The trailer of a new documentary on Art called "Lives of Artists" published by excellent and Restless Contagious Magazine provides an inspiration to share some thoughts about the importance of art for business and also to make a few predictions for 2010 and beyond, indulging the game of futurology as it sometimes occurs. Those predictions were shaped by the excellent content shared by the people I follow on Twitter and elsewhere; so I'm grateful to all of them for what they share and teach. Of course these are my predictions and therefore I'm solely responsible for any issues of rigor and overall quality.
"Lives of Artists" is supported by Coca-Cola and makes the case that Art should be disruptive, aggressive, intelligent, attract attention and push us out of our zone of comfort. The core message finds me in complete agreement, if only because no innovation and no evolution can happen unless we are projected into a different space from the one we are accustomed to. Being projected into the space of difference, change, imagination, dream, daydreaming, vision, possibility and openness is something that can happen either through internal forces of each one's psyche or through external factor and sometimes there are exceptional disciplines that create a link between inner and outer space. Most of the disciplines involved in Art are like that. It's an invitation to think, dream, dare, be-Start-Treky (blodly go where no one else has gone before), imagine, transcend current state, nudge yourself and others out of the comfort zone, flow, freeze, grow, disrupt... BE!
On a much more prosaic and practical level, the movie is supported by Coke and I think it shows the importance of content in capturing human attention and creating brand awareness and goodwill. It's among those signs that make me feel like indulging in the game of predictions:
- SEO will die on its feet because it's less and less relevant as content is increasingly structured and characterized during its production and publication to be easy for search engines to find and as search engines becomes increasingly smarter providing meaning on top of mere search, a trend stated in Fred Destin's remarkable post on investment and innovation trends
- the pendulum will swing back and content will once again be considered important and worth paying for. No longer will we hear so much excessive language about the commoditization of content and the age of abundance, even though access to and distribution of content have indeed dramatically changed
- user experience whether in the form of ergonomics or experience of service or immersive events (like Cirque du Soleil) will be paramount to actually attract attention in a commercially useful way
- advertising will disappear as a result of consumers developing resistance to mere "exposure" and "opportunity to see". Instead it will undergo a profound mutation to become a service to the desired audience...
- ... which means that the campaign logic must go away and budgets devoted to "time bound" initiative will have to be used differently on "contiuous / uniniterrupted activities" involving communities, tribes, high quality content, permanent education, true compassion for the customer...
- ... and that actually means that the relationship between media, advertisers, marketers, agencies and "operations enablers" (e.g. logistics companies) is going to be profoundly transformed once again in a veyr radical way that will recast completely e-commerce in the medium term
- business organization will evolve towards networks of businesses and ecosystems for which we are absolutely not prepared in terms of leagl frameworks, contractual relationships, labor relations, work tools, practices, methods and day to day organization. Actually I think that's the angle through which much of "enterprise 2.0" is likely to emerge
That's it for predictions and vision today. It's not a round number like 5, 10 or 20, that headlines are so fond of, but, hey it's a prime number :)