Frameworks give us freedom of thought

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It has taken a good few weeks for me to find some inspiration or motivation from digital content, but last week I came across this presentation from Bud Caddell. And, because I ‘m always interested in how digital strategists try to explain what they do and what role in the digital process they play, I followed the link. Up until now I haven’t found anyone who does it as well as Mark Pollard (planner’s crush anyone?), but maybe now I have a new muse.

Bud Caddell’s presentation walks us through a series of frameworks that can help guide and govern a strategist’s thinking. 

I love a planning framework

Some may think Bud’s frameworks fly in the face of “creative thinking”, but the guidance of a framework is exactly the thing that helps you to be more creative. Watching children on a climbing frame perfectly evidences this. The climbing frame provides them with support and ways to develop stories and ideas for their games; their imaginations are sparked by the tools available to them.

For a strategist having a framework gives them confidence in how they arrived at their recommendation. It is far easier to breakdown and qualify your thinking to others if it is guided from the outset. This is particularly relevant if the strategist is not dealing with the traditional agency creative model, but with clients or internal stakeholders.

What is a digital strategist?

I’ve read a lot of these descriptions too, some of which seem to compare a strategist’s skills to those of a rocket scientist or Noble Prize winner. Bud’s is a little more down to earth but again it allows for the digital strategist to use the definition as a framework for how they want their role to be visualised by others.

“A digital strategist is the person who develops and oversees digital strategies and is responsible for inspiring digital creativity.”

The role here is positioned within an agency environment using the more traditional relationship between strategists and creatives. But what about digital strategists who sit outside of the agency structure? Are we still inspiring creativity?

When I am planning for a client project or thinking about how to present an idea I will always aim to be as creative and visual as possible. My goal is to help the client see the idea or opportunity but not necessarily the execution of the idea. I can guide the physical execution by providing best case examples or, if the client is lucky enough to posses a strong one, the execution will be guided by their brand identity.

If you are a digital strategist working client side then it is you that will have the responsibility of forming your digital footprint, and informing your stakeholders and colleagues so they will support your vision. In this environment frameworks are even more helpful as very often you are dealing with others who are missing the depth of understanding in digital that you have. 

Hopefully Bud’s presentation will provide some motivation for you to make your role more visual to others. Or perhaps you are someone who is considering what’s next for you in digital, in which case I am sure you’ll find some inspiration here. And if you have the time, visit Bud’s website and find inspiration in his self evident truths.


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