Planning @50: What is its future?

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

In 2016, heads of planning from creative agencies across America gathered for a leadership forum with an unusually dramatic theme: 'What's broken in planning?' It was as much fun as the theme suggested.

Leaders agonised as they weighed their own conviction in the value of the discipline, and their place in the hierarchy, against the forces deconstructing it. After hours of hand-wringing, a provocative insight from moderator Mark Earls, HERDmeister and former planner, broke the tension. He proposed that planning evolved in incredibly specific circumstances: a few agencies in 1960s London questioning whether packaged goods companies' market research really understood consumers, and proposing an alternative. Why treat something as guaranteed or permanent when it only existed due to a Goldilocks set of conditions?