Sunday, August 5, 2007

Debriefing – the U.S. military does it, why not design?

Debriefing as defined by Wikipedia is a one-time, semi-structured conversation with an individual who has just experienced a stressful or traumatic event. In most cases, the purpose of debriefing is to reduce any possibility of psychological harm by informing people about their experience or allowing them to talk about it.

What can Design and Marketing Learn from The Military?
OK. It’s obvious how that relates to the military but how can we as marketers use debriefing? Although most marketing campaigns and some work environments can certainly seem stressful and traumatic and after a long 9-5 workday, psychological harm is often reduced by telling our spouse about our rough day. Does debriefing really have a place anywhere else outside of the diner table?

With ROI on the tip of everyone’s mind and accountability at an all time high, debriefing needs to become standard practice at work not just at the diner table the over lunch with coworkers.
A debriefing evaluation needs to be a part of the design process. Design and Marketing is not a pass-fail event, we need to learn from success and failure. The military has know this for years and it’s time agencies and design firms stepped up and followed the same system.

We've Got to Work Together for Improved Results
Debriefing is nothing more than evaluating and testing our creative and the results generated. The secret to any successful marketing effort is test, test, test. If we keep switching agencies and chief marketing officers we create an environment where everyone becomes afraid of making a mistake much less learning from our mistakes and improving. Creativity and success thrives in a culture where mistakes are not seen as a bad thing but as an opportunity to learn and grow.

In order for a debriefing environment to work agencies need to partner with clients and clients need to work cooperatively and creatively with their agencies. Both the client and the agency needs to accept responsibility for improvement and continuous learning.

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