Timo Kiuru graduated from the European Business Administration degree programme in 2007. Since then he has worked for companies like MTV Media, Jack Morton Worldwide (one world’s leading global branding agencies), and is now running his own creative consultancy in the world of experiential marketing.
Timo has been involved (as a creative director) in global projects like the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone and is in regular contact with high-profile clients like Samsung, SK-II &McLaren. With experience and connections like this, he is well placed to offer some reflections on how he believes the world of marketing and communication will change, transforming the way we do business and even the way we live.
Firstly, marketing is already more experiential and mediated via digital communications technologies. It no longer makes sense to view “digital” as a separate branch of marketing. The integration of digital technologies with marketing will intensify, for reasons outlined below.
Secondly, Timo was able to envisage a future not far away when we would become the “CEOs of our own health”. Given the rapid development of wearable technologies, the amount of sensory information that is being generated enables people and organisations to improve and enhance experiences as a result of analytics that, in certain respects, do not require advanced statistical knowledge to exploit, as in this surprising application. It is no longer appropriate to speak of “the internet of things”. Instead, we are travelling to the internet of everything.
Thirdly, virtual reality technologies are already transforming the means of communication such that firms have been able to exploit “augmented reality”: Ikea catalogue video and soon also “mixed reality”. See http://www.wired.com/2016/04/magic-leap-vr/
Fourthly, robots will increasingly assume tasks that are especially associated with precision measurement. Various classes of engineering and medical diagnosis were two areas mentioned by Timo as being in the frontline of change, with dramatic consequences for the organization of tasks, the design of organisations and the future of work.
Fifthly, as robots lack empathy and creativity, which are both vital for continued social progress, women will increasingly occupy positions of leadership. Not everyone is as optimistic about this of course, and there is plenty of literature suggesting that we might have good reason to worry about artificial intelligence developing to such an extent that not only would machines be creative thinkers, but that they would also conclude that humans are in fact obsolete. Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk are only two prominent figures among many who are concerned about this. Nevertheless, given that consumer technologies are intended to improve the quality of people’s lives, the ability to empathise with others and develop creative solutions to problems will remain a human responsibility for the foreseeable future.
Sixthly, the example of architecture was used to suggest ways in which creative use of communications technology and digital media affect the way with which we engage the world. Brutalist architecture became fashionable among architects in the 1970s, and was little appreciated by the public, with whom architects had little if any interaction. Instead, classical styles were revived and architecture became “safe”. Then, with the construction of the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain, designed by Frank Gehry, suddenly architecture became exciting again. But this time the technology allows people to interact with it more and appreciate it, explaining why the likes of Gehry and Zaha Hadid have designed structures that have become iconic.
Again, not everyone would be persuaded by such arguments but there is certainly much more experimentation and creativity once again.
And finally, for clues as to where we are headed, ultimately we must identify those areas and issues that cause us pain. It is the pain that will act to inspire the creativity required to develop solutions.
Overall I think Timo is on a track running in at least a similar direction to people like Steve Denning and Roger Martin, whose writings on business and society reject the instant profit “shareholder value” philosophy that is causing so much harm to people, companies and to society as a whole.
His attempt to link developments in experiential and event marketing with more wide-ranging transformations was ambitious and I am not sure that it succeeded entirely. For example, states are devoting significant resources to the development of technologies of mass surveillance and destruction, reminding us that this amazing technology has uses that are not always so pleasant. But all that is beside the point – the point is that these issues are crucially important and require careful, informed consideration, rather than a desperate “investment” in anything called “digital” and then let’s see what happens.
Timo suggested that in Finland people like Jari Sarasvuo seem to be thinking about these questions and trying to develop answers. If that is the case, then it is even more urgent that the next generation of thinkers and doers would rise to the challenge of how to sustain this society and its quality of life. It is too important to leave to just one person – no disrespect to Jari – while too many others in positions of responsibility continue to make a mess.
Having enjoyed a literally global career for almost 10 years since graduation, Timo is convinced more than ever that the education he received here in Finland has prepared him well for the challenges he is facing. He is eager to repay this education with lectures like this and to advise us regarding the likely future directions of development in his fields of expertise. He is a great example of how the opportunities of this education can be both a springboard to career success and a preparation for the lifelong challenge of adapting to and anticipating the accelerating changes taking place in business and society.
Many thanks to Timo, and to all who attended.
Michael Keaney (with Timo Kiuru)