Why your brand needs to watch Sc-Fi Movies - Part 1
"Change should be classified with "death and taxes" as one of the things that are sure in this world. Even if we don't feel like starting it, somebody or something else will. Change is something which if other people do and we don't, we get left behind."
- J.G. Pleasants, P&G R&D VP, 1950’s
Science Fiction has always been a fantastic foil to traditional science and technology models…models sometimes limited by the “current best approach”, comfort, incrementalism and predictability. Sci-Fi stories at their core ask the hard questions about where we are going and why. It is about envisioning leaps in technology that are rooted in the contemporary concerns or excitement of where our innovations are taking us. This is why a vast number of real technology advancements started with visionary writers, directors and storytellers inspiring the scientists who would eventually bring them to life. It often starts with books like The Time Machine or films like Blade Runner, Star Wars and Jurassic Park.
In 2016 the US Government was using movie examples as a way to talk the good and bad of AI - films like The Terminator, Iron Man and Ex Machina. More recently on Netflix the movie Extinction also looked at AI and specifically what "human rights" should it have? Elon Musk was inspired by Isaac Asimov’s book Foundation when creating SpaceX and still uses it as a way to talk generational space travel. Martin Cooper created the cell phone based on Captain Kirk’s handheld communicator. Rocket pioneer Robert Goddard was fascinated about space travel after reading War of the Worlds. Simon Lake, a key inventor in the development of the submarine, was inspired by 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Robert Wong, a VP at Google Creative Labs, has said that people can inspire the future by writing the "fiction of the science". He cautions that it is not enough that a technology is interesting but more importantly that there is a story to show why we should care about it.
Science Fiction has gone from a minority to the majority and is now the most profitable type of entertainment, holding 11 out of 20 of the highest grossing films of all time. The reason…people are excited to look at exciting, fascinating (and even potentially scary) futures. We all like seeing what may be next. Creating sci-fi stories is a safe, engaging way to consider what a big change could mean to our world, to your company, a brand or even in your home. Have you written a “Science Fiction” story for your company? How far into the future have you looked? What movie(s) would you have your team watch for inspiration?
Creating those stories for your brand can help expose potential long term strengths and weaknesses, new territories you may need to consider or even a completely different business model strategy. What would have to be true for one of your brands or key technologies to become democratized or demonetized? What would happen to your company if it was? If Kodak would have realized that they were not merely a film and chemical company but instead a preserving memories company they may have led the change instead of becoming a victim of it.
“Science Fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.” - Isaac Asimov