The one-sentence summary
Combining an awareness of trends and a preparedness to experiment with cultural initiatives can lead to commercial gain.
- A Culturematic is a little machine for making culture – an ingenuity engine.
- Once wound up and set loose, it acts as a probe to test the atmosphere and see who responds.
- They start small but can catch on fast, or they can fail early and often.
- They are inexpensive so we can afford to fire off many of them at the same time with little risk. Their properties include:
- Overall, they can be used to test the water for commercially viable initiatives, with little risk or cost.
- They start playing in our heads immediately
- They make the world manageable
- They are something we want to try
- They create order out of accident
- They find value invisible to others
- They are both playful and deadly serious
- They aim to change the contents of our heads
- They work from native curiosity
- They make scientists, social chemists and adventurers of us all
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- If you have the power in your company, or enough forceful curiosity, you can set the ball rolling with your investigations.
- Companies used to have no problems, clear problems, or unclear problems – now they just have grey areas where they don’t know what to think or where to start. Culturematics can help here. They need to:
a. Be particular and specific, not general.
b. Be based on putting unexpected things together.
c. Break rules and publish the outcome.
d. Splice contrasting genres and cultural categories together.
e. Play the trickster.
- CEOs need to bully the bullies, discover the outside vectors, find the assumptions on the inside, create the catalysts, measure ROI and cultivate a deeper field of vision to effect change in their companies.
- The anecdote about Tony Blair’s Journey book is hilarious – protestors moved it to the crime section of bookstores, then to fantasy and fairy tales.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- There are vast numbers of American examples. Unless you spend your entire life watching American TV, the majority may mean little.