Crowd Building: 2020 Media Future @ OCAD

Thanks to Walter Derzko for inviting me to join yesterday’s 2020 Media Futures Workshop at the s-Lab (Strategic Innovation Lab) at OCADSuzanne Stein and Greg Van Alstyne did a great job of moderating and facilitating a fairly free wheeling group of thinkers.

It looks like I was the only one using twitter during the workshop or maybe I had the wrong tag? Here are a few thoughts that emerged that could each be turned into a blog post:

  • We think about discontinuity as a threat but the new global success stories will have discontinuity at the heart of a new approach.  Are the incremental gains achieved through “baby steps” and the “go slow”, “fast follower” practices of Canadian business enough to maintain Canada’s position in the world moving forward?  At the moment many are quick to heap praise on the stability of our financial sector.  I remember a few observers noting that growth in Nova Scotia was not effected by the global downturn.  Hmmm. When achieving global success requires embracing discontinuity, what design approaches should we advocate and adopt?
  • How do digital connections qualify/disqualify people for precious face to face time?  Many of us have now experienced the little thrill of having connected with someone online via twitter or a blog exchange and then met them in real life.  As we become more connected, how will the productivity of our face to face time be impacted.  Is it a sign of disrespect if you have not bothered to “google” someone before attending a scheduled meeting with them?
  • Does copyright transform into “identity right”?  Copyright was established to protect the investment and intellectual property of creators for a reasonable time period.  Online is “busting through to reality” (pick up Jesse Schell’s talk on the Future of Gaming at the 10:56mark).  Is the final produced piece of art or software code the point where we need these protections?  When our life stream is “sensed” and iterative design is key to progress, do we need an entirely different set of rights to ensure that individuals have the ability to profit from the digital footprints that they cast off or in other words, how they direct their lives?
  • We must integrate consumers into design & production.  This generalizes to “crowd sourcing” or making sure that we make corporate decisions, not based upon the smartest person sitting at the table at that moment, but based upon having the smartest thinking anywhere available at the table for the moment of the decision.  It is the kind of motive behind the idea for a Seedling Prediction Market that initially drew me into MDes’ (i.e. Masters of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation) orbit. This is not really a question for 2020.  I think it is a question that we need to be answering right now to maintain Ontario/Canada’s position in the world.
  • So some “Crowd Building” related design thinking …
  • MIT Tech TV

2 Responses to “Crowd Building: 2020 Media Future @ OCAD”

  1. Andy Strote Says:

    A couple of quick comments:
    Bullet 1 tends to contradict bullet 4. Discontinuity really means coming up with something new. New things are not invented by crowds. Apple is the best example of this. They don’t ask people what they want. They don’t do focus groups. They re-invent whole categories of business. They do it very secretively, they own the whole process and product.

    I also find crowd-sourcing exploitive if it becomes a business model. When you say it’s “based upon having the smartest thinking available anywhere available at the table for the moment of the decision” who’s to say that such a person would be at the table offering their wisdom or input free of charge? I find that at best, crowd-sourcing is people telling corporations how to customize an existing product for their immediate desires. Starbucks comes to mind. But most people do not have the time, nor are they as altruistic as to make major contributions to something they have no ownership in. Now, community-based projects are a whole different thing.

  2. Michael Cayley Says:

    Thanks Andy! It is good to know that someone is still reading this gunk.

    Mozilla with Firefox browser, Red Hat (with their huge IPO) and Linux are all cases where business models are new and do not exploit the crowd. Facebook delivers value while each of its 400 million users maintains its content and helps grow the size of its digital footprint, its database and expand to new members. They need to be careful of the balance of give and take! In some cases the value add by the “crowd” is financially free and in others it is not.

    I don’t think that I suggested that the contribution of the “crowd” should be free. That is frequently the expectation of advertising campaign like approaches to social media that so often fail.

    I think that a relationship will go into atrophy unless it delivers value to ALL of the players involved (new resources: financial, recognition, new connections or insight, knowledge, information, etc as outlined as extrinsic and intrinsic elements of social capital in the ebook.) You gots to share with Sugar Bear!

    There is no doubt that Steve Jobs is a special case but remember, he is the thinly veiled “Wizard” in the Social Capital Value Add metaphor.

    Readers may want to check out pages 18 to 25 in the ebook or this post:

    Apple can take big risks because it enjoys crowd sourced loyalty. That is also the cornerstone of its huge margins.

    What kind of upfront investment in movies do you think we would get if we knew that every one that was released would be guaranteed revenues of more than $150-million?

    A lot more Avatars and a lot less Snakes on a Plane.

    By the way, the Seedling Prediction Market model that I have proposed would enable traders (the crowd) to profit (or lose) depending on their investments and, unlike the typical VC model where seed stage start ups walk into “look see” meetings and give up all of their innovative thinking in a 20 minute “pitch”, the owners of innovation rather than capital would be in the drivers seat regarding how and what needs to be communicated to the market to advance the interests of the company.

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