Do not follow the leader! Unless you have really given it some thought, that is.

Last week, I went so see Star Wars – and I though it was absolutely great. I thought the characters were great, love the machinery and the scenery – good job they got rid of Georg Lucas! There we go, geek confession over with, it’s out there now.

But you know, it did get me thinking…

Just a couple of years ago, if you were contemplating filming a blockbuster in Hollywood, a considerable part of the budget would be blown on super-expensive CGI sequences – EVERYBODY was doing this. It reached a point where it became simply absurd, with films looking like overblown computer games. Peter Jackson fell foul of this in the Hobbit films, for instance, that as a result feel very different from the Lord of the Rings films, that had much less CGI in them.

Now we seem to have gone full circle and people are starting to (re)discover the value of using dressed up actors, more manual effects and models again. This is certainly the case in the new installment of Star Wars, with the chess set in the Millennium Falcon in The Force Awakens, for instance, using the same animation techniques used in the original back in the seventies.

Errrr… what on earth is Mark on about?! you wonder – and well you may. Let me explain.

All this reminded me of how, fifteen years ago, all manufacturers seemed to be falling over each other in their haste to move East.

If you were clued up, or at least so it was suggested, you were either out-sourcing or relocating your production to some far Eastern country – and if not, you were smiled down upon condescendingly, after all EVERYBODY was doing it. Today, the picture is less clear. Far Eastern production, it turned out, can come with considerable hidden costs and can pose complex quality assurance problems, to name but two issues. Companies who chose not follow the herd on their gold rush east, who continued producing the way they alway have – despite what everybody else said – come out of this looking rather clever.

My point is this: just because EVERYBODY says something, this does not yet make it correct, true and/ or a good idea. This is as true of manufacturing PPE, filming a Hollywood blockbuster or politics, as it is of sketchy techniques presented on Youtube or other social media platforms – and so the list goes on.

Take a step back, take a deep breath – and develop you own, independent position based upon facts that you can back up with fact, not merely hearsay.

So go on, give it some depth…