Earlier this month, some of the brightest minds in marketing, digital and design explored “the content you can’t Google” at Pause Fest in Melbourne. As we couldn’t go ourselves, we got our brand strategist friend from Push Collective, Zaiga Padoms, to give us the goss on what went down.
“Discover your Future self” was the theme for this year’s event. It was an apt centre of gravity for an increasingly fast-paced world and its insatiable appetite for break-through ideas. At every turn, innovative companies were looking to close the gap between the future and the present as quickly as possible. Grant Miller from Ingenuity Studio argued that “a finished product is better than a perfect product”, emphasising the criticality of speed to market and why ‘keeping up’ may be more important than perfect refinement.
Another presentation explored how Elon Musk’s Hyperloop is using crowdsourcing to quickly recruit a workforce that will take the high-speed transportation idea from conception to construction. Hyperloop now has 400 part-time employees who are remotely turning the idea into a swift reality.
However, despite this need for speed, the next big thing might actually be about slowing down. It’s exactly the opposite of what one might expect, but it’s through a sense of reflection and thoughtfulness that truly revolutionary ideas erupt.
‘Mindfulness’, as discussed by Motherbird’s Jack Musset, is more than just a thing you do. It’s a philosophy that places value on the time, personal experiences and introspective thinking required to be creative. He explained: “Ideas are a reflection of who you are. If you can’t come up with one, then you need to work harder on yourself”.
This was a consideration echoed by tech inventor and pioneer, Finbar O’Hanlon, who warned that the complacency of taking things for granted can only be overcome through questioning and deep thinking.
The purpose of the State Library of Victoria was even called into question, with Justine Hyde emphasising the need to look beyond the Library’s catalogue of physical books to its true reason for being: creating a repository of ideas. As discussed during her presentation: “In the world of Google, great questions will be more valuable than great answers.” And great questions take time to articulate – as much as, if not more so than great answers.
While we absorb the many benefits of smart technology, rushing through the world glued to our smartphones, a quiet revolution is taking place. It may not seem like an obvious topic for a tech conference, but ‘digital detoxing’ as explained by Stefan Hajkowicz from Data 61, is increasingly becoming a trend. We live in a world of (over) sharing, where ‘likes’, ‘shares’, and ‘retweets’, are very capable of distracting us, perhaps too much, from our thoughts. Digital detoxing might be the best path to achieving mindfulness.
I welcome the idea of introspective thinking and digital unplugging with open arms, but it will be interesting to see how brands respond. With mobile marketing spend predicted to overtake other online and offline channels in 2016, I can’t help but wonder how the growing movement towards digital detoxing will impact brand strategy and consumer engagement. How can brands stand out while being ‘quieter’?
Easier said than done. Alice Kimberly from Vice Media referenced a survey that highlighted 61 per cent of Australian women cite Kim Kardashian as the face of their generation. Wow. Kim’s indisputable popularity is fuelled by unprecedented and uninterrupted access to her everyday life via social media. Is it sustainable? Surely there should be more breadth and depth in the sources of inspiration for young Australian women.
In a world of fast-paced ‘disruptive’ competition, the need to be agile cannot outweigh the need for a driving, central and somewhat durable purpose. Which is what the best brands own. Despite the incessant nature of technology, the best way forward can only be found through thoughtful consideration of what the world we envision should look like. This way we can leverage the best opportunities to project us forward, and empower us to decide whether we want that to be the world of the Kardashians, or whether there is space for more thoughtfulness and depth.