Fail faster, fail harder. We all know how important a culture of experimentation is to business now. And how difficult it is to be certain of anything in a rapidly changing environment where the old rules no longer apply. And how important less tangible assets, like intuition, become when you're trying things for the first time and the variables are such that it is impossible to know with accuracy how that will turn out.
I'd been thinking about this as being a form of 'looseness', but I now have a better way of framing this thanks to a conversation I had yesterday. True innovation can be uncomfortable. Challenging norms can be tough. Unpredictability can be difficult to live with. But the unpredictable can bring the transformational. And the exceptional is increasingly the only game in town. We have to get more used to the chaos that the exceptional brings.
Four quotes from things I've read in the last 24 hours that I think quite neatly sum up the required redefinition of both media and advertising:
"The tsk-tskers treat the web as if it is a media property and they judge it by its worst: Look what that nasty web is doing to our civilization! But, of-course, that's as silly as judging publishing by the worst of what is published. It's even more wrong because the internet is not media - no matter how much media people insist on seeing the web in their image. Instead it is, as Doc Searles points out, a place where we talk"
"In an interconnected world, media is everywhere: it’s the stuff that plugs consumption and production together. The opportunities for value creation are greater than ever before - but we must expand our vision of what media is to begin realizing them."
"The public works tirelessly to flee to actual interactions between real people, and our organisations work even more diligently (and with more leverage) to corporatize and anonymize the interactions. The irony, of-course, is that an organisation with guts can go in the opposite direction and win."
"Advertising could be made much better if it tried to please its audience, instead of treating them like victims who deserve x amount of abuse in return for whatever free site they're getting...the way to approach this problem is probably to start over from scratch: to think what the goal of advertising is, and ask how to do that using the new ingredients technology gives us."
In order to acheive different results you have to do something different. Fundamental change cannot happen without redefining what you think you know. The balance has tipped. Media and advertising which is human, personal, and social is the future.
Two new chickens have arrived at Dead Fish HQ. Lucy, who is a Maran hen:
...and Charlie (short for Charlotte), who is a hybrid (and a little camera shy):
And somehow we managed to come back from the chicken man with another youngster in tow:
We asked my five year old daughter what we should call him. She said "Chris". Thankfully her second suggestion was "Alfie", which somehow seems much more appropriate, so Alfie it is.
We seem to rapidly be developing somewhat of a menagerie.
So, I'm back after a blustery, rain swept but fun couple of weeks. Whilst I was away, I happened to read a great little story that featured in this article about why some complex systems perform better without human intervention:
"Back in 1992, General Motors were having trouble managing the automated painting of trucks at an assembly plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Machines in 10 different paint booths could paint trucks as they came off the line, but because the trucks came off in an unpredictable order and the painting machines needed sporadic maintenance and repair, finding an efficient assignment of trucks to booths seemed impossible.
General Motors' visionary engineer Dick Morley suggested letting the painting machines find a schedule themselves. He set out some simple rules by which the various machines would 'bid' for newly available paint jobs, trying their best to stay busy while taking account of the need for maintenance and so on. The results were remarkable, if a little wierd. The system saved General Motors $1million each year in paint alone. Yet the line ran to a schedule that no-one could predict, made up on the fly by the machines themselves as they responded to emerging needs."
Even with the great leveller, the great self-organiser that is the internet, we tend toward a desire for hierarchy, regulation, rules, control. But whilst the behaviour of individuals may be more predictable, the collective patterns that arise from it are often not. Sometimes it's just better to let complex systems find their own solutions.