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Does it make the boat go faster? (Not just a question for the Ocean Race 2023 teams)

by | Jan 12, 2023

Creative strategy often leaves people a bit overwhelmed and jargoned-out – but in the world of fast boats, it often all comes down to one thing. Here’s how the mantra of a late, great yachting legend could help you, too.

It’s that time of year when thoughts turn to planning and hatching and scheming plans for what’s to come next. But the word ‘strategy’ has the power to intimidate and confuse even seasoned creatives.

Here at Now Go Create, we work with individuals and teams to help them understand and devise strategy. And we use established concepts and frameworks to help you get to where you need to be.

Einstein famously said: “Make everything as a simple as possible, but no simpler.”

With the 2023 Ocean Race kicking off this month, we were reminded of the late Sir Peter Blake‘s philosophy. He headed up the New Zealand America’s Cup yachting team in 1995 at a time when the US dominated the sport. He had a clear vision and a simple mantra that drove the team to victory.

Whatever they were doing, his one question for every member of the crew was:

“Does it make the boat go faster?”

If the answer was no, then the activity was abandoned.

A race-winning approach

That single-minded focus directed from Blake – who was tragically killed in 2001 after being attacked by pirates in Brazil – is credited for the team winning the race. He didn’t have just the one victory under his belt, by the way. He once won the Whitbread Round The World Race and also bagged the Jules Verne Trophy (handed out for the fastest circumnavigation of the world) in 1994.

So if you want to know how to develop creative strategy, think about honouring Blake’s legacy and ask “will it make the boat go faster?” In other words, start with the essence of the problem. Learning how to do that is a key skill to develop.

If you’d like help with your planning over the next few months, give us a shout. We can work with you and facilitate a strategy workshop or creative strategy session with your group to help you make your boat go faster. Contact claire@nowgocreate.co.uk

See some of our favourite creative strategy frameworks in the next post, and here. And don’t forget to take a look at our Ask Me Anything with Now Go Create strategy maven Anahita.


Ready to dive in and become a Strategy Ninja? Learn how to unravel a brief, tackle the blank page and develop a robust argument here.