Radiolab aired an episode on loops a few weeks ago on which they chronicled the case of a woman who was hospitalized for what she thought was a stroke, but turned out to be a case of Transient Global Amnesia … meaning that her short term memory was resetting every two minutes … which led them to having the same conversation, looping over and over again, for nine and a half hours.
Her daughter filmed the conversation in the hospital:
When you watch this video, if you're paying attention, you'll notice that the conversation happens a couple of times. But if you listen to the Radiolab episode, they break it down, do some editing, and it becomes apparent that she's reacting in exactly the same way to the same questions every time they have the conversation.
Which leads them to question whether we have free will or whether our personalities are just made of chemicals sloshing around in reaction to stimuli … meaning that we're essentially machines with little control over our actions. Which is just fascinating enough and just terrifying enough to cause loss of sleep and strange self-experimentation.
Want to see what pure dedication looks like? This music video for the song “In Your Arms” by Kina Grannis is a stop-motion animation done with a background composed of jelly beans. It’s a crazy project that required 22 months, 1,357 hours, 30 people, and 288,000 jelly beans. They could have used CGI, of course, but each frame was carefully created by hand and photographed with a still camera. It’s even more mind-blowing given this fact: none of it was done with a green screen.
Gareth wrote a fantastic post last month on the idea of Minimal Viable Planning. If you haven’t read it, and you are a planner, you should, as this is probably a pretty good indiction of the way planning is going to move if it’s going to remain valuable moving into the future.
It’s about doing the minimum amount of work needed to get to, or inspire, an idea. It’s about cutting down the waste – things like deliberating adjective soup and brand vegetables for 3 months.
It’s about generating hypotheses that can be tested, not sitting in an ivory tower with a damp towel on your head waiting for the answer to appear like divine inspiration.
It’s about making stuff that can be tested in the real world, not running weeks of focus groups to hear people talk about how they think they think or might behave.
It’s about making as few charts as possible to explain a strategy or idea – get to the work
It’s about understanding that strategy has to evolve and morph over time (whilst being aware there’s a danger that this could become an excuse for superficiality).
It’s a bias to doing over thinking.
It’s about doing stuff to learn stuff.
It’s more like experimentation than planning as we know it.
But if things are going to go this way, it’s going to have to involve planning moving away from being the publishing arm of the agency, moving away from clumsy syndicated data in favor of data gathered from real people who are interacting with the real things that brands are doing, and getting away from writing client facing decks about the work that the creative teams never see.