The MAIM Class of 2014 shares their individual experiences of innovation, in the lead up to their Degree Show, Exploiting Chaos: Innovation in the Making. The Narrators explore the multifaceted art of language to frame, and communicate relevant and stimulating connections between different ideas. Ana Laya reflects on the power of narratives and the implications of ‘uncreative writing’ for innovation management.
As we navigate from a media world of analogue scarcity to one of digital abundance -as Jonathan Taplin states in The Network Society (2005)-, I wanted to understand how the latest technology-driven, fast-paced changes have transformed the way we absorb and generate culture, as well as the meanings and values of narratives. What are the challenges that emerge from these changes, and what are the opportunities that innovation managers can successfully exploit in the worlds of media, marketing and branding?
At the heart of my research, I explored the evolution of the narrative, both from a philosophical and a technological perspective. I was curious about its relation to the business spheres of design, advertising, marketing, branding and the opportunities for innovation at the intersection of those discourses.
Through participatory observation in a consultancy that edited a quarterly publication, I encountered the efficiency, dynamics and reality of what Kenneth Goldsmith coined as ‘uncreative writing’. The consultancy’s content generation process revealed how businesses handle information by essentially appropriating, editing and re-contextualizing content as needed – using and always thinking of technology, as well as the new media society. At the heart of narratives is the content, and content is increasingly not created, but edited, curated, contextualized, hacked, highlighted, deconstructed.
My first hand experiences in an action research experiment made me realize that the business with narratives is a competition dominated by throughput speed of real-time insights and access to networks. Highly networked companies can set themselves apart from their less-connected peers through their ability to process and generate content faster, with higher intensity and wider reach, which in turn, means increased influence to shape markets and culture.
Understanding the instrumental importance of information in any of its forms (texts, visuals, music, etc.) as a transformational force, and realizing the exponential, socio-cultural impact of the way how businesses and people nowadays generate and consume narratives is crucial for any company or individual looking to generate attention, real engagement, and driving profitable consumer action.
The emergence of this narrative-driven marketing is not only a great opening to connect with consumers in a more meaningful way, but to inspire significant changes, along with the creation of a culture of innovation.
To learn more about the power of the narrative and other details on Ana’s research, please join us at the MA Innovation Management upcoming Degree Show, Exploiting Chaos: Innovation in the Making, from the 18-22 June.