The Importance Of Fluid Intelligence

Gathering all the stakeholders to generate ideas and create business plans

As Mike Tyson said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.In this opinion piece, Archetype Sydney strategy director Nigel Malone explains why fluid intelligence can help when things go wrong.

Technically, I was a mistake. The unexpected, latecomer son of a Senior Lecturer in Engineering and much younger brother to two geeks following in their father’s footsteps. When other kids were kicking balls against the wall, I was helping my brothers with science and engineering projects in Dad’s workshop. When other kids were being put to bed, our family would be watching Super 8 films of man landing on the moon on a big projector screen in the backyard.

I remember a few close calls from those days in Dad’s workshop. Almost hacksawing my brother’s finger off. Unsuccessfully testing fireworks made from fertiliser. Underestimating the lift of our homemade hovercraft and nearly taking out my other brother’s eye. From a very early age I was instilled with the notion that anything was possible. All that you needed was a plan, and a preparedness to fail any number of times along the way.

For some, failure represents a dead-end street. For my brothers and I, it was an opportunity to think creatively, to see who could figure out a smarter alternative first, or at the very least an acceptable workaround, that would allow us to keep moving forward with our project. It was only many years later, when I took on an educational psychologist as client, that I realised I had been training my brain to be a strategist from a very early age.

As it turns out there are two types of intelligence. The first is crystallised intelligence, like the stuff we’ve been taught to remember at school… important dates in history, math formulas, the names of Prime Ministers, and so on. Then there’s fluid intelligence, the ability to solve problems creatively, based purely on the information available.

‘Strategy’ as I’ve always seen it, is simply ‘a plan to win’. The two operative words being ‘win’ and ‘plan’. By ‘win’, I mean you must have a clear picture of your goal. By ‘plan’ I mean the roadmap to get there. The plan begins with gaining crystallised intelligence, the research and discovery required to gain an intimate knowledge of the landscape in which you are operating.

But as the infamous boxer Mike Tyson said, ‘everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth’. This is where fluid intelligence comes in especially handy. The ability to think creatively, let go of everything you know, and adapt. The best strategists think like this from the outset.

Many agencies have ‘their own’ strategic frameworks that they put all their clients through. They see it as their IP and why clients come to them. The reality is often quite different. It can often, not always, become a cookie-cutter approach where old Powerpoint presentations and ideas get recycled over and over again. Think like a herd. End up as steak.

I favour the toolbox approach to strategy. No client is the same. No single way to solve a problem. Absorb as many models as possible. Generals, sportspeople, scientists, musicians, artists all have something to teach us about strategy. Become the ultimate hybrid, the Swiss Army knife of strategy. Because becoming be a strategist is less about learning frameworks and following process and much more about opening up the right pathways in the brain.

At the end of the day the best clients are not paying you for your agency’s IP, or your Powerpoint skills. They are paying you for your fluid intelligence. Your ability to think creatively, within a strategic framework, not simply falling back on it.

 




Please login with linkedin to comment

archetype

Latest News

Slew Of New Promotions & Hires As Thrive Announces Melbourne Leadership Team
  • Marketing

Slew Of New Promotions & Hires As Thrive Announces Melbourne Leadership Team

Thrive PR Melbourne has kicked off the year with new appointments, promotions and a new leadership team, marking the delivery of a transformation strategy that’s seen the agency diversify and strengthen its corporate, consumer and integrated digital service offering in Victoria. Lead image:  (L-R) – Sophie Maguire, Melanie Campbell, Nathan McGregor, Zoe Raknes, Erika Rutledge, […]

Leos Appoints Clare Pickens As CEO
  • Advertising

Leos Appoints Clare Pickens As CEO

Reports of Pickens demanding new corner office with wingback chair greatly exaggerated, says Publicis PR team.

Russel Howcroft & Freddie Young Headline AdMission Podcast
  • Advertising

Russel Howcroft & Freddie Young Headline AdMission Podcast

Iconic Australian ad guru Russel Howcroft and industry up-and-comer Freddie Young from Good One Creative have today launched their experimental, no spin advertising podcast, AdMission, in partnership with 9Podcasts. AdMission tells the uncensored stories behind the world’s most talked about brands, ideas, campaigns, advertising news and industry screw ups, as well as offering sharp insight […]

CPR First Aid Study: Weight Loss & Healthy Eating Among Most Googled Personal Goals
  • Marketing

CPR First Aid Study: Weight Loss & Healthy Eating Among Most Googled Personal Goals

According to a new study from CPR First Aid has revealed that Aussies’ most Googled personal goal in the summer is losing weight, new research has found. Their next most researched summer objective is healthy eating, followed by drinking more water. This time of the year, Aussies want to stop snoring and quit smoking more […]

Twilio: Customer Data Platforms Are “Critical Foundation” For AI-Driven Customer Insights
  • Technology

Twilio: Customer Data Platforms Are “Critical Foundation” For AI-Driven Customer Insights

Businesses are integrating customer data platforms with AI and analytics to personalise customer experiences and drive business success, according to a new report from Twilio Segment. Lead image: Kathryn Murphy, SVP of product and design, Twilio. The fifth annual Customer Data Platform Report, which reflects the findings of anonymised usage data from Twilio Segment’s more […]

Word of Mouth Digital Welcomes Six New Brands To Its Growing Portfolio
  • Marketing

Word of Mouth Digital Welcomes Six New Brands To Its Growing Portfolio

Word of Mouth Digital, a Sydney-based full-service digital marketing agency, has announced the addition of six diverse brands to its expanding client portfolio. Lead image: Alex and Tash Williams These new partnerships span various sectors, including pet care, cognitive health, home construction, wellness, and retail, showcasing the agency’s commitment to fostering growth through strategic collaboration […]