Planning @50: What is its future?

This article is part of a series of articles marking the 50th birthday of planning. Read more.

Thirty-five years ago, I started my first job as a planner in a London agency. An early acquaintance there – a healthily cynical account man had on his pinboard a newspaper headline that read simply: 'Planning: the god that failed.' The reference was actually to town planning. But the irony was sweet and, I suspect, still resonates now, in the middle of what is an intense debate on the future of agencies.

Thirty-five years on, I am now an analyst in an investment bank who writes research on – and follows closely big consumer goods companies like Unilever and Nestle. I have worked in and around the FMCG industry throughout that entire period, but quit account planning more than 25 years ago, after a decade in three agencies. This included five years at the doyen of the planning function, Boase Massimi Pollitt (BMP).