2020 Media Futures

2020 Media Futures is an ambitious, multi-industry strategic foresight project designed to understand and envision what media may look like in the year 2020; what kind of cross-platform Internet environment may shape our media and entertainment in the coming decade; and how our firms and organizations can take action today toward capturing and maintaining positions of national and international leadership.

The purpose of 2020 Media Futures is to use open-source strategic foresight for the benefit of the creative cluster — the book, magazine, music, film, television and interactive digital media industries – to help organizations and individuals “future-proof” themselves and their creative livelihoods. These creative professionals include writers, filmmakers, producers, music label executives, game developers, programmers, and other media franchise specialists. To help them prepare for the future, we employed strategic foresight research methods and practices. You can learn about our strategic foresight research methodology and project structure. But before recounting that material, we present the heart of the project, the narrative and contextual scenarios developed through this consultative, participatory process.

These scenarios are the result of analytical and synthetic work described in the pages that follow: horizon scanning for signals and trends in consumer behaviour and the media industries; collaborative workshops with industry experts and professionals; and sense-making exercises led by sLab team members to understand the data that we gathered.

In many ways, the scenarios were the ultimate goal of the project: four unique visions of possible futures that members of the creative cluster could read, critique and engage with. But as we discovered, the research process that led to their writing was its own reward. Ontario’s creative community is diverse, highly opinionated and innovative.

Through our interactions together we gained experiential learning about the needs of these industries, but also a rich understanding of their hopes and fears for the future. Our participants in turn clearly took advantage of opportunities to establish new network connections with one another at our events. We are grateful for the honesty and energy of their contributions to this project.

–Greg Van Alstyne and Madeline Ashby

Other Partners Include:

  • Achilles Media
  • Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP)
  • Breakthrough New Media
  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
  • Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA)
  • Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC)
  • Corus Entertainment
  • GestureTek
  • GlassBOX Television
  • Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE)
  • Marblemedia
  • National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
  • Nordicity
  • OCAD University
  • Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)
  • Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT), Sheridan Institute
  • St. Joseph Media
  • Universal Music Canada
  • York University

 

For more information, please visit http://slab.ocadu.ca/project/2020-media-futures.

Advisor: 
2020 Media Futures: Cover Image featuring title in white font on a purple background with OCADU and sLab logos
Monday, October 23, 2017 - 11:30am
Lab Member: 
Greg Van alstyne
Lenore Richards
Suzanne Stein

sBook: Futures of the Book

The goals of the sBook project are to develop a unifying information architectural framework for readers, writers and publishers that ties together emerging standards; and to invent new forms of functionality and interoperability to achieve our design vision. The name “sBook” refers to the qualities of the intended experience:

  • Simple: the pleasure and beauty of human readable pages
  • Social: developing context and community through social media tools
  • Searchable: the power and practicality of electronic text
  • Smart: intelligent recommendations both within and beyond the work
  • Sustainable: effective use of material and energy throughout the lifecycle
  • Synchronized: can be updated by author and publisher
  • Scalable: open platform supporting new products, services, experiences

sLab's vision goes beyond the limited model of most existing ebook systems (such as Amazon’s Kindle) by fully supporting annotating, quoting, comparing, searching, taking notes, and sharing, a process which may be described as “active reading” and which many commentators view as the threshold that must be met for the support of true knowledge work rather than simple leisure reading [Golovchinsky 2008, Sellen and Harper 2002]. sLab claims that emerging digital text infrastructures (search and retrieval systems, social media) are increasingly good at facilitating collective and institutional textual practices such as citing, referencing, curating, publishing, managing, etc. However, they are not very good at facilitating personal textual practices such as highlighting, commenting, annotating, etc. This bias stands in contrast to that of paper texts, which facilitate personal practices while making social and institutional ones more complex.

A number of competing systems, open and proprietary, exist for sorting, delivering and engaging with texts. The focus of this project will be to explore why, when and how these solutions need to inter-operate, and to develop new pathways, 'middleware', and interface technologies that assist in connecting the pieces and experiences together. The first design task is to create a framework that maps and relates emerging standards, systems, and devices, working together and with external partner organizations to create innovative bridging of digital and paper text solutions.

Following from this phase will be the development of prototype displays, applications, and devices that seek to make use of and extend this framework, calling attention to the advantages of an open, shared and accessible infrastructure. In addition to these human experiential benefits, the sBook framework seeks to foster significant advances in sustainability by developing expectations and business models for print-on-demand, reducing needless inventory. The development of the sBook framework starts from three specific attributes of reading we see as important and in need of critical attention and material support:

  • Reading occurs in a variety of spaces, places and at different times
  • Reading is social practice that involves other people, collectives, and institutions
  • Reading is an active process in the productive trajectory of intellectual work (that might include thinking, writing, making, linking, etc) rather than a passive process of consumption.

Given these precepts, the sBook framework is oriented towards conserving the valuable aspects of both digital and paper-based text. It is obvious that current text solutions foster and develop these aspects of reading to different degrees -- and for different reasons. Digital text solutions make personal rather than institutional distribution of texts more possible, but are currently limited in order to maintain traditional economic models of publishing. Ebook software standards and devices make markup and highlighting of text (important aspects of active reading) difficult, whereas paper copies encourage these practices. Key to our understanding of these issues is that they involve material and technical development as well as institutional change. The sBook framework does not discriminate between social, organizational, and technical development – it shall encompass all of these.

 

For more information, please visit http://slab.ocadu.ca/project/sbook-futures-of-the-book.

 

NCE logo

Advisor: 
Sponsor(s): 
Friday, October 20, 2017 - 12:30pm
Lab Member: 
Greg Van Alstyne
Evi Hui
Garry Ing