So decided to actually take a lunch break and stroll around town for an hour.
I find it funny that certain London strategy departments believe this is actually 'a thing'. Going out and mixing with people rather than sitting at your desk.
It's not that you notice anything ground-breakingly new, it's just that when you loiter around people going through their day more, you develop a sixth sense for how they feel about stuff.
I totally believe in reading and experiencing as much diverse stimulus as you can, when you connect two unrelated things together, amazing ideas can happen. It's true.
But I great skill of planner types is to admire their audience, get to grips with what matters in their lives.
Today I saw that most of the people coming out of Harvey Nichols has massive logos on their t-shirts, I bet most of their buyers are not half as well to do as they would like them to believe. Just as most luxury brands make most of their money from lots of people that save up (or run up credit) for one or two of their products, rather than the people who can actually afford it whenever they want.
I saw a bunch of cyclists outside a cafe drinking espresso and wondered why, with cycling generally on the rise, with coffee so ingrained in that sub-culture why coffee brands don't make more of it.
I saw children going shopping with parents (it's the summer holidays) and missed my own kids. I also wondered if retailers and food retailers make enough of the magic of going on a trip with your parents getting to touch and choose for yourself, rather than the lack of emotion you get from a few clicks. I remembered going shopping with my Mum in the same streets over 30 years ago and meeting my Dad on his lunch break, how special it was to have both of them to myself. Not to mention the pride and wonder of him letting me go into his office and sitting at his desk.
I saw a 20 something daughter out in town with her Mum and wondered what my kids will be like in 15 years or so, will they want to go shopping with us?
And I bought a pasty from Greggs.
People who have studied such things have discovered that cities make us more creative and drive innovation and ideas.
For agency types, I wonder if really exploring a city, rather than floating around Clerkenwell, The Meat Packing District or The Northern Quarter keeps us human.