Technology is a material to explore with, catering to our human desire to play and learn. It’s a tool that can adapt to any idea. But often, having an idea is easy; it’s the execution that turns technology into something meaningful.
Consider the media industry, it is arguably the first field massively affected by digitalization. Today, there are some clear trends for the shape of things to come: while people still value journalistic work, journalistic entities need to find new monetization models in order for their business to thrive.
Dutch startup Blendle took this challenge as point of attack. In times when physical newspapers sales continue to drop and many still experiment how they could onboard users with paywalls, Blendle mimics what happened in the music industry. The same way digital changed the concept of an album into a collection of individual and separately buyable tracks, Blendle introduced the “iTunes for newspapers”—a micro-payments marketplace for newspaper and magazine articles. And since micropayments have also proven somewhat complicated, they introduced a new twist: If you didn’t like the article you bought, you would get a refund. This shifts the buying decision moment to the end of the article instead of the beginning. A simple tweak created an entirely new customer journey.
Another media-related startup shaking things up is Cologne-based Oolipo. They started with an open-ended question: people who read fiction had long bought physical or digital books. But with the rise of the mobile age, shorter attention spans, and new forms of media consumption, how would fiction adapt? Co-owned by Bastei Luebbe, one of Germany’s major book publishers, Oolipo stayed away from the creating just another book application. Instead, they began experimenting with renowned authors and asked themselves how storytelling could be evolved for mobile consumption.
We are becoming better equipped to explore what no one has before. Technology is moving from its omnipresence in the foreground to an invisible force in the background, turning into our safety net, and allowing us to look up from our screens to see the world with fresh eyes. Technology will become the enabler of journeys people will truly trust. It’s a lesson we all have already learned from our car navigation systems, for good or bad: No matter where we go, we will never be lost again.