I was watching an episode of The Planning Salon yesterday with Julian Cole interviewing Jon Steel and the question came up about Jon’s liberal policy toward vacation. His response was brilliant. He said, and I paraphrase, when I give a planner an assignment and that planner has worked 48 weeks of the year, compared with someone who has burned through 51 weeks, I know they’ll be better rested, less stressed and more energized. Moreover, in those 4 weeks off, because they are planners, they will have done some wonderful things with their free time – things that make them better thinkers. Better observers of humanity.
Planners with their heads in research tomes, or behind the office windows 24/7 are not the refreshed observers that are planners who get out and breathe a little community air. Stim is what makes great planners crave.
Mr. Steel also referred to Google Planners, dinging desktop planners who scour the web for insights and data but rarely leave the office. Don’t get me wrong, the web provides great stim (Google my posts on “Posters versus Pasters” for a neat trick) but the web is not the last mile – or even last ten miles. Those can be found in situ. Mining for insights is best done through interaction, observation and discussion. Mixed in with a little think time, art, science and, as Faris Yakob might say, recombinant engineering.