I’m baaaackkkkk, and going through my google reader have come across several interesting and provocative posts – some of which I want to talk about next time.
But I just came across an excellent post by Ellen at Foresight 20/20 that I’d like to share. It’s all about how understanding constraints helps deliver a sharper outcome – which should be the ultimate business aim.
I remember really early on in my career where an advertising creative said to one of our mutual clients “Just give me the freedom of a tight brief”. Wow, I thought. How profound. But hadn’t really thought how it impacted me. So many times I have thought of this sentence though in the past few years as the role of research evolves to be more insight focused, than information focused…
– So when a client calls and asks for a quick turn around job with a “verbal” brief I freak out a little…and because they are in a rush they may forget to pass on a few things they really need to know
– at the start of an ideation workshop where a facilitator says “today we have nothing that should hold us back and we are just going to come up with ideas” I have an intense fear the next 8 hours will waste a lot of everyone’s time. Sure it’ll be fun!…but not when all the ideas are created around a production process the company has no capex to develop.
It’d be like if I walked in to moderate a focus group without a discussion guide, or if I asked someone to go to the shops for me and buy some “stuff” without giving them a list.
When clients can’t give us a brief, we always write one for them, to make sure this is what they want. It is often a straight forward process (esp. if for a concept test, a volumetric study, brand positioning piece). But often this is harder to get to when starting off an innovation process. Production process limitations, profit expectations, supply chain constraints; not many of these have been thought through.
Ellen pretty much sums it up when she says;
“Design is about problem solving. Problem solving needs constraints. Otherwise it’s just decoration, and that’s a different task altogether.”