Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Good briefs allow for serendipity ... and flight

"A well-constructed brief will allow for serendipity, unpredictability, and the capricious whims of fate, for that is the creative realm from which breakthrough ideas emerge." - Tim Brown, "Change By Design."


I can't remember the last time anyone went on and on about a well-written brief, but without them, creative minds are not properly fed. Perhaps the unsung hero of the agency world, well-concepted and passionately-created briefs are the output of only the most talented of strategists. Those who truly dig into the problem to be solved, embrace the consumer to be addressed, to find true insights and real fodder from which the creative team can take flight.

On the contrary, you hear mostly about the bad ones. Epic fisherman's tales of the worst briefs ever seen, and their inevitable outcomes. Ask any creative to talk about bad briefs and they will begin by settling back in their chair like a grandfather about to tell incredible tales of childhood, famine and far away places. It's an easy yarn, to be sure.

But Brown has hit the nail on the head. When done right, a good brief provides just the right balance of constraint and freedom, of kite and string. Allowing not only the false starts of first flight, but also the exuberance of altitude that can only be achieved with both wind and tether.

As I head into several long weeks of creative development, I think perhaps I need to be more outwardly appreciative of my strategy partners who so beautifully allow for my own capricious whims of fate, and hold us all aloft so we can soar.