I was booking a hotel room online this morning and through the process I could not help but think of Christian Lous Lange the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize winning Internationalist.  Although he died 76 years ago Lange was bang on the money when he said that “Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master”.  Through the course of my hotel room browsing I sensed a hidden hand prodding me in its desired direction.  I was told that 6 other people were currently also looking at one hotel, someone had booked a room in another 13 minutes previously, that there were only 2 rooms left at €79 and somewhat irrelevantly that 9 people from Ireland had stayed in a third hotel in the previous month.  All these data driven facts cast an aura of urgency and uncertainty over my task making the eventual booking a relief, an escape.  I felt like I had been a servant to the technology diligently making the decisions it wanted me to make.

 

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Nowhere is this sense of serving a hidden master more pronounced than with the convergence of social media and mobile platforms.  Here  the pace of life is being dictated by messages from the numerous digital channels we are plugged into – with the average Irish Facebook user checking that platform alone 14 times daily.  The internet can seem like a giant FOMO factory where the need to be in the know and the constant drive to be current becomes overbearing – oh the shame of using a meme that was doing the rounds last week.  Indeed I am even self-conscious of using the term ‘Fear of Missing Out’ to describe the syndrome, is it not a bit last year?

While I am conscious of the irony of someone with the job title ‘Head of Digital’ writing a luddites manifesto we need to make sure that we keep technology working as a ‘useful servant’ and not let it become a ‘dangerous master’ driving our lives at an ever faster pace.  Perhaps we should follow the lead of the Germans, where typewriter sales have doubled in the last 12 months as NSA fuelled paranoia has shifted people offline, and eschew technology and return to the times of Christian Lous Lange.  Or perhaps not.

 

Garret – Head of Digital

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Enjoy!

Aoife

Enjoy!

Aoife

Enjoy!

Aoife

 

Enjoy!

Aoife

Lateral thinking, the term coined by Edward de Bono back in the sixties, frequently surprises and inspires. I love the idea of learning from parallel worlds and thinking across boundaries. Hamish Taylor spoke in Dublin a couple of times a few years ago (as indeed did Mr de Bono). Amongst other things, Hamish had once been the Head of Brand Management for British Airways. Whilst there, he took a lateral thinking approach to solving some of their issues: “When seeking to create beds in first-class cabins, BA approached a yacht designer who knew how to create luxury furnishings in a confined space. When looking to improve queues, it approached the Disney Corporation, which had perfected queuing systems in its theme parks”.

In her post on this blog last week, Oilbhe spoke about how she had been inspired by Ash Bendelow, the Managing Director of Brave advertising agency took who shared his thoughts about what brands can learn from Las Vegas. The approach of Casinos over the years to people and data is certainly a forerunner of today’s challenges of fusing data and creativity. This was a theme that Oilbhe identified on her recent trip to Cannes.

 

Luis Suarez

On a slightly different tack, Specsavers consistently clever advertising, the latest example of which was the Luis Suarez biting execution  (Cheillini-Canneloni) are, in my mind, creative executions inspired by similar thought processes.

I guess that Freakonmics and Rory Sutherland’s behavioural economics are all part of the power of creativity movement that when harnessed correctly can make step changes to a business or industry.

I’ve written previously here about the untapped potential of marketing to solve some of Ireland’s deeper routed problems. Embracing lateral thinkers and great proponents of it, from the broader marketing community is a great place to start.

Tim

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