good for lots of things

post its

The second Good For Nothing weekend feels like a long time ago now. I posted something simple immediately afterward because I had a great time again. But I couldn't figure out what I might want to say in more detail that I hadn't already said before.

Having hooked up again with a smaller GFN team recently, I think I've figured it out now. And it's to do with the potential applications of the Good For Nothing model.

If you don't already know, Good For Nothing works with a lean, agile process, or "that bit in the A-team, combined with The Apprentice without the wankers" as I can hear Tom, Dan and Tom saying. And the briefs are centred on small charities or social enterprises: organisations that could never hope to afford that pool of talent any other way.

But, to me at least, it feels worth seeing how that value might be applied outside of this setting. Considering the amount of stuff we put live, prototype and plan in a Good For Nothing weekend, it seems like there might beat least two possibilities:

One: to disrupt old, rigid businesses. I could see a situation where a Good For Nothing type of team embeds itself into a business for a week. So far, the point has been to support organisations crying out for this sort of impetus. I imagine it always will be the point of Good For Nothing, and rightly so. But how would a bigger, more structured entity react to this much great input? I bet it would be destabilised by the sheer amount of stuff produced so quickly, and so on brand at that. It would have to seriously question its processes and policies if you can generate so much stuff so well without them. How do you approach sign-off or brand guardianship in that kind of an environment?

Two: to disrupt agency models. There are some great agile, lean agencies out there, and there are some that merely dress themselves in that clothing. But there are many more that just don't get it. And in a time when many brands are becoming as knowledgeable as their agencies, perhaps even having and/or executing the ideas themselves, maybe there is a service to be developed by some shops or collectives whereby all manner of talent is thrown at a business problem very quickly. By its pacy nature Good For Nothing most often produces prototypes or hacky workarounds, but I bet that, given a working week rather than a weekend, a lot of those would become much more polished, second iteration products or services. Imagine an agency coming in to fix your problem in five days or less? How do you work out the value of that?

So…I'm looking forward to the next one in six months' time. I'm looking forward to helping out some more deserving organisations, and hopefully seeing some new and more familiar faces. But I'm especially looking forward to seeing what, how, and where I can learn even more from the Good For Nothing model. 

You should really come along to the next one too.


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