Here is an article about the role of research in creative development.
As we know (and as this article illustrates) agencies don’t always embrace research because they believe research “tells them what to do” and inhibits creativity.
Indeed, that may be what bad research does. It may be what poorly applied research does. But good research should serve as inspiration, not limitation. Good research can provide a palette from which creatives can be truly creative.
A metaphor we’ve come to like is that of a musical score. James played the trumpet for about six years. Give him a piece of sheet music and he could hit all the notes just fine. But now give the same music to a great trumpeter like Winton Marsalis. He will hit the same notes James hit, but the song will sound completely different and infinitely better. Good research provides the “notes” that need to be hit – but there is still tremendous room for creativity and genius in how those notes are brought to life.