An older blogpost of mine got some attention on twitter a couple of days ago. In "Agile Strategy, Tactics an the Story of a DJ" I argued that we should not prefer doing over planning because they always inform with each other. My post was a response to the Agile Strategy Manifesto by Justin McMurray.
I guess the new attention for my article was driven by a little flamewar on the german account planning group's website. The debate was triggered by an insightful post from Nina Rieke (Strategist @doubleshift). In her post "Always in Beta" she writes that brands have to be as agile as the world.
Our articles have one thing in common: we looked at software development for inspiration.
In the software world the "always in beta"- discussion frames a shift in paradigm: From the linear waterfall-model to a more complex thinking in loops that incorporate early prototyping, testing and feedback.
Managers loved the model, because it looks simple and controllable. And most of the agencies, I know are organized similar: Strategy, Art-Direction, Implementation, Measurement. But a waterfall can't cope with (user) feedback. Acknowleging this blind spot means to chance the hole line of production, breaking down processes, silos and hierarchies.
Today a lot of software is developed in a looping process of doing and planning, or planning and doing. Doing is needed to test things out and planning is needed to make things better and learn from mistakes. The loop resembles every creative process. Mangers had to accept complexity and a loss of control.
Naturally we have Waterfall-Models for the advertising industry as well as for the movie industry.
But if we think of communication as 'mental-software'-development, we can ask ourselves, how a similar paradigm shift could be visualized for our industries.
But I haven't seen a fancy looping-model by now - so I draw one by myself.
However it follows a personal premisse: I believe that content is as convergent as technology. It will be more and more difficult to distinguish between entertainment, news or advertising content. The only glue that holds an audience together will be a story, that offers an experience.
When I have drew it, I had not thought about advertising or tradtional media or interactivity. I have thought about developing an exiting story.
So here it is. It is a first draft - so feedback would be awesome.
The great thing about the loop: It does not suggest the time frame. Perhaps the first too loops happen in a day. The first Storytelling Rollout could be the rollout of a prototype within the creative team. And while fans of doing will rush to production, fans of planning will be more busy with feedback and audience knowledge.