New research proves the web now contains a piece of research to counter every other piece of research on the web.
OK, that might not be entirely accurate, but it’s probably pretty close. The deluge of ‘facts’ that pour from the web astounds me. Every day sees a new piece of research proving this or disproving that. It’s impossible to keep up with the flood, which often results in people accepting every new pronouncement as gospel. Actually checking facts goes out the window, and a “hey, suchandsuch.com said this, it must be true” attitude creeps in.
When you’re working creatively, you’re usually problem solving in some form or another. Designing a new chair, creating a marketing campaign, building a plan to arrest a profit slide, even sculpting an abstract. Something is not the way you want it to be, and you’re changing the situation.
Problem solving needs a good understanding of the problem, and that means data. Even sculpting an abstract to evoke an emotional response needs an understanding of how people react. Even if you believe it’s 100% gut feeling, it’s not. You make your artistic decisions based on a conglomerate of all the experiences you’ve had. That’s data.
So what’s the easiest way to work with the flood of data that normally accompanies a problem? Let’s say you need to work through a marketing issue. You’ll get business history, marketing background, case studies, a zillion opinions from everyone involved and a quadrillion bits of ‘research’ from various sources. You need the data, but you need to qualify.
My advice? Don’t do it alone. Whether you work solo or in a team, speak to other people. Gain some perspective. If you have the resources, assign people to filter the data for you. It must be cut into manageable, relevant chunks. if it’s an artistic vision, find out how others interpret emotions compared to you. Do they see things differently?
I’m not saying change your thinking to fit the data. I’m simply saying what I’ve said before in earlier posts. Understand what is around you so you know what you’re working on. However, don’t get sucked into working with the sort of poor data that floods the web (hey, don’t read this blog without getting a second opinion elsewhere), and don’t feel that you have to go it alone. Find a mechanism to get rid of the rubbish and boil the good stuff into something you can use. In advertising, it’s sometimes called the one word brief. We try to find a single word, or short phrase to sum up the brand and how we want it to be perceived. Then, we have a strong foundation to work with. Something easy to understand.
Understanding will leave to revelation.