Technology + Entertainment + Design = Society

Technology + Entertainment + Design = Society

The ability to connect the dots, to build the Strategy of Tomorrow. 

Alberto Maestri oversees the Tech department for Ninja Marketing and is a senior consultant for OpenKnowledge. Together with Francesco Gavatorta, he is the co-thinker of HyperContent Lab (think tank dedicated to the study of the evolution of content marketing and storytelling). He teaches at different universities and training courses. He writes columns for L’Impresa, Harvard Business Review Italia, MarkUp. He co-wrote “Digital Content Marketing” (anteprima Edizioni, 2013 | Il Sole 24 Ore, 2015), “Content Evolution” (FrancoAngeli, 2015) and “Giochi da Prendere sul Serio” (FrancoAngeli, 2015). He is also the FrancoAngeli Director of the series Professioni Digitali.

Technology, Entertainment, Design. Today, we can easily conceive these three dimensions strongly integrated with each other. It was much harder to imagine this scenario in the far 1984, when everything (in other words, the TED project) started. Those were the years of the big corporations, the yuppies, the American and the Occidental dream, riding the “too big to fail” wave. Not a lot of talk about startups, incubators, innovation hubs, social networks, platforms thinking in those days.

People worked in teams that were just as homogeneous on the inside as they were heterogeneous between each other. Technology (usually represented by the IT department) was on its own, far from the communication department and the marketing team (entertainment) and the design team. The production and consumption processes were characterized by dynamics that were cyclical and linear.

Brand new world

If I chose to speak about the past until now, there is a reason. The world I described, in fact, doesn’t exist anymore. Today we talk about:

technology + entertainment + design

it’s the integration between these three variables that makes projects successful. It’s only by understanding the substance of a statement like this that companies – businesses, public administrations, no profits, organizations, territories – can take the great leap forward. TED understands this, since 1984.

Good times for a change

We live in interesting times, filled with challenges and opportunities. Since a couple of years ago, I often spend some time in the UK for work, in London, to be more precise. It is definitely not my intent to start praising London and badmouth other cities, not at all. Still, there is one thing where London definitely has an edge on other big Italian cities: the strategic value of the integration of different elements. Recalling to your attention the three tags that make TED, it is very hard in the British capital to find something – let’s, say, for example, a service – that is only technologic, only entertaining, only about design. It would be nice and maybe easier to project, but unsustainable long term. Everything (from the subway mobile app to the menus in some restaurants) is structured with great attention to every single detail, so that the final result is the right union of technology, entertainment and design. This represents the ability to imagine tomorrow and not simply to organize the present. This is only possible by connecting the dots.

Where experience meets society

How can we connect these dots? What is the appropriate ratio between technology, entertainment and design? The answer is found only through experience.

In this, TED represented an innovative turning point. TED was able to look with a strategic eye in a world that was still only tactical. TED was able to understand, maybe before any other project, that there’s strength in integration and that the glue between different dimensions is experience. This experience has to be well planned (design), has to be entertaining (entertainment) and it has to be, now more than ever, innovative (technology). It is no coincidence that the TED and TEDx value proposition is to be able to live, through these formats, experiences. Experiences that are strong because they are personal and well (and sometimes not so well!) told, but still, experiences. Obviously memorable for who lived them, if they thought they were worth sharing on such important stages.

This is the secret to understand tomorrow: realize that today we live in a society made of experiences.

Technology, entertainment and design. Here is a snapshot of our life today. While TED had already foreseen it in 1984, many others – brands, PA, people, territories – are still blind and time is running out.

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