Preparing for the Unpredictable

We know technology and how it changes lives. Text100 CEO Aedhmar Hynes talks to Media Lab Director Joi Ito about how our secondment programme with MIT’s Media Lab is helping to take our storytelling to new heights.

We know technology and how it changes lives. Text100 CEO Aedhmar Hynes talks to Media Lab Director Joi Ito about how our secondment programme with MIT’s Media Lab is helping to take our storytelling to new heights.

Here at Text100, we tell the story of how technology is changing our world. Change like that comes from every direction, and it can upend things in a heartbeat, in unpredictable ways. Wake up tomorrow, and you may find your world has changed overnight.

That’s why technology-driven change makes for exciting stories. It’s what we love about our work. We also believe in telling those exciting stories in different ways, so that everyone can understand them; it’s an important part of what we mean when we say that Text100 is “wired differently.”

If we want to tell stories so real people can understand, not just insiders and geeks, then we have to live those stories ourselves. Everyone here spends a lot of time staying on top of technology, so we can understand what’s coming next. We want to be able to seize on new tools and ideas right away, to make our work more relevant and to help our clients stay authentically engaged with their audiences.

Getting it right

If you want to do that right, it takes getting outside the walls of the office. You have to find and work with visionary thinkers. The kind of thinkers who constantly wonder, “what’s next?” and then turn their new ideas into reality, to see what the rest of us can do with them.

One of those thinkers is Joi Ito, Director at the MIT Media Lab, where I’m a member of the Advisory Board. He’s a true visionary on technology-driven change. His view is that companies have to rethink how they tell their stories and build a complete communications “ecosystem.”

Instead of delivering messages to one audience or channel at a time, it means engaging people constantly, wherever they choose to come to meet you.

That’s a real challenge for a lot companies – not because the technology is hard, but because it forces you to be authentic. You can’t be different things to different audiences when anyone can engage with you through any channel at any time.  That puts communications at the center of the business and demands flexibility and agility. As Joi puts it, you need “to be prepared for anything, but to be aware of everything.”

Secondment program

We’ve developed the Secondment program, a kind of global exchange program with the Media Lab. Part of this means one of my Text100 colleagues can join the Media Lab’s communications group for a few months.

It’s an incredible opportunity to be completely immersed in the dynamic and unstructured environment of the Media Lab. Our people are exposed to a constant stream of ideas and experiments and able to pursue learning about new ways to think, about creating that communications ecosystem.

In turn, the participants in the Secondment program are able to use their experience as communicators to help the Media Lab tell its own stories.

Our first participant, Barbara Ruane, is finishing her time at the Media Lab (you can read about her experience here). Future participants from our offices around the world will bring their global perspectives to contribute to the Media Lab’s work.

It’s a real privilege to be part of the community of experts at the Media Lab and to be have the opportunity to bring those new approaches to the way we work, and to what we can accomplish for our clients.

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