Culturematic: How Reality TV, John Cheever, a Pie Lab, Julia Child, Fantasy Football...Will Help You Create and Execute Breakthrough Ideas

Culturematic: How Reality TV, John Cheever, a Pie Lab, Julia Child, Fantasy Football...Will Help You Create and Execute Breakthrough Ideas

by Grant McCracken
     
 

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Welcome to Culturematic: How Reality TV, John Cheever, a Pie Lab, Julia Child, Fantasy Football, Burning Man, the Ford Fiesta Movement, Rube Goldberg, NFL Films, Wordle, Two and a Half Men, a 10,000-Year Symphony, and ROFLCom Memes Will Help You Create and Execute Breakthrough Ideas

A Culturematic is a little machine for making culture. It’s an

Overview


Welcome to Culturematic: How Reality TV, John Cheever, a Pie Lab, Julia Child, Fantasy Football, Burning Man, the Ford Fiesta Movement, Rube Goldberg, NFL Films, Wordle, Two and a Half Men, a 10,000-Year Symphony, and ROFLCom Memes Will Help You Create and Execute Breakthrough Ideas

A Culturematic is a little machine for making culture. It’s an ingenuity engine.

Once wound up and released, the Culturematic acts as a probe into the often-alien world of contemporary culture, to test the atmosphere, to see what life it can sustain, to see who responds and how. Culturematics start small but can scale up ferociously, bootstrapping themselves as they go.

Because they are so inexpensive, we can afford to fire off a multitude of Culturematics simultaneously. This is evolutionary strategy, iterative innovation, and rapid prototyping all at once. Culturematics are fast, cheap, and out of control. Perhaps as important, they fail early and often. They are the perfect antidote to a world where we cannot guess what’s coming next.

In Culturematic, anthropologist Grant McCracken describes these little machines and helps the reader master them. Examples are drawn from NFL Films, Twitter, the Apple Genius Bar, Starbucks, Ford, SNL Digital Shorts, Restoration Hardware, UNICEF, J. Crew, Pie Lab, USA Network, and the GEICO gecko.

For the traditional producers of culture—the creators of movies, design, advertising, publishing, magazines, newspapers, and corporate R&D—this book will inspire new innovation and creativity.

For the emerging producers of culture—the digital players—this book will serve as a practical handbook. Culturematic: our app for creating the world anew.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Anthropologist, author, and corporate consultant McCracken (Chief Culture Officer) has coined a new buzzword, “culturematic,” to describe how, in this era of widespread cultural unpredictability, various concepts, events, products, services, and even ad campaigns cut through the clutter to capture hearts and minds. He defines a culturematic as “a little machine for making culture” that will “test the world, discover meaning, and unleash value.” Although abstract and circuitous at times, McCracken’s lively exploration of how media experiments, rule breaking, and parody can expose culture and move it forward proves fascinating and provocative. He explores the random origin and viral explosion of the Burning Man festival, the unexpected paradigm of Apple’s Genius Bar, the creation and rapid spread of reality television, the growth of fantasy football culture, and the food truck revolution—all examples of culturematics because they “punch their way out of conventional wisdom and existing cultural forms” and “reshape the categories in our head.” Conservative thinkers may find culturematics to be inscrutable enigmas, but adventurous marketers, product designers, forward-thinking leaders, or students of culture are sure to find it a riveting spur for even greater innovation. Agent: Kate Lee, ICM. (May)
From the Publisher

“McCracken’s lively exploration of how media experiments, rule breaking, and parody can expose culture and move it forward proves fascinating and provocative.” — Publishers Weekly

“Inspirational and quirky, McCracken’s book offers insight on why corporations might want to do this, and suggests a recipe for going about it.” — Research-Technology Management

“This book is for all businesses and is written to inspire new innovation and creativity.” — T+D magazine (American Society for Training & Development)

“McCracken’s point is that in the modern world it is almost impossible to know where the next big idea is coming from… But, thanks to social media and also to the fact that the world is in many ways a lot more homogenous than used to be the case, certain ideas, thoughts, programmes spread like wildfire.” — futureofbusiness.com

“Grant McCracken introduces, in this thought-provoking book, the notion of the culturematic, a machine for making culture – otherwise described as an ingenuity engine... McCracken has interesting observations about how the growing inscrutability of the world haunts traditional producers of culture.” — The Irish Times

“Worth the read if you’re trying to create meaning and value in the world.” — LeadershipNow (leadershipnow.com)

“Working in the digital culture industry, Culturematic is certainly inspirational. If nothing else, it’s an excellent compendium of cultural artifacts that have touched the zeitgeist in the last few years.” — Social Media Group (socialmediagroup.com)

“Engagingly written and accessible to both business and lay people, the book will have broad appeal to entrepreneurs, marketers, inventors, artists, and people looking for a creativity boost in their professional or personal lives.” — Library Journal

“his book will definitely lead you to a greater appreciation of your own inner curiosities” — Marketing Daily/MediaPost

ADVANCE PRAISE for Culturematic

“No one views American culture—nor discovers its meaning—in quite the way Grant McCracken does. With his sparkling Culturematic as your guide, go from consuming culture to making it, one small, achievable, and ingenious step at a time.” — B. Joseph Pine II, coauthor, The Experience Economy and Infinite Possibility

Culturematic pulls back the curtain on the fascinating cultural world that drives brands, corporations, and society. Both a revealer of history and a predictor of the future, Grant McCracken provides tools for innovation and mischief that will help you place yourself and your company on the relevant edge of culture. A guidebook, a tool, and a great read.” — Stanley Hainsworth, Chief Creative Officer, Tether

“Grant McCracken is a cool guy and thinker with consistently cutting-edge insights about the way people are thinking, working, and feeling. McCracken’s challenge here, to be a culture-making entrepreneur—‘a Culturematic’—resonated strongly with me, as I expect it will for many people and leaders who want to invent their futures by starting small.” — Peter Sims, author, Little Bets; Cofounder and Director, Fuse Corps

“We are leaving behind a marketing age that rewarded safe bets. Culturematic prepares us to listen more and hear the answers in unexpected places.” — John A. Deighton, Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

“There’s a misconception that innovation lives only in labs populated by white-coat wearing scientists. In his wide-ranging and entertaining book, Grant McCracken shows how that is not true. Culturematic manages to be both an engaging and practical guide to creativity and innovation. A worthwhile read.” — Scott D. Anthony, Managing Director Innosight Asia-Pacific; author of The Little Black Book Innovation

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781422143292
Publisher:
Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date:
05/15/2012
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Grant McCracken, an anthropologist, has studied American culture and business for 25 years. He is the author of several books, most recently, Chief Culture Officer.

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