The whole advertising industry is embracing Big Data. It’s the new black of marketing. I’m a big fan of testing and optimization. We finally have readily available data in real-time – how can you not incorporate Big Data into your working practices and developing a culture around test and learn? The real success stories in Silicon Valley and on Madison Avenue are exactly doing that. And any advertising agency worth their salt has to follow that path.

There’s one thing optimization can’t do.

Coming up with a radical, game-changing solution to a problem. An idea that is entirely different from any which is currently in play. A disruptive innovation.

To develop this disruptive idea, you need a vision. Testing won’t ever come up with disruptive ideas. Focus groups definitely not. Surveys? Please.

When you need disruptive innovation, you can’t rely on science. You need to rely on art, embracing a bit of chaos. It’s not either science or art. Agile, organizational cultures needn’t preclude discordant ideas. In fact they should thrive on them. The companies that will flourish are those that encourage divergent, not convergent thinking around a powerful vision, and then test and learn as (and not before) they build and execute it.