I still get this question a lot and I guess its hard to grasp however you explain it. Not that we are rocket scientist, it just tends to be abstract.
Anyway, here follows a short attempt to describe my planning contribution into a typical process I participate in.
- I challenge and revise business problems, briefs or coming challenges by putting them into a more meaningful context seen from a market or target group perspective. This includes setting a clear objective.
- I describe the new revised problem as simple as I possibly can. But also, equally important, I start building the inspiration set up. If I fail this is usually where, because it is very difficult. Planners must be storytellers in order to give everyone else in the group that is set out to solve the problem as much inspiration and motivation as possible.
- I then follow up new questions that pop up from myself or other group members. I work parallel to the others, also trying to contribute with my ideas to solve the problem. This includes revising the problem definition or strategy.
- When different solutions turn up I revise them and compare them to the problem definition. Trying to add to ideas or argue for why they won’t work. This, in my case is very much a group discussion. I know other planners who handle this in different ways.
- When we have an idea that we believe in I help sell it to the founder of the project, most often the client.
- I would then like to play a bigger role in execution of the idea but I don’t. I think planners have knowledge of some parts of the execution that could make the difference but it is in my experience still seen as the handicraft of the creators.
- When execution is launched I make sure the objective set up in step 1 is being measured in some way so that I can follow up what we do.