I hope you don’t mind, but this year’s wish is a bit of a deviance from the usual. For the last four years I have asked for a revolution. I think I can safely say that the political and social unrest of 2011 means I got my wish. Whilst the banks and the media houses continue to run the world, revolutions, strikes and campaigns will remain. So with this in mind, asking for a revolution this year is a bit of a wasted wish.
This year, my wish doesn’t look to our offline life; rather our online one. Whilst we are busy playing out our modern day story of the Sherriff of Nottingham against Robin Hood, his merry people and the townsfolk (please cast yourself accordingly), there is another force positioning themselves to take over the world. But first, let me set the scene…
This Christmas Eve, sheltering in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral, Occupy London continues to courageously campaign for equality and justice for all; despite the winter chill and eviction notices. The call of their campaign ringing across the frosted streets of London is for the banks and governments to play fair in the distribution of wealth.
Cut to a Google office somewhere in the world where stairs are helterskelters and chairs oversized mushrooms. As the world gently looks on, we marvel at just how cool Google are and wish we could be just like them. Google’s Alice in Wonderland approach is not only a powerful piece of branding, it has helped change our world.
If we look into Google’s looking glass, what will we see? A great selection of tea and biscuits? Twins who are experts in game design? A plan for world domination..?
A plan for world domination...?
How can an office designed for play and imagination possibly take over the world?
Come on, they’re just a search engine aren’t they?
Play is an important element of education, it helps us test and scaffold knowledge to construct new schemas. But, if you control the knowledge, you control the schema and therefore the people. Today, Google is the main online search engine. This means that they have positioned themselves as the curator of the world’s knowledge. Not only that, they also know us better than our mum.
So we've got a bit of a situation here Santa. We have an advertising company with journalistic capability curating the world’s knowledge whilst enthroned on a global platform. On top of that they know how we think and what we believe. I don’t know about you, but if I was going to take over the world, this would be a prime position. Indeed, if I was in this position, I would be sitting back on my velvet throne, adjusting my golden crown and saying to the banks, checkmate.
Santa, this Christmastime I have a simple wish. To drop into the stockings of the very important people of Google a single red balloon. May this balloon remind them of the creativity and freedom of its user and the need to always distribute knowledge fairly. This way we can co-design our lives and prevent in future years, Occupy Google:
A lot of people in our industry haven't had very diverse experiences. So they don't have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one's understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have. Steve Jobs.-----------------
Reflecting on the year that was 2011