Craig Davis
Jan 14, 2011

Less think, and more do is the way forward

Craig Davis, co-chairman and chief creative officer at Publicis Mojo Australia and New Zealand and founder of Brandkarma.com, on the changing relationship between thinking and doing.

Publicis Mojo's Craig Davis
Publicis Mojo's Craig Davis

Mum always said good things come to those who wait and never rush into something important like marriage or a soufflé. In the words of Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), “Take your time, think a lot, think of everything you’ve got; for you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not”.

Trouble is, neither Mum nor Yusuf foresaw the rise of personal computing power and high-speed network access; that one day we would all consume, produce and distribute media in the same breath. 

This merry-go-round is changing the relationship between thinking and doing. Forever. For traditional marketers and agencies this presents a monumental challenge. Turgid, slow-moving development processes consistently value theory over practice, which explains why a campaign may be 12 months in the making and still not work. 

The idea of thinking before doing has been subverted by progressive companies relentlessly testing and learning in real-time, real-world environments in an entirely different rhythm of experimentation and exploration. 

Looking before you leap is so last century. Media entrepreneur Jonah Peretti talks about using social media as an incubator for the simultaneous development of multiple ideas, then scaling up the best of them with mass media.

Leaping and looking is good strategy. For example, small company Nonsense set themselves a challenge to design, develop and launch a business in 24 hours. DrHue, which lets you ‘shop in colour’ was conceived and built in a day. They even sold the idea on eBay, which demonstrates the accelerating dynamic between creativity and commerce. Perhaps we should all spend less time talking about good ideas and get busy making them, to see if they’re good or not.

This article was originally published in the December issue of Campaign Asia-Pacific.

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