RemixLDN: Culture x Technology x Entrepreneurship
Updated: Sep 6, 2022
Last week I had the pleasure of attending Remix LDN to explore innovation at the intersection of Culture x Technology x Entrepreneurship for the future of culture and the creative industries. The summit over two days with 42 talks had an impressive line up of speakers ranging from the founder of Secret Cinema to the Head of Innovation Labs at Epic Games to the VP of Live Experiences at Netflix.
A huge variety of topics were covered but here are my key takeaways from the inspirational two days.
Culture and entertainment are being disrupted
We have been living in the Experience Economy since the early 21st Century with the focus on experiences being expedited through the power of social media. The Euromonitor Survey of Millennials and Gen Z, the experience economy was predicted to be a $8.2 trillion industry by 2028. 77% of those surveyed said some of their best memories were from an event or live experience they attended or participated in; 69% said that attending live events and experiences make them more connected to other people.
Although Covid-19 and its lockdowns put a timeout on physical experiences, the desire for IRL experiences is now stronger than ever. Consumers looking for unique, multi sensory experiences that zoom meetings cannot provide. This is evidenced by over 40 different Van Gogh experiences in the US last year.
Covid-19 has meant priorities have shifted and there's a focus on living life to its fullest. Alongside rapid digital adoption this has created unique opportunities within the experience industry. In addition the cultural context of the demise of the high street and a shift away from traditional working habits in offices and 9-5 has led to culture and retail being reimagined. This is demonstrated through the success of Fever, Meow Wolf and Showfields.
The general consensus at Remix was that the future of culture and entertainment through changing consumer behaviours, technology and authentic storytelling has the opportunity to democratise culture for everyone and change the world.
At the heart of democratising culture is ensuring there’s a great story to be told and understood by new audiences. The general consensus was a story should be authentic with some room for creative license, whether that’s anchored in history, science or contemporary culture.
The best storytelling has a beginning, middle and end, drives impact and leads to its audience wanting to get even closer to the story and its characters. The Black Country Living Museum becoming a TikTok sensation last year when although closed to physical visitors, became the most followed museum in the world on TikTok amassing 50.5 million views.
The success of Netflix’s live experiences is giving audiences an opportunity to have their very own hero moment by having the opportunity to become the Diamond of the Season at the Bridgerton Ball. Thought provoking questions were asked by Bompas and Parr about whether streaming channels will move into placemaking experiences truly blurring the boundaries between physical and digital experiences.
Understanding your audience
Equal to storytelling’s importance is understanding your audience both through qualitative and quantitive research. Quantitate research has been facilitated by the rise of data which can be provided by large digital experience platforms such as Fever to identify trends and audience desires but its just as important to talk to your audience to understand what they’re looking for from an experience.
There was a consensus that audiences no longer needed to be categorised by generations or ages but by the audiences particular interests which are cross-generational and a reaction to the over saturation of content seen through the rise of curated instagram feeds humanity are generally rebelling against.
The future sees the power of collaborative fandoms enabling culture to harness the power of passionate audiences to co-curate brands and become active and purposeful patrons of ideas or experiences. A main tenant of web3 is the concept of co-creation and ownership enabled through the blockchain and NFTs which results in power to communities with active ownership such as voting rights.
Communities are a key component for the future of experiences; Netflix’s live experience KPI is to create community through its shared experiences. However it’s important to ensure each community has a purpose and are clear on who they’re for, why they exist and what their core values are.
Technology as a layer to augment & enable
Technology provides huge opportunities for the future of culture, creativity and experiences. However it's important to note that technology is there to augment and enhance experiences not replace them. This concept comes to life through the National Galley’s Keeper of Paintings which uses gamification to connect kids to the National Gallery and has resulted in children asking to return to the gallery. The application even has a digital timeout baked into the experience to recenter children back into the gallery and their surroundings. The experience has evolved onto Roblox as an extension to the story and has succeeded in making the National Gallery’s collection more accessible to children and therefore expanding its audience.
Everyone was clear that technology only works as part of the story if its needed and enables experiences and culture to reach larger audiences than ever before. However technology should be viewed through a lens of how it’s impacting the physical space not taking over from or replacing it. Once again the future of Web3 and extended realities is exciting and provides limitless creativity and imagination for culture but only when considered as part of the wider narrative and how it enhances and adds value.
How to create successful future experiences?
The future is immersive and multi-sensory which will cross over into every part of our lives from education to entertainment. According to Meta people remember 5% of what they learn in lectures, 10% of what they read and an outstanding 75% what they experience in VR as showcased by virtual reality surgical training platform Osso VR.
Create an environment that enables visitors to explore and discover at their own pace whilst curating their own stories.
The lines between digital and physical continue to blur with 60% of Gen Z believing how you present yourself online is more important than in the real world. Therefore digital strategy should be embedded into everything to enhance not overtake the experience and enable communication to and data from the audience.
The future of experiences and culture is exciting and the most successful ventures will combine community, culture & creativity to change the world...