In these days of fast moving business change some organisations have looked to the past to provide some stability. Think of BMW introducing a revival of the classic Mini, Fiat with the 500, Nokia with the 3310 and the return of Big Brother. Some products are such classics that they never go away – Levis 501, standard Lego bricks, Heinz baked beans, Coke Cola and of course the Burberry Coat.
Why do we always look to change things? Are some items just so right and fit for purpose that they don’t need change?
I was chatting about this with Laura Mills at JLR and she came up with the genius concept of Classic Reporting. Why don’t we look back through our archives to find those classic sales reports from April 1993 when we beat all targets in all markets? Why don’t we re-issue those reports in retro reporting style? You know the thing, printed on a dot matrix line printer on sprocket paper with tonal horizontal lines on. We could even bring people back in from retirement to run through these reports, share their memories and reminisce about the struggles we had with data, technology and real understanding what on earth was going on.
It is not that long ago that many companies were still having to use typex to alter numbers on a report that weren’t correct, armies of people stood around waiting for large bundles of paper to go into report folders and then be analysed by managers with desktop calculators and the results hand drawn onto a chart on the wall. It all sounds very farfetched to the millennials entering the work place now but it was fun in those days.
However these were simple days and some of these reports were classics of their time. Sometimes just the simple – how many did we sell? report or how much money did we make? spreadsheet is all you need. I was taught – “cash is king” and “budget well and stick to the budget”. These simple rules and reports served me well and enabled me to focus on the important thing of making better products for my customers.
Laura and I have enjoyed expanding the “Retro Reportin’ “ concept – I have said she can have a nice bottle of wine if this article gets 100 likes! Beyond the joke though is a serious point – what is worth keeping and what needs to move with the times? In graphic design there is a saying – “less is more”. Is it time to look at this for our reporting?
If any of you have a classic report you would like to share we would love to hear from you.