A new breed of strategic planners is needed. “Normal” strategic planning is now deadly to business. Let’s pronnovate.
Strategic Directors and Heads Of Strategy should encourage this type of thinking.
We all know what the purpose of strategy is, be it in business, marketing and or brand(ing). Or at least we should. The most poignant question, I think, is who are these strategic planners and what do they do? That’s what we should really know. If you are a strategist or strategic planner by profession; who are you and what do you do? Strategists are generally referred to as thinkers and have the perception of being smart or intelligent. Quite a daunting description if you ask me
Strategists have done great work for as long as the industry has existed, and will continue to do so. With that said, I believe that there is a bit of lackluster performance when it comes to strategic planning. A bit of laziness. What do I mean? Well, a lot of work done by the “thinkers”, I think, has very little to do with original and proactive thinking and a lot to do with modifying or reacting to what has already been thought of. Strategists/planners are usually or generally tasked with challenges of trying to solve other people’s thinking, and less with creating new ideas i.e.: problems for other thinkers. We (as planners) spend the majority of our time evaluating and analyzing what already exists, what is being done (mostly by our competitors), and then try to come up with better ways of doing the exact same things. We go to work to wait for briefs that will ask us to do competitor reviews, trying to see what competitors are doing, so that we can learn how they are doing it – analysing how they think. I think that’s thinking backwards, in fact, not thinking at all.
What is needed is an evolved breed of planners, thinkers and or strategists. Don’t be that strategist that does competitor reviews in order to try and un-think other people’s work. Be proactive. Innovate. Pronnovate. A pronnovator is a strategic planner who innovates, not in a reactive mode, but rather in a proactive way to solve problems and grow business – a strategic planner with an entrepreneurial flair. Entrepreneurs don’t wait for briefs in order to come up with strategies or ideas for/of “the next best thing”, they go out there and they get it. In the near future, I’ll be interviewing a Pronnovator who embodies and personifies this idea or notion or belief so effortlessly. ‘No brief’ should by no means translate to “not a busy time” for the department or agency. I personally used to be content with not having any work to do, because “I didn’t have a brief.” But the more I start embracing this notion and belief of the “Pronnovator”, the more I get uncomfortable with the idea “There is no brief, therefore I have no wok to do.”
As a strategic planner, I wait for a brief, what that means is that I’m waiting for my clients’ competitors to create work that is exciting, innovative and awesome, then wait for my client to get a whiff of that awesomeness, for my client to establish that there’s a problem, and eventually for client to brief me, and only then start thinking on how my clients’ problems could be solved. Why don’t I initiate awesomeness for my client? If you are a strategist at your agency or work and you don’t have a brief in front of you and you think of that as “not a busy time”, then I’m afraid that you are not a pronnovator. Leave your office and pronnovate. As we sit and wait for briefs from clients, we are rendering both ourselves and so called specialized services redundant.
Clients could easily outsource better and more efficient people to do what we do. Are you a strategist/planner or a Pronnovator?
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