In the decade and a half that I have been working as a corporate man, I have come to realize several things:
1. One has to know the rules by heart - whether they are rules for setting media weights, for conducting statistical tests, for creating statistical models, for running research.
2. At the same time, one has to know when those rules can be bent, circumvented, pushed to the limit, or even broken.
Knowing the rules is easy - one just has to open a textbook on media planning and advertising, or attend seminars on the latest research techniques, or recall one's college stats classes. (Or use Wikipedia!)
Knowing when to bend, to push, to break the rules? That's an entirely different thing. And that is the more difficult thing. It takes experience, wisdom, and courage.
Why would you want to break the rules in the first place?
Because, as Seth Godin writes:
Going with the flow is a euphemism for failing.
[Just to be clear: I don't have anything against rules. Going by the rulebook is good - to a certain point. Remember point (1) above: Know the rules by heart. You have to study the rules and know them. So you know when and how you can break them.]
Photo from Liber at Flickr.Com