When I were a little girl there was a programme on Saturday morning telly called “Why Don’t You?” which had a theme tune that ended “Why don’t you switch off the TV and go off and do something less boring instead?”. Which was counter intuitive, and exactly what I am about to do. All that follows are sources of inspiration through the illuminated rectangle of your device. My real advice is to close that down and go off and do something less boring instead.
Good new book
Aziz Ansari plays the little gobby one in the excellent Parks and Recreation. He is also a standup comedian and has written his own show called “Master of None” which I am personally very much enjoying. However more pertinently he has teamedup with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to write a book about Modern Romance which is much much better than that biog might at first imply.
His methodology for understanding the drivers of change in the relationships of fairly well off Americans today is the same as our strategy process at Digitas LBi, albeit on a more American scale. His debrief is funnier than most of ours though.
Read it, its awesome (as he would say). I imagine that if you are single it also might pffer practical advice, to boot.
Fantastic old book
I am extremely lucky to work with a smashing young researcher/ strategist called Amy Sherman who is as brilliant as she is personable. Recently, despite my constant availability she repeatedly requested time in my diary for a “cup of tea” which, being an old management-hardened cynic I was convinced meant she was about to resign. As I tensed myself for the inevitable, she gave me a book that she had found useful instead.
The Book of Qualities (you can read a sample of the text here)
Amy says she finds this useful in absenting herself from a debrief or trying to understand what the hell these builders/ teenagers/ insurance purchasers were going on about, when she wants to get the equivalent of a breath of fresh mental air.
I have found her recommendation to be as helpful as she is. Thanks Amy.
A site worth visiting
Max Roser’s excellent long term view of key indices helps us to step outside of our immediate jihadi-threatened-sleb-informed-instagram-filtered lives and look at how Mankind is getting along, in the greater scheme of things. Aside from cocking up the climate and thus prompting our imminent doom, we haven’t done as badly as you might think: ourworldindata.org
Advice from my best Planning teacher
“An insight is invariably something that is a complete surprise to the marketing department and utterly obvious to the consumer” – Hilde Oord
Some useful evidence for things we probably know already
Variety is the Spice of Life: We know, instinctively, that an industry full of teams of people with the same background is likely to lead to undifferentiated thinking. But here’s some evidence to back up our instincts: Why Diversity Matters
Some of my friends, ex colleagues and colleagues are experimenting with their own exploration of this theme. You can follow the progress of this here: The Great British Diversity Experiment
The original Mass Observation project sought to record the experience of daily life for large groups of correspondents (a panel recruited to send back their diaries and responses to questions about their life and opinions) as well as the observations of researchers who stood and watched people going about their business. It is therefore an incredibly rich historical record, and I could read the content on their online archive forever.
The Mass Observation Project was revived in the 1980s and the responses of correspondents can be read as part of the “Observing the 80s” project, which is bringing these pieces together with voices in the British Library Oral History Collections to create a “time capsule” of the 1980s. For me the handwritten entries from people on the subject of AIDS, the Falklands and the Future add nostalgia to an already dangerously addictive online pursuit.