State of the News Media’s 2011 report proves that as of December 2010, more Americans get their news from the internet than from print. But with convenience and speed comes the caveat: does the internet make us stupid, too? Will the magpie approach to news and entertainment reduce our worldview? That’s what Eli Pariser contends in his book “The Filter Bubble”: that the personalized web, or “junk food internet,” leaves us ignorant of the breadth of human experiences. Gawker corroborated this by calling out the Washington Post Op-Ed section’s online division by political view. We at Ideon believe that bringing conflicting information to light only leads to greater insight.
As a national strategy, China is trying to build an economy that relies on innovation rather than imitation. China’s State Intellectual Property Office’s 2015 filing expectations of 2 million patents are “mind-blowing numbers,” according to the USPTO director. Even though these patents are pushing quantity over quality, “The West is overly discounting Asia’s growth potential,’ warns a Singapore-based Western visionary. Smart, nimble, innovative Asian start-ups demand to be worked with, rather than ignored by large Western enterprises as they are the hatching grounds for human innovations and commercial applications that drive lasting change. How will Western brands compete? Ask Ideon.
Many critics argue that GDP and other economic indicators are woefully insufficient to fully capture global evolution. TheStateoftheUSA.org, is redefining how we value quality of life in the USA and globally. The site features more than 20 new indices to provide a clearer picture and focus over time—providing a dynamic dashboard that delivers constantly. With instant access to national information, the site will “shift the debate from opinions, to more evidence-based discussions” – that is, we should be able to better measure how happy we are, or how green we’re living. Even Google is entering the fray by using its vast shopping data to provide a ‘Google Price Index’ among other data-rich indicators and tools. Just like Ideon pores over data to discover insights and visualize patterns that help brands grow.
James Surowiecki thinks both high- and low-end brands are growing in this recession, at the middle’s expense. While it’s “well-priced adequacy” that helps value brands gobble upwards, high-end quality is worth splurging for, and the middle loses. IKEA, H&M and the Flip video camera do as well now as Hermès and Apple. Paradoxically, ignoring the middle can still appeal to consumers, but look at Dell, Sony and GM brands to see vagueness winning no one. Identifying key differentiators to develop a unique brand platform is crucial to any brand’s success today; see what Ideon has done for Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Fleishman-Hillard—and BP in Adweek (5-10-2010).
Brad Stone’s article “Old Fogies by Their 20’s” tells us how rapid technology innovation is fomenting wider generational gaps—and shows how words no longer have the same meaning as generational differences splice ever faster. When today’s infant identifies “kindle” as “book,” it presages a cultural shift in which younger generations are going to have “some very peculiar and unique expectations about the world.” How will we effect the change that’s crucial to the world’s survival with such differences between the generations and technology? How will global brands stay relevant across multiple generations sliced by 2, 3 or 5-year segments, and resonate with this multi-tasking, instant-access, non-commercial iGeneration.
Recently, a local Swedish IKEA showroom harnessed the photo “tagging” feature of Facebook into a genius social networking raffle campaign that built an interested network of friends for the store. Another brilliant social network brand builder is the Comparethemarket.com ad campaign where Aleksandr Orlov, an animated Russian meerkat, is the unlikely spokesman for a UK car insurance aggregator, but is one of the most acclaimed social media stars of the moment. Aleksandr has 600,000 Facebook friends and 30,000 Twitter followers, and an immortally limited edition replica sold through Harrods. On YouTube, Johnny Lee’s creative whiteboard workaround for public schools for less than $200 is still being shared two years later. Social networks sparkle like passionate clusters around any brand or idea but do they monetize? Perhaps, insists the successful head of Gucci Group: “The back and forth (of customers) – that is key to the future. I know it absolutely.”
A Milan-listed idea factory predicts we’ll become a generation of Homo-Zapiens by 2012, zapping through all kinds of electronic content with ebooks, ip-TV and wearable technology that keeps us constantly on the network. We’ll see a shift from “know how” to “know where” to “know who”, shaping the future of human connections. Even robots will range in empathy from extroverted to introverted, simplifying and freeing up our lives by 2020. While we’re inhaling nanomachines to stimulate the unreal, and accepting more humanlike behavior in robots with the “uncanny valley” effect, dreams are served up to order, much like IDEON does with our custom insights.
Consumers increasingly influence brand decisions—new flavors, new styles, new products. Crowdsourcing or community-based design can be seen in the Mountain Dewmocracy, Colors Magazine and sites such as Quirky, which bypasses tradition as an online community-based product development service to bring the most in-touch products to market. Ideate above-and-beyond traditional innovation development processes, with crowdsourcing or new combinations of big agency and boutique think-tanks like Ideon. Direct, ongoing individual involvement–as cognitive groups that deliver real results–brings the entire consumer dialogue to the next level.
John Gapper’s article in the FT reminds us that colonization helped Africa in some ways, but that Hong Kong-style economic zones such as the British created could provide the best possibility for sustainable growth across Africa. On the other side of is Dambisa Moyo’s book, Dead Aid. This Zambian-born ex-Goldman Sachs banker argues Western investment has failed for 60 years. Instead, she says Chinese investment, micro-financing initiatives, and milestones such as Seacom’s broadband undersea cabling investment across all of eastern Africa, are its future. This conflict of extremes is best expressed in the duplicity of Yinka Shonibare’s new exhibition, Different Worlds. Yinka shows how dress expresses power, and how dominance is viewed from both sides. Throughout history, Africa has been a land of extremes, subjugated by more taking than giving. Ideon asks if China’s resource quest could help a young, dynamic African continent of 1 billion people with fewer personal goods consume at a higher rate than China’s ever-modernizing infrastructure for 1.3 billion people?
We’re Debt junkies. In fact, over the past 3 decades, the majority of the working world fell for the biggest scam in history. While the rich got much richer, we bought into capitalism’s story that we too deserved things beyond our reach, like houses, branded goods, and BMW’s in the driveway, and more. Time to pay the piper. Or, we could all default. Why haven’t we complained? Because Debt was there to soothe us. “If you couldn’t earn it, you could borrow it. Cheap financing was made widely available,” Ben Funnell argues in the FT. Innovation, education, ideation and the opening of new markets for new products and services are our most feasible solutions. [Asking the über-rich to shoulder more of their due burden can’t hurt, either.]
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