The future is now


This is a recap of Communication Futures event hosted by IABC UK

The future does not yet exist. But we still have to plan for it. That was the theme of last week’s IABC’s excellent seminar on the future of communications hosted and designed by Susan Walker (@suseew) where we tried to answer these questions:

  • Will communicators have to rethink their role?
  • How is the world of work likely to change?
  • Can we use new techniques to understand how people think?
  • Do we need to extend telling important stories across multiple platforms and formats?
  • What developments can we expect from social media and technology?

From the not-so-new magic of transmedia campaigns to operating in a volatile environment, Susan and her A-list speakers led us in a journey towards what our profession can and should be doing to help the organizations we work for.

Who said what…
Lucy Adams (@lucyatfirehouse) is a strong believer in the potential of communication if it is focused for the individual and that HR and communication functions need to work together more closely.

Adrian Wooldridge (@adwooldridge) management editor of the Economist challenged us as communicators with a hard look at the future based on his book “The Great Disruption” which included facts and figures like the research which revealed employee loyalty had halved. In this volatile world, the employee’s first loyalty is to themselves.

Read Silvia Cambie’s interesting reflection on his talk – Communicating in disruptive times.

Hillary Scarlet (@Hilary Scarlett) explained the power of neuroscience and why we react most strongly to threats based on our brains inherited from early man escaping tigers on the savannah.

Steve Spence from Transmedia Storytelling empathised why we need to think of a range of media to tell the story effectively and cannot depend on just one channel.

Silvia Cambie (@silviacambie) and Leslie Crook (@LAC999) gave us their views and predictions of what social media might be in the future. Leslie also shared her social media framework and gave us a preview of John Stepper’s (@johnstepper) working out loud concept. His book is coming out in the fall so keep en eye out!

If you want more…
If this has peeked your interest and just can’t wait for the full presentations to be available, here some resources that might tie you over:

“What VUCA means to you” presented by Scott Bennett, Professor at Georgia State .Robinson College of Business. – To move towards a human, adult-to-adult communication paradigm –as Lucy and others recommend- use the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) concept to explain the current operational environment and advocate for your organization to abandon its faith in the traditional “cascade and you’ll succeed’ approach.
Science has long proven that it’s never too late to learn, and that happy employees who feel safe perform much better. If Neuropsychiatry tickles your fancy and you want to base your employee engagement strategy on how the brain actually works, you could do worse than checking out:

Aim for the stars, or better yet Star Wars. Think about transmedia, to enrich your integrated campaigns. The creative industries have been doing this and doing it very well for a long time.

Steve Spence, TransMedia Storytelling, reminded us that through communications you ultimately want to change minds and win hearts. We will not get there if you bore the audience.

The conversations and engaging presentations made us all think that the future is here, and it’s our role as communicators to lead our organizations happily and safely towards it.

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