Innovation for storytelling: new patterns, erstwhile imaginary, creative business models

Xavier De La Porte gave on October 31st another accurate interview at Place de la Toile: he talked with Stéphane Hugon about how Internet has grown so fast and taken such an important place in our life. Stephane assumption is that Internet echoes back imaginaries present in our real life, and coming from far away.

This reminded me of the transmedia “new wave”, that is to say, the new digital narrative or “storytelling 3D” developed at Transmedia Lab. 3D because it embraces three dimensions:

1. The first one is about enhancing the story, and how to create a material rich enough to extend across multiple platforms: we get in-depth about characters, archetypes (the good and the villain), parallel plots, sweeping rhythm, all what makes a good story. We also push the creators to identify the myth behind their story, to define the pilars of their multilayer foundation: it refers straightforward to the erstwhile imaginary Stéphane Hugon is mentionning.

2. Then we try to leverage on the media and select original narrative chapters for each media: transmedia is not catch-up, nor cross-media, where the same concept is extended across multiple platforms. Each media has its specificities: for example TV is still very passive, quite formated, mostly linear and often collective, while Internet on a PC is natively interactive and has become social; still his usage is mostly individual; it can bring the viewer at the center of the story like in a video game, it is on-demand, multimedia playful, and entitles more freedom of speech. Mobile is completely different: it’s intimate, instantaneous, very very personal, it can geo localized you, enhances viewing with augmented reality and flashcode technologies, and Apple has learned us that you can turn it and shake it! Digital media can also meet with reality: here come the ARG (alternate reality game). There is a whole range of technologies that can serve creators in setting-up their stories and engage the audience more effectively.

3. Because this is all about engaging the audience as Mac Luhan claims it, we end up with defining interaction with the audience. With Transmedia, we switch from monologue to dialogue, “we design with, rather than for”. We have to invent the interactive services we want to develop in each media chapter, how we graduate and support participation (guided partcipation), from commenting to generating content, how we will “host the conversation” about the story, which communities we would like to address, and how the  propagation of the story will roll out.

What is key in this process is to immerse in culture of diversity with multi disciplinaries team that will be able to handle the three dimensions: story, media, audience, and build an extended universe, a storyworld in which the viewer will circulate, being part of a  living narrative universe that has a “before” and an “after”.

Xavier De La Porte quoted Lawrence Lessig with his famous: “code is law”, which means that nowadays you need to know how to code on a computer to keep up with the technological world in which we leave. Transmedia teams are very much like innovation teams: one doesn’t need to know everything, each member brings its own skills, the key is  to define a common language to let the team work harmonously. As I put it in Innovation, thoughts for thoughts article, team will be composed of T-shaped people, with strong  expertise in their field (vertical bar of the T), and ability to understand and synchronize with other team members issues (horizontal bar of the T).

How to higlight the story with new technology is all what it is about. Google Creative Lab showed some of their impressive work in the matter at Le Forum d’Avignon and I guess you’ve already seen the Arcade fire video, “The wilderness downtown” which takes the viewer to a personal experience. Ed Sanders, head of  Google Creative Lab concluded his presentation with “it’s all about storytelling”.

Also presenting at Le Forum d’Avignon, definitely a unique place at the crossroad of culture and innovation, Hector Obalk, art critic and filmmaker, delivered a brilliant speech, showing original captures of Tiziano paintings, demonstrating that techonology can help us understand better cultural heritage. Even better in some way than going into a museum!

Digital technologies, erstwhile imaginary, cultural heritage, and creation, are here to meet: “creators have to capture the potentiality of interactivity, leveraging media singularity, building new experiences for the viewer, both collective and individual, unleashing interpretation and personal navigation, while offering references and managing context to help viewers dig in into the story” claimed warmly Frédéric Mitterand and Bernard Stiegler at Le Forum d’Avignon.

We have to be creative as well in building genuine business models corresponding to these new digital technologies. Reconsider the content from another perspective, as a service which offers interactivity, ubiquity, personnalisation, and social sharing, desserves a closer look. Once again, fear is the worst enemy of innovation, let’s learn to dare!

One path forward, as François Jullien tells us in his “Conférence sur l’efficacité“, might be the Chinese way of forging strategy, “not trying to duplicate or apply established model, but starting from the situation potentialities, assessing and leveraging on the growth drivers“.

What is Google Creative Lab?

Ed Sanders Google Creative Lab director tells us about the mix between technology and culture at Le Forum d’Avignon



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