PostClick Marketing Blog has an interesting post on agency cycles, and the way an agency spends too much time on tactics and not enough on concepts. The suggestion is to swap “how” and “what” and let 95% of a project be about idea generation.
Great sentiment, imperfect logic. Companies that focus too much on ideas get criticized for being too high-concept; they wind up perceived as unable to get things done. Conversely, of course, executional organizations have finite growth curves and not enough creativity.
The answer we’ve settled on is the continuous feedback loop. As PostClick notes, it is not enough to generate ideas up front, then move into implementation. Better to integrate idea generation into the entire process.
Here’s how Ai does it:
- Questions. From start to finish, everyone is encouraged to ask questions. How did a decision come about? What other options have been considered, and why? Is there a better way to achieve the proposed solution? We’re always creating, not just doing.
- Multidisciplinary meetings. Teams convene regularly across disciplines to discuss workflow and brainstorm solutions–a business analyst reviewing wireframes, or a tech lead discussing design feasibility.
- Continual feedback. Stakeholders are invited to give suggestions throughout a project. This feedback often raises questions that Ai may have approached differently than the client. At these moments, the process shines: much like a writer and his editor, Ai’s best client engagements benefit from strong feedback loops where tough questions improve the final project.
For us, it’s not just about what versus how–it’s about continuing to ask “what” during the “how,” and vice versa. Maintaining a healthy balance between the two ensures projects, and their teams, remain creative and forward-thinking.