead time can trick the mind out of its anxious state.  Remember John Cleese in Clockwise: “it’s not the despair,  it’s the hope the thinking you’re still going to make it”. When the mind gives up other things start to happen.

5. Get your mum/children/someone totally out of it to help The reason you’re in this jam in the first place is because you process information quicker, think more broadly and have a load of specialist experience.  Yes you got the job dummy!  And the rate at which all of us have to work will lead to bottlenecks and clogging.  So get someone to help you with it who has none of the baggage. I once considered making a certain receptionist of an agency I was planning director of signatory for all creative briefs on the grounds that if she could make sense of the brief it would probably work. I’ll always regret bottling out. Allegedly John Webster genius creative guru at BMP took to coming into work really early to talk to the cleaning ladies because their opinion was so much more valuable than the professional variety.



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