I've always believed that if you want a person (or a big company) to make a change, you have to help them see the pathway to that change and feel safe making steps in that direction. For this current big project our strateg1st sees it differently. Let's call him Micromanaging Miscommunicator. (MM) thinks that if the client said 'Go Big', we need to leave them no safety net, no stepping stones, just a huge new vision. This client is in a super trendy industry where every booth at the big show has a huge screen, lots of noise, lots of action and our solution is to create an 'anti-booth': no big scre3n, no more pr1vate meet1ng rooms, no waiting l1nes to get into a small room for an exclusive viewing of the upcoming fun & gam3s. At heart, our client is surprisingly conservative so my gut tells me they won't make a big jump without something to help them get there. However, the client asked that this all be driven by strat3gy and (MM) has taken it as his prerogative to be The Decider.
(We've taken this up the chain to our General Manag3r and she's said that (MM) gets to decide. All power to the dude.)
He's stepped into the role of the creat1ve d1rector even though he uses words VERY differently than a designer would. For example, he kept telling all of us that he wanted a 'dirty, messy, hairball'. For us, that evokes rough materials (burlap?), make it look like an outdoor park, evoke the opposite of everything else at this show. Well, after over a week of us sketching our little hearts out and being told we're not getting it, someone showed him images of some exper1ences they were proposing for the bo0th. He saw a b0oth that had glowing green curving shapes, none the same as any of the others: sleek, shiny, organic in form but very modern in execution and he said, "See! Now that's dirty". I had to interject, "Could you help me understand what's dirty about that?" "The fact that there are no 90 degree corners. I love that."
Ah. No wonder we couldn't hit it. One of our thr3e-D guys went away and came back with a very sleek, shiny design and (MM) loved it. The des1gner gleefully calls it his 'd1rty' design every chance he can. I tease him, "You mean your sleek, modern, organic des1gn?" "Oh no, it's d1rty!
Stop using words that make sense." It's a sexy rendering, but I have a feeling the client is going to FREAK out when they see it.
I've registered my protests, but since we've been told it's (MM)'s decision, on his head be it.
I hope I'm wrong and he's right. I love these clients and I'm SO uncomfortable that we're only giving them our one big idea and not giving them anything interim to get them toward the b1g picture. If this works it'll be a lesson for me about what going b1g looks (and feels) like. It's not very comfortable at all.