The key point in any revolution is the moment where you realise it has all fallen apart. Where the status quo has broken down. Where there is no one right way to do anything - and, for a short while, chaos rules.
In this moment you will see the old way hung, drawn and quartered. You will see confusion. You will witness open clashes between an old world and a new world. And you will see new, unexpected heroes emerge from the ashes.
A while back we all understood the rules. In an analogue format there was to be a sweetly art-directed pun of some sort with the most edited version of an explanation possible placed in the bottom right hand corner of the layout.
We would applaud as it ran in a few magazines and we would applaud louder as we awarded this strenuous craft with our trophies and pencils.
A year later, we wouldn't applaud. We would roll our eyes, cynically scratch our nuts and mutter: 'Yep, been done before mate,' as around 20 losers would enter copies of this gag in various guises around the world into the same awards.
Annuals were the language of this world and the lazy would reach for them late in the day or when deadlines loomed. Poor creative directors and weak judges of character would award what felt right against the year before and, before we knew it, we had started a game of sorts. Where chance, originality and the fearless were being frowned out of the game by mediocrity.
It wasn't always this way.
David Bailey, Terence Donovan and Alan Fletcher started D&AD in 1962. Three of the coolest, most renegade creatives on earth, their mission at the time was to raise the standards of our industry; to show the world what those at the edge were creating. While they might have been appalled (or bored shitless) at the ten years or so where our industry fell asleep, I reckon they'd love it now.
A blur, hello boys, some black and white surfers, a gorilla playing the drums, some burgers that helped you lose friends and a cool sportswear asbo (sorry, asbo +) that guilt-trips you into exercising - and where are we?
The revolution. The melting pot.
The melting pot is dirty, fast, brutal and it is beautiful. It is creating things way beyond crap 30-second soap-powder ads, and it is unrelenting in its speed and progression. It has never cultivated so many disciplines. Never involved so much talent. Never before has our canvas been so broad. Our toolbox so deep.
But what does success look like in this new world? What are we holding up as best-in-class? And how are we all fostering the right sort of talent to create what this world is asking for?
Some have talked about 'the age of non-fiction'. Have said that brands are laid bare for all to see. That we are engineers, inventors and technologists able to create things of genuine use, and should be answering our clients' needs in tangible, incredible ways.
But the world still loves a good story.
As an agency, it can feel like an incredible pressure to find a true North in this sea of opportunity. And with so much out there that's good, what way should we all be heading?
Useful or moving?
Engaging or effective?
Immersive or provocative?
Social? Service? Mobile? Tangible?
The best ideas in this new world all still have one thing in common however.
They are discussed. Talked about. Shared.
They do more than get noticed: they play their part in popular culture.
The definition of popular culture is 'contemporary lifestyle and items; cultural patterns that are not only accepted but widespread within a population'.
It's infinitely more exciting to think about being the creators of cultural patterns than it is to be the company trying to find a new way to sell soap in thirty seconds.
What are cultural patterns?
Angry Birds? The X factor?
Watch the throne? Entourage? The Rich List? Instagram?
And it's a powerful challenge to 'not only be accepted but widespread within a population.'
Forget writing 'virals': think about how search, social media and blatant public piracy of your idea will prove its brilliance.
Don't worry about effectiveness. By definition if your work actually finds its way into popular culture it will have 'worked'.
But maybe 'popular culture' isn't quite right. That implies that there is one, massive group of people awaiting something they'll all like equally.
'Popular cultures' might be better. After all, different populations get turned on by different things. And the best brands don't actually appeal to everyone, they appeal massively to some people.
Either way, whether we like it or not, we are already in the business of creating or influencing popular culture. We might just be bad at it.
The brands we caretake and the companies we work at all have the opportunity to play their part: we just have to want to.
So what does success look like?
Research will be out of date by the time you've learnt anything.
What worked and won last year is already a floppy disk.
Awards are great, but they're playing catch-up these days.
The things that really make their way into popular culture are new.
They've never been done before.
You might make something like this. You might not.
The only guarantee you have when you're making something new is that you'll have fun doing it.
So play your part in the melting pot. Go for it. And, when your creative technologist has walked out in a strop and the client has had a crisis of confidence, remember what Arthur said back in 1964:
'The only thing we can be sure of is that the future will be absolutely fantastic.'