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Posts Tagged ‘Creativity

Creators, travelling at the speed of light

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optoCommunications continue to hurtle forward.

At least, we’ve developed the capability to send data at 99.7% the speed of light, flying through previous speed and latency records.

In Digital at the speed of light: Who’s afraid of social media?, Social Media: A universe expanding at an incredible rate, and Social cosmology: Social media is creating its own multiverse, I blogged about how social is propelling us into the future. Social media, like any nascent technology, will have its successes and failures, but criticism sometimes misses the evolution in communication:

Speed.

It’s one big thing (there are others) that’s changed profoundly since the creation of the printing press.

Some criticize speed and new technologies. It’s good to consider where we’re going.

Will technology ever create us?

The way we live has always been impacted by disruptive technologies. Criticism of disruptive technologies is valid in that the pace of technological change is rampant and accelerating so fast that it’s almost impossible to know which tools will dominate in the long-term.

The long-term, the future, becomes the present. Social tools have already had tremendous impact. The future becomes the present faster and faster.

Some platforms will last and evolve even as they stake their claim for superiority, usefulness and usability. Criticizing technological change in communications is like criticizing the printing press. Necessary, but if we could jump hundreds of years into the future, the point might be moot.

The printing press was revolutionary. We know that. Every time I read a book, some kind of unconscious thanks travels from me to the ghost of Gutenburg and the ghosts of the Renaissance.

And men go about to wonder at the heights of the mountains, and the mighty waves of the sea, and the wide sweep of rivers, and the circuit of the ocean, and the revolution of the stars, but themselves they consider not.

— Petrarch

Will a David ever sculpt itself?

We know what the printing press enabled. Tools aren’t what we are as creators. Tools are what enable us to realize our ideas. But the ideas are ours. Michelangelo may have said that his sculptures were imprisoned in marble, but the hammer didn’t pick itself up and begin to do the David on its own.

The printing press was revolutionary. The exchange of information it enabled, equally revolutionary. Education, for the literate, was changed forever. Literacy continues to be of prime importance today. Literacy separated what people could achieve. Often, it still does.

Tools aren’t what we are as creators. Despite how much we sometimes grow to love them. We are still the creators of  ideas and content. Even if we are conduits, as some describe the experience of creation, even if the sculpture is there, imprisoned in marble, we, like Michelangelo, hold and guide the tools. We wield the tools and they enable us to work in different media, in different contexts.

We are the creators. Tools are an extension of us.

Like a paintbrush. Like a hammer. Like a keyboard.

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Written by johnrondina

March 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Social cosmology: Social media is creating its own multiverse

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Social media is creating its own universe.

blahoIf you really think about what’s happening, the social media/enterprise media sphere is crashing into other worlds:

Social media is creating a communications multiverse.

Fear is pervasive regarding social technologies and the empowerment it offers consumers, but companies that are dragging their collective worries, in effect, tying themselves to the gravity of a black hole of fear — should look to thought leaders.

100 of the biggest that do not live in solitude

When it comes to the Fortune 100, social media is alive and well and becoming a multiverse. The 100 were mentioned 10.4 million times in one month.

As the social media universe expands, Twitter has gone from:

  • 50 million tweets per day in 2010, to
  • +140 million tweets per day in 2011, to
  • 340 million tweets per day in March 2012

Looks like Twitter is alive and well and only beginning to explore where it can go.

  • More than 1 billion tweets are sent every three days

Imagine the intellectual capital of that … (For more stats on Twitter, see the below infographic.)

Tools are neither bad nor good

Upon invention, was the printing press bad or good? I recently had the opportunity to look at an old press. It sat there like an objet d’art — a tool that could be loved for what it could facilitate: communication.

SocialMind: Everywhere, further, faster

Some tweets aren’t what you or I may deem important. But some will contain the germ of creativity that will thrust us forward. Ideas. Concepts. High-quality information.

Consider how new Twitter still is and then use your ability to see into the future, to focus on worlds within worlds, on universes merging and acquiring information from each other, sharing and pushing the capabilities of SocialMind deeper and further, exploding the capacity of what information-sharing can bethink.  Think potential.

And there will be more tools.

What the social multiverse will become lives only in the imagination. Perhaps it hasn’t even been imagined yet:

  • 87 per cent of companies are using at least one social media platform
  • 82 per cent of global companies are using Twitter

The average number of Twitter accounts each corporate account is following increased 182% since 2010. Companies that fear the reputational damage that social technologies can create are listening to what the social multiverse is saying.

Thought leaders aren’t shrinking away from social media: They’re embracing it

Why? Because they understand the awesome power of the social multiverse.

  • Each corporate YouTube channel averages 2.02 million views
  • 79 per cent of corporate accounts engage on Twitter
  • Corporate accounts on Twitter and Facebook average more than 10 accounts on each

Companies in Europe are using accounts in mulitple languages to reach out, to inform, to embrace. Europe, by its geopolitical and multilingual construction, already knows there are multiple worlds.

Lead or resign yourself to being a follower

Raising awareness and increasing brand equity is increasingly hard to do — especially if you’re not using the channels that 100 of the greatest companies in the world are using. And if you’re not using these channels:

What does that say about your organization, and, what will your customers think of you?

Will they see you as a thought leader?

Or a follower …

We’re not talking about posting random nonsense in the social media multiverse. We’re talking about sharing and distributing high-quality content. We’re talking about communicating, about reaching out like light particles that travel boldly at break-neck speed.

These particles of light carry messages. When it comes to the quality of messages, the rest is up to us.

Reach your customer, share your intellectual capital in a way that only lived in the realm of science fiction a short while ago.

Fear of social channels will do what fear does. It will distract our attention with end-of-the-world scenarios (think Mayan calendar), but those who know the future has been changed forever are already going social.

Twitter is the most popular social media platform in Latin American. Its user growth tripled in China from Q1 to Q2, 2012 (35.5 million). This isn’t a strictly developed world phenomenon. This is a universe.

A multiverse.

Multiple possible universes, a click, a tap or a keyboard shortcut away

Multiple possible universes of information and of information-sharing, including the history of everything we’ve created, everything we know and have done … Could such tools be coming to a future near you? Twitter’s planning a massive archive available to each user.

Channels. Channels that will reach out into everything that exists and will exist. That’s the potential of social media.

If creation is cosmology, then we will create new cosmologies, new universes.

It’s coming.

When Da Vinci set down his brilliance in his notebooks, did he know that his work would live today? Did he know it would be digital? Did he know he’d be touching the face of an audience …

  • that could send short messages at the speed of light?
  • that could attach all kinds of intellectual property or images and share them in seconds?

Channels and social Galileos: Leaving behind the flat Earth

Channels can be used in mulitple ways. They are tools. What we will develop, share and disrupt with those channels will be a flat Earth that will give way to digital  Galileos finding celestial bodies, spheres. Twitter is simply one example.

Social Galileos will project their ideas and their creativity into the multiverse. Social Galileos will peer into holes in space and find new worlds. We’re already busy compiling archives of tweets that have gone before.

And we’re just peering through the portal.

Feeling gravity’s pull into the great beyond

That is the promise of these technologies: that they will bring the brilliance of our collective imagination to multiple thresholds and portals and push through like light pulled by the gravity of a black hole, bending, but finding spaces to create new worlds.

Because … we are human and we aspire toward and beyond the stars. Because … we want new worlds.

Because the next bold steps for humankind will be in the creation of our cosmologies.

 

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The social multiverse at work?

A friend of mine sent me the following, startled at how similar the beginning of it was to my pieces on the social multiverse. Interesting …

How Twitter Is Reshaping The Future Of Storytelling http://www.fastcoexist.com

Statistics: Burson-Marstellar

TNW.com

Some stats on Twitter courtesy Forbes:

twitsta

If everyone’s thinking the same thing, give me a contrarian

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We need to learn how to listen to the contrarians. The ones who don’t feel it.

They won’t always be right. But they will help challenge beliefs we see as self-evident.

No as affirmation

People who challenge us to challenge our own beliefs are worth their weight in gold.

Sadly, contrarians are often labelled as “difficult” or “disruptive” — just like creative kids in school. They don’t swim with the majority.  This is their strength.

We all have biases.

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

— F. Scott Fitzgerald

It’s largely the contrarians who force you to analyze the greatest dangers to a popular idea, company or product. Part of leadership is having the confidence to listen. Listening is too often the forgotten communication skill.

Whether dialogue begins as scribbled notes on paper or a conversation in a cafe — dialogue is communication. Communication is at the heart of all innovation.

Diverse communication, voices with differing opinions, offers the best framework for generating/evaluating new ideas and alerting an organization to:

  • Illusions of invulnerability
  • A pervasive belief in the moral goodness/rightness of the group or the group’s ideas
  • An often self-imposed inability to think critically

Sometimes no is the no we should’ve said yes to

Rarely is the short-term gain of a less-than-honest tactic effective in the long-term. Flouting best practices can work for awhile, but, ultimately, less-than-best practices will fail.

When the consumer sees what she deems to be corruption, poor customer service, bad labour practices or other corporate failings, she tends to react. She exercises the freedom she has:

Choice.

Maybe not immediately but eventually.

Social media, highly mobile, has amplified the ability to react with great impact.

When a company, product or idea reaches a certain mass, it becomes its own worst enemy. Some stakeholders can become inculcated. Perhaps this is one of the most vital times to challenge biases, beliefs and assumptions.

Momentum carries forward, but eventually reality strikes like the force of gravity. In crisis, leadership may exert more control and listen less. Can success cause a similar phenomenon?

A company, product or idea has hit (or is very close to hitting) its zenith at the point of maximum group think. It’s different this time is the tolling of a bell. The point of critical mass often exerts itself in a mania, and depends on people thinking the same and buying the same products or consuming the same products or beliefs.

Success breeds failure: Failure breeds success

There’s an irony in that success can breed failure.

Often, the ones we should’ve listened to go unheard.

Eventually, you’re expending most of your energy trying to convince consumers that your product or ideas are still the best or the coolest rather than coming up with the products or ideas that truly are the best or the coolest.

Maybe you forget to develop the relationships that fulfill the need that needs fulfilling.

In all creative thinking, the really new looks ugly at first. It’s threatening. And it threatens the adherents of the current popular idea, product or company most.

Do we just want our lives to be easy? Do we resist being pushed to think? None of us think so.

If the majority of people are consuming the same product or idea, are they thinking differently or thinking the same? And what will this lead to?

A complicated question.

Rare is the product or idea that is perpetual. Our digitized world has shrunk space and time. We are accelerating. Even the speed of light no longer seems beyond us.

The challenge of challengers

Challengers are generating ideas, products and services. Forming relationships. They’re innovating. Somewhere amongst those challengers is the next monster product or idea, waiting to be born.

Partnerships create value. Considering biases is part of the value partnerships create.

Think or be out-thought.

We need to continue to listen to those who criticize the present – not because they are difficult, but for the potential to see the unseen, to hear the unheard. We need to listen to those who are looking toward the future rather than fixating on the present, or worse, the past.

Will we?

Killing creativity: Is everyone thinking the same thing?

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What kills creativity?

Group think.

Patton said:

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”

The leaden wings of group think

What is it about human nature that makes us want to be the same?

The first thing we do when a company, product, or idea becomes popular is jump on the bandwagon. Everyone has to have the same product. Some will stand in line. This is, of course, very profitable for any company selling that same product or idea.

Many companies thrive by creating this “need” we didn’t know we “needed”. But often the “need” we didn’t know we “needed” was actually an extension of something we do need everyday. For example, tools for communication.

How often have we reinvented pen and paper? The tools change, but the end result is the ability to create, to communicate.

Success, right? Success can be when the problem starts.

Think about the future!

While we can learn a lot from past successes, we can learn from manias also. Facebook’s IPO is a case in point. (It was valued at 100 times earnings!) It’s easier, in retrospect, to wonder how an IPO is worth 100 hundred times current earnings. It’s easier to look at a stock chart and say, yeah, it was overvalued after a big decline.

No wonder IPOs so seldom live up to the hype.

It’s easier to look at a product everybody had, and announce that the market had been saturated, after saturation.

It’s hard to do the same thing early. You have to go against opinion. You might be ridiculed. You might be ostracized.

Some of these voices demanding you conform will be shrill.

They might even tell you that if you stop thinking, you’ll start thinking.

But it’s diversity in thinking that truly creates.

And relationships don’t need to be adversarial. They can be focused on growth. For all parties. But that doesn’t mean you have to agree.

We fear creativity and often reject it.

But nobody will admit to it.

It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of a current winner.  It’s much harder to pick the next winner.

It’s easy to pick a winner due to sheer momentum. Momentum will carry you forward for awhile. This is true whether you’re talking about a stock, a company or a product.

But in assessing now and moving into tomorrow, consider:

  • The rapidity of change in an environment or sector
  • The difficulty of maintaining leadership if you are one of the leaders
  • Increasing competition
  • Increasing negative feedback from consumers or users

The listening tree

Creative thinking demands the discussion of threats as much as it does strengths or opportunities. Rather than being ridiculed, people presenting reasons they think a company, product or idea won’t maintain its momentum are often the best opportunity to understand how to improve a product, service or idea.

And then, of course, there’s listening to your customers. Strategic listening is an art in itself.

Rather than plucking the last fruit from the tree, we need to grow new fruit.

We need seeds — and to plant new trees.

Related:

Collectivism and size drive unethical behaviour: The diffusion problem

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