I kicked-off a long-term series of learning from trends some time ago, and have so far only looked at hotel trends and how marketers can learn from them. There will be more to follow in the future. I have also, over the past two month, tried to draw on insights into other fields, including theatre and politics, extracting learnings for brand and business thinkers.
The point is that we can always learn from disciplines outside our own areas of expertise, sometimes reinforcing what we think, sometimes helping to refine our thoughts, and sometimes fundamentally challenging what we believe. Whichever way, it’s an incredibly healthy process.
I came across another great example of learning from a specialism far removed from my world when talking to a couple of psychologists this weekend. These people spend their days dealing with troubled young people, and have an innate talent for understanding and responding to the patients they meet. They both rely as much on their experienced instincts and intuition as they do on their training and theoretical expertise (and, in truth, they could not function effectively without either).
So it was interesting to hear how these experts trust their instincts as much as they trust their training (which resonates strongly with my beliefs about marketing, communications, and brand building). But perhaps more interesting (and a little worrying) was hearing the extent to which they are forced to back up their professional, instinctive judgements with theory, process, and research-based justification. In other words, they are measured as much by their ability to ‘prove’ that the techniques and treatments they employ are correct as they are on the results they deliver.
Some people have talents and instincts that far outstrip their ability to articulate them, and track records that inexplicably defy the norm. As customers, managers, voters, taxpayers…do we really want to deny ourselves the potential benefits of their talents, simply because they can’t always explain why they employ them the way they do? And, are we really better off judging people on the reasoning behind their actions rather than on their results? I know my answer.