We take great pride as an industry in our ability to solve problems. It's how we tend to frame our capabilities to clients. It's how we describe what we do to our non-industry friends. It's how we award (and reward) ourselves across strategy and creative awards.
Yet, when you think about it, problem solving is a horrible way to think about what any of us do. It is reactive.
"Avoid politics and religion" is normally good advice when talking to clients or colleagues, but in the fall-out from the EU referendum, I feel impelled to break that rule. Yet, despite a rash of resignations and three party leadership contests, it's not the political effect that most interests me; it's actually the impact on our culture and values.
Four out of the 30 shortlisted papers for this year's Warc Prize for Social Strategy were from financial services brands. For a sector renowned for uninspiring advertising, that's a pretty good result. Perhaps what's more surprising is that the four campaigns could not be more different, incorporating an insight-driven database, a content-rich campaign designed to simplify finance, a push for student accounts and a nudge to get thinking about your retirement years.
If I were to suggest that almost every conversation you have about brands is influenced by the thinking of a Viennese psychologist, you'd probably think I was talking about Sigmund Freud. You'd be almost right, but not quite. Actually, I'm referring to the man who was sometimes known as the 'Sigmund Freud of the supermarket age' - a certain Ernest Dichter.
Welsh people don't often get much to cheer about. And yet we do - often. It's a small country, but a noisy one.
In 2014, my friends at Admap asked me to write a piece about the impact of Big Data on creativity, to promote their annual essay contest on the same. I looked at Big Data and couldn't find anything that anyone had done with it except retarget banners more invasively, in a way that I felt would drive greater rejection of digital advertising (which it did, as evinced by the meteoric rise of ad blocking over the past two years).
This year's North American Effie Awards bestowed its top prize to Moms Demand Action, the US pressure group for gun control, for its 'Groceries not guns' campaign.
Read the Grand Effie and a selection of 25 other winning case studies.
But if you only have time to read a few of them, then here are my recommended highlights.
In 1906 Francis Galton, the country's foremost statistician, attended the West of England Fat Stock and Poultry Exhibition and uncovered an intriguing phenomenon.
To say that I am very honored judging the 2016 Warc Prize for Asian Strategy would certainly be an understatement - not just because of the extremely humbling panel of fellow judges, but also because I personally hold a great deal of this award. After all, it's Asia's first dedicated competition rewarding great strategic marketing thinking from the region.
WeChat has become the Swiss Army knife of the socio-digital world in China, says James Hayle, MEC Social Insight Executive
The Great Firewall of China, the Chinese government's censorship project, blocks many popular western sites and services such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and Instagram. In effect, this closes off and isolates an enormous part of the Chinese market from the socio-digital western world. This has enabled a number of hugely popular home-grown state-driven services to emerge, the most prominent of which is WeChat.