Future Magic has grown and changed a lot as an idea over the last few months with the benefit of new minds and projects, and a bit of age. Someone pointed out the other day that we don’t have all the thinking around it collected in any one place – it lives in people’s heads and in a few pieces of work, but it’s not articulated completely anywhere. So this is that.
Making Future Magic and the agency
“Making Future Magic” is how we refer to our collective creative aims. It guides all the work we do, through client partnerships and also our own initiatives. It’s a new philosophy for a new group of people who want to find a different path in creative communications: one that acknowledges the drastic shifts in the media landscape of the last few years, but more crucially (for us) sees those changes as signifiers of a moment in time that’s precious for its uncertainty.
The Minority Report fuelled, dystopian vision of the future – particularly from commentators on the burgeoning opportunities opening up to those who want to communicate or sell – is potent and prevalent, in a kind of fearful, lazy way. We are more interested in a hopeful question:
What might a magical version of the future of media look like?
As an approach Making Future Magic is one answer to some problems we see in the communications industry: the focus on the hyper-rational, “timely” and “relevant” at the expense of rich, human experiences; the obtuse battle between commercial worth and cultural value; the persistent ghetto-isation and treatment of “digital media” decades after the birth of the internet; the lack of creativity particularly in online and social media; and the doom laden visions of future communications and advertising.
“Making”, “Future” and “Magic”
By Making we mean craftsmanship, an attention to and understanding of materials, and an emphasis on collaboration.
By Future we mean something not seen before, something new and unexpected. Not so much sci-fi, as near-future.
By Magic we mean surprising, culturally powerful, unusual, capable of delighting.
By Making Future Magic we mean all three, and that’s the combination we look for in all our creative endeavours.
We believe in the superpotency of properly balanced commercial and cultural ambitions. And we don’t want to add to the overflowing cultural landfill. The ambition behind Making Future Magic is to make work that’s as culturally powerful and sensitive as it is commercially effective.
Haitsu is a hybrid word we made up – like the word Dentsu, which means Electronic Communications – from the two words Hybrid (Hai) and Communications (Tsu) in Japanese.
Haitsu is about interesting collisions in ways of working and the materials we work with. For example the rethinking of old media forms with new techniques. Or the employment of cutting edge technology with old methods and thinking. But also any fruitful combination – often surprising – including collaborations within our company, and with outside partners. We’re interested in the alchemy of making two different systems clash, whether they’re ideological or practical.
10 Spartan Rules
In 1951 President Yoshida wrote 10 principles to guide behaviour at Dentsu in Japan:
1. Create work for yourself; don’t wait for work to be assigned to you.
2. Take an active role in all your endeavours, not a passive one.
3. Seek out large and complex jobs. Trivial tasks debase you.
4. Welcome difficult assignments. Choose them. Progress lies in accomplishing difficult work.
5. Once you begin a task, complete it. Never give up.
6. Lead your fellow workers. Be an example for them to follow.
7. Set goals for yourself to ensure a constant sense of purpose. This will give you perseverance and hope for the future.
8. Move with confidence. Confidence gives your work force, focus and substance.
9. Find new solutions. This is the way we ensure satisfactory service.
10. When conflict is necessary don’t shy away from it or be afraid. Conflict is the mother of progress and the source of aggressive enterprise. If you fear conflict, you will become timid and servile.
In homage to these we have written 10 new principles to suit our place in time at the agency:
1. The future is not advertising
2. Haitsu – the art of hybrid communications – is the future
3. We are media activists seeking to broker, create and facilitate Haitsu
4. We are an alien hybrid-child in London; we embrace uniqueness and the unexpected
5. We practise Haitsu in order to make Future Magic
6. Future Magic is creative invention for competitive advantage
7. Future Magic impacts and enriches culture and the understanding of culture
8. We prize craft and craftsmanship (Monozukuri)
9. There is no substitute for discovering for yourself (Genchi Genbutsu)
10. We hold a no-nationality framework of the world, the workplace, and our work (Mukokuseki)
The point of these is to help us make the most radical, powerful creative work we can.
Making Future Magic means that we’re exploratory and unconfined in terms of media. The emphasis is on surprising, new experiences rather than channel based definitions, which are no longer useful or appropriate for the landscape we find ourselves in.
Our aim is to break new ground and adventure into whatever media surfaces and combinations of media offer most magic. This might be new thinking with traditional media, or old techniques applied to new technological inventions.