With all this chat about data, you might be forgiven for thinking that I want to turn the industry into a club for number junkies - or that I place more importance on information than intuition. To set the record straight though, that's really not the case.
Personally, I love intuitive planning and I'm totally convinced that "doing what feels right" will continue to create much of the world's best marketing in the future. The subconscious is just about the most powerful data processor there is, after all, so we'd be mad to ignore it (as Mr Gladwell quite rightly points out in Blink).
I do think the industry needs to have less of a downer on data if we're going to succeed in our rapidly changing world, though. The quicker we embrace intuition and information as complimentary, rather than competing, elements the better. Enriching intuition with information should make us more creative, inspirational and effective, not the other way around.
I don't think this means we all suddenly need to get all techy, but I do think it means we'll have to welcome a few more techy people into our teams. These people needn't be geeky, mechanoid data albatrosses hanging around our intuitive necks, though - just sparky, numerate types who offer us another point of view, plus valuable insight and expertise, whilst working to the same creative ends as the rest of the team. That's why I call them Data Punks.
I ran into the Planning Director of the direct agency Partners Andrews Aldridge a little while ago and she told me that the way they do things there is to pair intuitive/creative planners with data planners. As data becomes more important throughout the comms industry, this kind of thing could definitely be an interesting model to explore elsewhere. Creatives work in pairs, after all - and wherever there are different skill sets and points of view then you can be sure that clashing them's gonna set off shed loads of sparks...