Creating the future of media: 6 ways for media organizations to adapt, thrive, and maximize value

By

One of the most striking trends in 21st century innovation is the significant potential for media to create value on a global scale. Media, in all its forms, is fuelling economic growth, structural change and technological advances like never before. As society debates the role and influence of media in a “post-truth” world, it is increasingly apparent that the future of media is crucial to shaping the future of humanity.

Leading futurist Ross Dawson shared useful insights on how to create a vibrant future for media organizations in his keynote at the #SchibstedNext 2016 event held by Schibsted Media Group. You can see the video of the full keynote below.

 

Despite the widespread changes impacting the global media industry, Dawson pointed to the enduring and insatiable human appetite for information in a multichannel media world. “Arguably the entire economy is becoming based on media, the creation of messages, the flow of messages and where they are going,” Dawson observed.

Here are six key ways in which media organizations can empower themselves to create their own future, drawn from Dawson’s talk at #SchibstedNext.

1. Create a compelling vision

“The best way to predict the future of media is to create it,” Dawson told the media leaders assembled in Oslo. For today’s media organizations, achieving a successful transition to tomorrow hinges on understanding “who it is we can be, who it is we want to be, moving forward”.

Forging a compelling vision for your media organization and communicating it effectively is vital for staff to adapt to the merging of technology and humanity, Dawson said, in an era when “technology is more and more capable, taking more and more of who we are”.

Without a clear strategic vision, companies are more likely to be blinded by past successes and overpowered by technological change. As the report of the 2020 group for the New York Times recently put it:

“To do nothing, or to be timid in imagining the future, would mean being left behind.”

2. Translate experimentation into value creation

Today, in the space of a day, you can test an idea, see how people respond, and develop it further. This has become a fundamental capability of every organization in the entire media industry.

“Revenue is highly uncertain, so you need to be able to experiment, said Dawson. “For every experiment you should know what you want to learn, and when you learn that, you will be able to design the next experiment.”

Dawson referred to a basic test-and-learn model favored by entrepreneurs and outlined in The Lean Startup by Eric Ries: come up with an idea, put it into action, learn from that, iterate, and turn it into a result. “You can learn from others, absolutely, but you need to be able to create your own guidebook,” Dawson advised.

Part of converting experimentation into value creation is a focus on community: “being able to connect people, define what it is that’s common between them,” said Dawson, “to be able to create media which is relevant to all of those people, and to be able to filter that…to the individual…across many news or media organizations”.

3. Make the most of human and machine intelligence


Alongside advances in algorithms and the proliferation of convenient, high-tech user interfaces, robots and amateurs are now making music, art, video, and journalism in ways that were once limited to professionals. Dawson says:

“I believe that in the last twenty years one of the most important things is how technology has enabled our creativity. If we are looking for the best media, we must bring together the professionals — who have the expertise and the context — with the amateurs, with all of us, with the many that are enabled by technology to create new possibilities.”

Optimizing both human and machine intelligence will become increasingly critical to value creation as organizations collect ever more data and achieve new milestones in consumer knowledge and engagement.

4. Ensure a clear and dynamic platform strategy

As existing and emerging media platforms vie for our attention, a solid understanding of platforms and their relationship to value creation is essential to steer media towards a positive future.

The best platform strategies, in Dawson’s view, are dynamic and user-driven: “How is it you create value for participants? That’s the fundamental aspect of a platform,” he said, “Designing value for the participants in ways that they can create that together.”

In order to maximize value for participants across platforms, Dawson highlighted the role of data analysis, signal monitoring, user feedback loops, and collaboration with both internal and external platform creators.

5. Build on your existing capabilities and transcend their boundaries

A focus on transcending the boundaries has underpinned recent innovations in the media world, including the immersive virtual reality smartphone app available from the New York Times. Media organizations must continue to think beyond the boundaries—such as print, broadcast, and even digital—if they are to create more compelling experiences for the audiences of tomorrow. Dawson emphasized:

“You need to be able to say, what are our capabilities today? What are we great at? What are we distinct at? What are we world-class at? What is it that we are going to build on? As organizations and individuals you need to be able to map your path and capability development moving forward.”

In order to transcend the boundaries and promote innovation, media brands are learning “to actually live what they are doing so that the messages that flow outside represent who they are”, said Dawson. This involves building the flow of communication and transparency internally in ways that mirror the external values and perceptions of a brand.

6. Foster bold and agile leadership to create your own future

Even as user participation in media continues to flourish, Dawson reminded the Schibsted audience that strong leadership remains crucial, because the future of media “is not a spectator sport”. As the Law of Requisite Variety makes clear, only those organizations that are as flexible as their environment will have the power to be able to create the future.

Therefore, leaders’ ability to put a bold vision into action, to push out the boundaries and set new standards for media will be crucial to success in the industry going forward. This is especially important because, at its core, the future of media “is an experiment”, Dawson believes.

“There is no roadmap to be able to say, this is exactly where the future of media is going. You need to create that. For your individual organization, it is going to be a different answer.”

Image sources: The People Speak!, fdecomite

Designing effective co-creation of knowledge using knowledge development loops

By

Last week I gave the opening keynote at the Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand’s Thought Leadership Forum, the fifth consecutive year I have done the keynote for this excellent event series. My keynote was on The Potential of Business-Academic Collaboration, offering a big-picture view of the possibilities for value creation between university business faculties and the business sector.

As I was preparing my keynote it struck me that the themes of my first book Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships are extremely relevant here. Universities are implicitly knowledge-creating organizations, and the value they have to offer to the business sector must be in developing their knowledge capabilities.
Read more

Platforms are the future of media: implications for news, journalists and society

By

I was recently interviewed by Nikolay Malyarov of digital newspaper aggregator PressReader for their industry magazine The Insider.

The transcribed interview appears as an extended article Platforms are the Future of Media, which goes into depth on some of the issues I see in the future of media. Below are a few brief excerpts, but read the full article for more detail.
Read more

How to become a top professional speaker: 5 key insights from a leading keynote speaker

By

Many people aspire to be professional speakers, traveling the world, sharing their stories and insights, with audiences hanging on their every word.

However, many more people desire to become professional speakers than those who actually succeed on that path. What have those who have thrived in this career done to achieve their objective?

Professional keynote speaker and futurist Ross Dawson shares five critical steps that have helped him gain the experience, insight and authority to have been invited to deliver hundreds of highly successful keynote presentations across 28 countries.
Read more

Uniquely human capabilities will be at the heart of job creation as automation advances

By

Many of the interviews I have been doing at the beginning of this year have focused on the future of jobs and work, it seems to be a topic that resonates strongly at the moment.

One of the interviews was on ABC News 24, as below.


Read more

The Global Economic Policy Uncertainty index is at an all-time high: the implications

By

A group of top economists has created an Economic Policy Uncertainty Index for 17 countries, using media reporting and economic forecasts to show how much uncertainty there is economic policy.

The Global Economic Policy Uncertainty Index is currently the highest it has been since the beginning of the period analyzed starting at the end of 1996.
global-epu
Read more

Shaping a positive world as we move into a “post-work economy”

By

The New York Post has just published an article titled Prepare for a world without work, based on an interview with me.

Below are some excerpts from the article delve into what I describe as the “post-work economy”, with some further comemnts:

Driverless cars are set to make millions of truckers and taxi drivers redundant and automated fast food service is poised to shut off a key job sector for young people. As artificial intelligence is increasingly able to carry out complex tasks that used to require humans, large numbers of us are set to find ourselves out of work, with no prospects.

“Many jobs will be destroyed,” futurist Ross Dawson told news.com.au. “We can no longer be sure we’ll have a sufficient amount of the right type of work for people to be employed.”

Read more

General reflections on blogging after 14 years

By

After having written my post to relaunch this blog last week, I am now – in theory – back in blogging mode, so I should be writing blog posts.

Passing the threshold of blogging

Which in itself comes to the nub of the experience of blogging, all the thresholds you have to cross to actually start and finish a blog post. What is compelling enough to say that you take the time to write it? How long or polished should pieces be? If I get started writing a post, how much time is it going to take to say what it is I want to say? When do I cut off a blog post and save the rest for the next post?
Read more

Relaunch of my website and blog – time to get blogging again!

By

I am delighted to have finally relaunched my personal website and blog! The front page of this website provides an overview of my work, there are details on my keynote speaking and strategy advisory work, and now my blog has been incorporated into the same website.

I set up my blog Trends in the Living Networks in 2002 to accompany the launch of my book Living Networks. A bit later I set up rossdawson.com as my speaker website, and kept the blog on a separate domain, running the two sites in parallel for many years.
Read more

Framework: The role of Humans in the Future of Work

By

Yesterday I gave the keynote on Creating the Future of Work at The End of Nine to Five.

For the last years in addressing the future of work I have often focused on the human capabilities that will drive value as machines become more capable and the work landscape is transformed.

To help define and clarify these capabilities I created a landscape on the role of Humans in the Future of Work, which I first shared publicly in my keynote yesterday.

Humans-in-the-future-of-work_500w
Click on the image to see full size
Read more