In a special feature that revisits an article we ran three years ago, creative director and published author Sally Hogshead offers up a number of Radical Truths from her new book, Radical Careering, specially customized for you, the Creativity reader. In truth Number 10, "Avoid Manufacturing Buggy Whips," Hogshead talks about the value of rules. "Rules are good. Otherwise we'd have no box to go outside of."
Appropriately, the original radicals, Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma are also featured in this issue and are exemplars of rule breakers who have earned the opportunity to invent new, better ones. In talking to Kamen and looking at the work the shop is producing outside of established boundaries, and the new partnerships and means by which the projects are getting done, it's clear that the @radical partners are creating new ways of working and shaping the rules of the future as they go. "This is like the earliest days of television when great agencies pioneered what has been known as the standard of modern advertising," says Kamen. "I feel as if we're getting an opportunity today to pioneer that whole new universe."
Another of this issue's radical careerists, Media Kitchen's Paul Woolmington, talked about abandoning conventions that have outlived their usefulness when we discussed the reunification of media and creative disciplines (see story p. 43). Woolmington talks about the upside of sidestepping rules governing the division of labor in terms of roles and job titles. "Over the next few years, there is every opportunity for people to redefine themselves and redefine their roles and what they do, given the environment. I think some of the best creatives in the future could be great media people; I think they could come from anywhere," says Woolmington.
But lest you think this is just some crazed punk rock party where anything goes, those who do it best remind us there is a grounding that goes with making stuff up as you go. "We have a training scheme here, which is, 'You need to know the rules in order to break them,'" says Woolmington. With the level of risk aversion that has built up in the marketing world over the last several years, being able to offer mind-blowing new kinds of work, while offering some kind of accountability accessible to marketers becomes the ideal. There too, though, rules must change. Accountability, established metrics as we know them, can't be applied to the most interesting work right now. With target audiences smaller and more diverse in composition and inclination than many admit (see the POV, p. 8), rules governing how consumers are reached and how success is measured must be reinvented. Says Woolmington, with measurements like reach and frequency no longer adequate, the new yardsticks will be about things like "depth and duration."
Well, here's to that, and to all kinds of very smart badasses making up new rules.