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25/02/2006

PR needs to invest in playtime

PR departments and agencies need to set aside some playtime to explore the possibilities and opportunities of new media - or they risk being left behind.

PR departments and agencies can be frenetic places - sometimes too frenetic. Maybe need to take a leaf out of the Google book - namely allocating part of people's time to personal projects. Same principle as the fifteen-percenters at 3M, an approach that company has used successfully to consistently deliver innovations for decades now.

Never has it been more important that today, with huge disruptions in the media and marketing communications industries. Without building in some slack for exploring new ideas, playing with new tools, the incredible opportunities for learning and innovating in our industry will pass us by.

It's counter-intuitive for a lot of people in this industry to stop with the busy-work and insist on some time for playing with the new tools. But if you don't, you will start to be left behind.

There are always a lot of excuses to hand for not investing time in non-structured experimentation and personal development. To people who use them I would ask them where their R&D is, where the your product / service development planning and pipeline is. If you don't have one are you truly serious about your business, indeed your industry, as a long term play?

An example? I started thinking about this post when Drew B pointed to this brilliant set of ideas from Kevin Dugan for using photo-sharing folksonomy Flickr to help with PR work.

Genius.

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Comments

I agree with this 100%; however, the play has to have some structure. I really like the 15% idea, that works out to about 1.5 hours a day. I admit, I spend a little more than that (about 2 hours).

New tools and social media are very fun but they cab also become a time suck. As the owner of a small agency, I am contantly aware of this.

I thnk you'e right about structure: you need discipline to get this right.

Personally I think 15% is a lot of time - but even if you just looked at 5% - one would be looking at taking approximately one day out of the working month to focus on projects to innovate and create new services for clients.

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