I had a budget. And working at Google, it was a solid one.

I had a brief. Tight and focused, even after the inevitable days worth of comments to make it more sprawling and less single-minded.

I even had an idea of what the campaign might look like, and what the end line could be.

So what next? Well, according to “the right way to do things here”, I was to go sit down to our agency of record, and get them to respond to the brief. But, what if I already had a good idea of what I wanted it to be?

“Can’t the agency do it? We have them on retainer, they do all our creative development and production, they’re our main partner.”

OK. So off I went.

A flurry of emails and one week later, we sat down to talk through the project and share the brief. And another few days after that, they came back, as all big agencies do, with a time plan and a big number.

“8 weeks, and $400k, and we’ll deliver the creative idea. We’ll have a series of check-ins along the way.”

Of course I wasn’t shocked. I’ve worked with agencies like this for years, and before I worked *with* them, I worked *for* them.

But this time it felt different.

I’d spent the previous 2 years inside Google’s Creative Lab — a team of “interdisciplinary thinkers and doers” that have a bias towards action. And during that time, I’d also had the opportunity to work with the team inside Google that had developed the Design Sprint — a 5 day process that Google use to solve problems when building their products.

So the idea of passing a brief across, being divorced from the process, and then spending 8 weeks and the best part of half a million dollars to get a campaign didn’t sit right (especially when we’d solved such a huge chunk of the thinking already).

So I decided to take a different approach. To approach it like a Design Sprint. To get the right people in the room, and move quickly.

I grabbed a copywriter, creative director and filmmaker that I’d worked with previously. And in 3 days, we worked together to write a script and make a early prototype of a launch film.

This film became our de facto campaign. We had a (admittedly rough) film that we could share with stakeholders internally and get buy in across the organisation. And we could also use this to test the approach with potential users.

It worked. Everyone loved the film, and it snowballed from there — we took the core of the idea, and wrote another five scripts, highlighting different features of the product that we knew would resonate from our research.

Testing with real users, after just a week, meant we could see immediately whether this was something that would work or not, and after only spending a few thousand dollars. They told us, in no uncertain terms, that it did.

Then when we had a robust campaign we loved, we took it to a preferred production partner, and produced an entire campaign.

Over the next few years at Google I carried on working like this — bringing small teams of like-minded people together, and working directly with key decision makers under accelerated timelines. And the process worked.

After spending time talking with friends in the industry, both in agencies at at other brands, it seemed like I wasn’t the only one feeling this pain, the problems were consistent, and the approach could work for everyone.

So that’s why this site is here. After almost 7 years inside Google, I decided to leave, set up Quickhatch, and help other brands and startups build better ideas, faster.