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How Do It Day gave me a stark reminder about all the good creative thinking can do

By Martin Flemming | Guest Columnist

November 25, 2016 | 4 min read

Martin Fleming, copywriter at Rapp UK and participant at Do It Day, humbly admits he was wrong in thinking the event would be a day of “altruistic chest-beating” by the industry.

Martin Flemming of RAPP

Rapp copywriter, Martin Flemming

Anybody who just witnessed the US election cannot deny the difference a day can make. And Do It Day was an attempt to collectively harness a group of thinkers and doers to work across a variety or real world briefs and solve them in a day. Easy, right?

I was conscripted to be part of the whole Do It Day movement and truthfully, meh. It sounded lofty and idealistic – traits ambitiously trumpeted by our industry, and rarely realised for a variety of reasons. But I went along, lured by the promise of a free breakfast.

I’ll happily admit I was wrong. Not because it wasn’t lofty and idealistic – it was – but because I thought this was a bad thing. I wrongly assumed it was just going to be a day of altruistic chest-beating by an industry seeking atonement for sins against teleshopping. It wasn’t, it was a stark reminder about all the good creative thinking can do.

And as a motley crew of creatives, planners, designers, technologists, account managers, senior digital social native content designers in charge of Twitter or whatever other titles were there, we were all united with a common goal – doing something good.

I worked on the Airbnb brief, where it was looking for a way to encourage hosts to promote local businesses. Other groups were tackling issues with other brands, and there were thorny ones like littering, unemployment, perceptions of refugees – you get the idea. We were taking moonshots at impossible sounding tasks.

While we worked I realised quickly that solving the problem wasn’t the only goal. The point was to strip away the distractions of an office, neglect the dozens of daily meetings, the interruptions, the restrictions, that voice in the back of our heads that tells us that something can’t be done and just start. Start thinking, start wrapping our heads around it, start focusing our energy into a specific challenge. I’m sure we’ve all thought at some point, “I’d get so much done if I didn’t have all these distractions”. We all stopped listening to the voice that said “you can’t do it” and just got on with it.

As an added bonus, the ideas were exceptional. I’m not saying this because I feel obligated or because I liked mine or because this is in the magazine that sponsors it. Rather because I genuinely think they were well thought out, well reasoned and have great potential. A lot of these ideas might never materialise, but who cares? We started. And starting something is the first step to finishing something.

This article was originally published in The Drum magazine.

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