I've just got back from a couple of days in New York. Most of this time was spent at a meeting organized by Hall and Partners, the research company that gets brands and communications and doesn't spend it's life trying to force their 'one way all communication works' model down your throat.
They organized a discussion between some of their people and some very smart people from the agency world (what was I doing there?) - Paul Lavoie of Taxi, George Scribner of Digitas, Paul Parton of The Brooklyn Brothers and Carl Johnson of Anomaly; iconoclasts and contrarians one and all.
So, what was talked about? A lot about complexity and chaos, the importance of usefulness and interestingness (and of course branded utility), behavior not just communication and the importance of the truth. Also lots of talk of how many agency structures and blind obedience to process leads to the wrong solution.
All this is leading up to some thinking from Hall and Partners on how research needs to evolve given that innovation in research lags way behind innovation in communications (which of course lags way behind the change in culture driven primarily by technology). The metrics are now so out of date that Carl likened it to using a thermometer to measure the height of a wall.
Top factoid - Dell generates 3 terabytes of data every month. How are you meant to make this useful and actionable?
Top title for a book yet to be written - 'In Praise of Subjectivity'
It was a provocative time, and a real pleasure to be around some seriously bright, good people.