In Today’s Marketplace of Ideas, Agility Equals Ability

The first tenet of lean and agile development is “Eliminate waste.” So, clearly it is a productive framework. Yet, creatively speaking, I’d say some degree of “waste” is good because we need to wander, veer from the path and get lost. That’s where discoveries and breakthroughs happen.

At the same time, the demands of deadlines and budgets require an intense focus, which lean and agile development practices can aid.

Winston Binch, Partner/Chief Digital Officer at Deutsch/LA, knows something about agile. He says, “Culture changes at Internet speed. Agencies must as well. They need to be able to make content in days, not weeks.”

Ergo, Deutsch uses “agile jam sessions,” where small groups of 4-5 people, consisting of traditional creative teams, technologists, UXdesigners, invention and media strategists, planners, producers, and account people take one to two hours to come up with ideas that answer the brief’s central question.

The trick, I believe, is to maintain a high level of craft while moving projects through the system at a steady, efficient pace.

Binch says, “to make original and shareable work, you need to pressure test the hell out of ideas before you begin production.” To help, Deutsch uses something called “The Idea Charter,” a simple one-page worksheet that creative teams fill out during concepting sessions.

What’s the PR headline? – Every idea should feel like news
Describe the idea in 140 characters – It should be easy to share
What problem does it solve? – Stay focused on the business/marketing problem
What makes it original and shareable? – Is it a creative leap? Why would someone share?
Who’s the target? – Who is the intended audience/user? Stay focused on their needs
What makes it worthy of repeated views, vists, or uses? – Why would they come back?
What do you want people to do after they leave? – Great work inspires action

“What’s the PR headline?” is a great way to frame the discussion. If the idea you’re bringing to the client isn’t newsworthy, then why bring it at all?

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