Storythings 10

In 2011, Matt Locke started Storythings. It began as a vehicle for him to take on consultancy work, but soon expanded: in 2014 Hugh Garry joined as a Director, and in 2017 I did. We like to say we help good people tell important stories in fascinating ways, and we have. Over the last 10 years, Storythings has worked on strategy and production on a variety of communications projects: digital versions of static PDF reports, graphic comics, animated videos, online magazines that publish original long-form journalism from across the globe, first-person documentary films, podcasts, animated posters and everything in between. 

Starting it all off for Storythings in 2011 was a project called Pepys Road, created for the release of the book ‘Capital’ by John Lanchester, which featured a fictional road called Pepys Road (though it turns out Pepys Road does actually exist in South London!). We worked with the amazingly talented James Bridle and Dean Vipond to create an email-based Choose Your Own Adventure story that took you through some of the alternative realities touched on in the book, which is set in London just after a financial crash (sound familiar?). Unfortunately, the official website for the project is no longer live, but Dean Vipond explains the project here, Dazed Magazine interviewed James Bridle about it here, and Frank Rose interviewed Matt about it here, if you’d like to go back in history. 

Fast forward 10 years and it’s 2021, the time when Pepys Road’s fictional stories were actually set. A conversation with Matt just as I was returning from maternity leave at the beginning of 2021 was the seed of the idea for our 10th anniversary project: why not commemorate our work on Pepys Road, where John Lanchester wrote multiple alternative scenarios for what the reader might find happens to them in the UK in a few years’ time, by commissioning authors from around the world to write original fiction about what the world might be like 10 years from now, around 2031? That would take us from 2011 to 2021 to 2031, Storythings-style. 

We’ve done some very wide-ranging work in the last 10 years (to name a few: How We Get To Next for the Gates Foundation, Identities of the World for Experian, Nevertheless and Standing on the Shoulders for Pearson, Rethink Quarterly for ADP, How To Build An App for Google & Tom Scott, Top 10 Frontier Technologies for Climate Action for IMC, Brink and the Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office, Minds and Machines for Nesta). And we felt that our 10th anniversary was a unique chance to showcase how our thinking has diversified and grown in the last 10 years. 

We haven’t just commissioned original short fiction though – we’ve decided to take them further and commissioned talented people from across industries to comment on them in specific formats, which is our special thing (see: Formats Unpacked). You’ll see the responses below each original story, taking the original stories even further – we thought it was fascinating how people with expertise in the domains the stories covered could expound on the themes in those ways. The kinds of stories and writers we have commissioned for this project (a note: all our writers and artists are paid) are truly representative of the kind of work we like to do, and a celebration of who we are. 

So it was with a lot of pleasure (and for me personally a TON of excitement!) that we launched Storythings 10 in November 2021, a series of short works of fiction set in 2031. The stories, and the writers, represent a truly diverse set of countries and topics: the writers come from South Korea, India, Jordan, USA, UK, Spain, Australia and Bolivia, and the subjects they touch on include digital identity, health, politics, climate, culture, education, technology, media and careers. 

The stories will make you think about questions like: What will our healthcare system be like in a post-pandemic world? What will it *really* be like to wear augmented reality glasses all the time? What will it be like when humans damage the Earth beyond repair? How beautiful can a robot’s thoughts be – are they always boring because robots are not human? 

The future, as William Gibson says, is already here. It’s just unevenly distributed, and in these writers’ works maybe you can see these different yet similar futures for humanity. 

Here is the roster of writers we worked with on this project, whose talent and creativity know no bounds. If you’re looking for writers, we highly recommend them:

Original fiction

Night Farm by Maria Anderson (USA)

Maria Anderson’s fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly, Sewanee Review, and Best American Short Stories 2018. She has been awarded residencies from Jentel, Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and Joshua Tree National Park. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram. She grew up on a cattle ranch in southwestern Montana.

Your Cup Runneth Over by Lavanya Lakshminarayan (India)

Lavanya Lakshminarayan is the BSFA and Locus Award-nominated author of ‘Analog/ Virtual: And Other Simulations Of Your Future’. She’s also been shortlisted for the Times of India AutHer Award for Best Author Debut. In her other life as a game designer, she’s worked on Zynga Inc.’s FarmVille, FarmVille 2 and Mafia Wars. Her forthcoming publications include a short story in the Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction (Volume 2), and a novelette in the anthology, Third Eye. Follow her on Instagram: @lavanya.ln and Twitter: @lavanya_ln

Undullah Street by Ellen van Neerven (Australia)

Ellen van Neerven (they/them) is an award-winning author, editor and educator of First Nations Australian and Dutch heritage. They belong to the Yugambeh Nation and live in Meanjin (Brisbane) on the unceded land of the Turrbal and Yugera peoples. Ellen writes fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Their books include Throat (2020), Heat and Light (2014) and Comfort Food (2016). They edited Flock: First Nations Stories Then and Now (2021).

Madrid, 2031 by Maria Bonete Escoto (Spain)

María Bonete Escoto (Elche, 1993) is a Spanish writer based in Madrid. She participated in the climate fiction anthology ‘Estío. Once relatos de ficción climática’ (Episkaia, 2018), has published the short climate gothic novel ‘No hay tierra donde enterrarme’ (Episkaia, 2019) and has a short story in the anthology ‘El Gran Libro de Satán’ (Blackie Books, 2021). She writes non-fiction about the relationship between videogames and culture as well, and you can read her work in Heterotopias Zine, Revista Manual and Nivel Oculto. She is on Twitter as @flowersdontlast.

The Confession by Krys Lee (South Korea)

Krys Lee is the author of the story collection Drifting House and the novel How I Became a North Korean, and the translator of I Hear Your Voice and the story collection Diary of a Murderer by Young-ha Kim. She has won the Rome Prize in Literature and the Story Prize Spotlight Award, the Honor Title in Adult Fiction Literature from the Asian/Pacific American Libraries Association, and was a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the BBC International Story Prize. She currently teaches creative writing at Yonsei University, Underwood International College in Seoul, South Korea.

Three in One by Hisham Bustani (Jordan), translated by Nariman Youssef

Hisham Bustani is an award-winning Jordanian author of five collections of short fiction and poetry. His work has been translated into many languages, with English-language translations appearing in journals including The Kenyon Review, Black Warrior Review, The Georgia Review, The Poetry Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, World Literature Today, and The Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly. His fiction has been featured in The Best Asian Short Stories among other anthologies. His book The Perception of Meaning (Syracuse University Press, 2015) won the University of Arkansas Arabic Translation Award. Hisham was the 2017 recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Fellowship for Artists and Writers, and his second book in English translation, The Monotonous Chaos of Existence, is forthcoming in 2022 from Mason Jar Press. He occasionally tweets @H_Bustani.

Nariman Youssef (@nariology) is a Cairo-born, London-based semi-freelance translator with an MA in Translation Studies from the University of Edinburgh. She works between Arabic and English and part-time manages a translation team at the British Library. Literary translations include Inaam Kachachi’s The American Granddaughter, Donia Kamal’s Cigarette No. 7, contributions in Words Without Borders, The Common, Banipal magazine, and poetry anthologies Beirut39 and The Hundred Years’ War.

Robot Poet by Edmundo Paz-Soldan (Bolivia/ USA), translated by Roy Youdale

Edmundo Paz-Soldán (Bolivia, 1967) teaches Latin American literature at Cornell University (Ithaca, New York). He has published twelve novels, among them Norte (2011), and Allá afuera hay monstruos (2021), and five short-story books, among them and Las visiones (2016); His novels have been translated to twelve languages. He has won the international Juan Rulfo award for the short story and the National Book Award (Bolivia). He is working on a book of short stories on the impact of technological change today. He is on Twitter and Instagram as @edpazsoldan. 

Roy Youdale completed a PhD in literary translation in 2017 at Bristol University and a book based on his thesis, Using computers in the translation of literary style: challenges and opportunities, was published by Routledge in 2019. As a case study for both the thesis and the book Roy undertook a complete translation into English of the Uruguayan writer Mario Benedetti’s novel, Gracias por el Fuego (1965). His co-translation with Nick Caistor of another short story by Edmundo Paz Soldán, ‘The dictator and the greetings cards’, will shortly be published in the Los Angeles Review.

Glass Cage by Gita Ralleigh (UK)

Gita Ralleigh is a writer and NHS doctor born to Indian immigrant parents in London. She won the Wasafiri new writer’s prize in 2013 and has been published by Bellevue Literary Review, The Emma Press and Magma Poetry. She teaches creative writing to science undergraduates and has an MA in Creative Writing as well as an MSc on the intersection of literature with medicine. Her debut poetry collection A Terrible Thing is published by Bad Betty Press. You can find her on Twitter as @storyvilled.


As we were thinking about how to extend the impact of these stories, we also worked with academics, professionals and entrepreneurs in fields that the stories were about, to get them to comment on the stories in different ways. 

You can read all the stories here

We hope they give you as much food for thought as they have given us during the process of presenting this work to you. If you’d like to work with us on stories or series like this, or bring to life other amazing stories that no doubt happen regularly in your organisations, get in touch

Here’s to the next 10 years! If you’d like to stay in the loop about our work and get weekly recommendations for things to look at that pique our interest, please sign up to our newsletter here, and if you’d like to us unpack formats of different kinds every week with our community, sign up to our Formats Unpacked newsletter here. We’d also love to hear your thoughts about the stories and the response formats – do get in touch with us on Twitter, LinkedIn or we’re always available via email

See you around!

Koreo Prize: Do you know any smart young people in the UK aged 18-27?

I’m really pleased to be a judge for the inaugural Koreo Prize, a competition to encourage young people in the UK aged 18-27 to explore some of the most pressing issues of our time.

The Koreo Prize is a national storytelling competition for young people to unlock fresh takes on some of the complex social issues affecting the UK, using any combination of media. A UK first, we’re asking participants to choose one or more of six issues aligned with the UN’s Global Goals: gender equality, social mobility, food security, community resilience, wellbeing & social housing.

This competition is open to anyone between 18 and 27, there are no right or wrong answers – just a unique exploration of the issues! Plus, entrants get to be part of a community of emerging young thinkers whilst having the opportunity to win £5,000, paid work placements, free learning opportunities, tickets to global conferences, and mentoring opportunities.

The deadline for submissions is 4 April 2017 and will be judged by a panel of experts from across the public, private and non-profit sectors, including yours truly.

If you know anyone who fits the bill, do encourage them to apply! More info on the website.

My favourites from the Designs of the Year 2016

I went to the Designs of the Year exhibition a couple of weeks ago at the recently-reopened Design Museum. The annual exhibition is something I’ve been visiting for a few years now. There’s always some extremely inspiring stuff -some commercial, some clearly not as commercial – but all worth knowing about. Here are my picks of the exhibition:

Lumos Helmet: To be clear, I’m not a bike rider, but the incidences of bike accidents on the roads of London have been alarming lately. The Lumos Helmet began, as many of these projects do, as a Kickstarter project, and ‘beautifully integrates lights, hard brake, turn signals, and helmet into a single cohesive whole’.

The Bottom Ash Observatory: I’ve never thought of municipal waste as a thing to spend time thinking about (beyond its sustainable disposal), but Christien Meindertsma has published a book showing the richness she was able to extract from ‘100 kilos of incinerated household and industrial waste: the “waste of waste.”’

The Smog Free Project: Daan Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Project is a 7-meter-high structure that effectively functions as the largest air purifier in the world, ‘creating a circular zone of clean air for citizens to experience and enjoy’. It cleans ‘30,000 cubic meters per hour using ozone-free ion technology and a small amount of green electricity’. Currently installed in Beijing and Rotterdam, I know many a city that needs multiple versions of this. Admittedly it helps clean up, instead of forcing people to acknowledge the issue in the first place – but maybe that can be an evolution of it.

Hello Ruby: I heard about this when it first came out (again a Kickstarter project, but back in 2014) so it was nice to reacquaint myself with it here. Hello Ruby is a children’s book for those aged 5 or over that teaches them to code in a fun way.

Joto: This is such a brilliant idea, and I know I sound like a parrot here but it also came from Kickstarter (public launch due in 2017). It’s an internet-connected Etch-a-Sketch, or in other words, you can draw or send messages from the web to a frame on your wall. Super creative.

Refugee Republic: Premiered at the Amsterdam documentary festival IDFA in 2014 and winner of a Dutch Design Award in 2015, Refugee Republic is an interactive documentary about life in a Syrian refugee camp in Domiz, Northern Iraq. A really immersive way to get your head around some of the human stories playing out even as we speak.

Design That Saves Lives, Bangladesh: When the Rana Plaza collapse happened in 2013 killing over 1000 people, I was only too aware of the risk of something like that happening multiple times a day in crowded cities that I’m familiar with, like Delhi. So I was immensely relieved to see the work of Arup’s Ireland office in Bangladesh in the months following the collapse: a structural safety assessment that now helps to save thousands of lives.

MTV’s Martin Luther King Day media campaign #thetalk: I missed this when it came out in 2015, but it appealed to my time in a media agency as one of the most creative ways to get an important message across using TV. On MLK Day, MTV telecast all their programmes in black and white, prompting discussion of race by their target audience, millennials.

Post/Biotics by Vidhi Mehta: A project by an RCA student in Innovation Design Engineering, this project aims to draft the public into helping to test natural substances that might be able to function as antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is becoming a huge challenge to scientists the world over – in fact it is also the focus of the £10 million Longitude Prize. Post/Biotics is a very low-touch way of working on this problem, and reminds me of campaigns like Cancer Research’s Genes in Space mobile game, where players were drafted to find a solution to cancer.

Stop wasting money on digital projects if you aren’t prepared to promote them properly by @marthasadie via @storythings

This post by Martha Henson is worth reading if you work in media in any format today, because whether you like it or not digital is part of what you do. Thanks to Storythings for the HT. Read the whole thing, I’m just going to pull this bit out:

Stop wasting money on digital projects if you aren’t prepared to promote them properly.

I’m serious. Do NOT embark on any digital project if you aren’t going to at least make a decent effort to tell people about it or otherwise figure out how people are going to see it.

If you are going to make an in-gallery app but only have room for a small piece of signage and no budget or space for print promotion, do not bother. If you are going to create a game and put it on your website and think maybe your organisation might be able to muster up a single tweet and facebook post about it, give up now. If you are creating an amazing interactive video experience but the entire budget is going on production and you’ve run out of money to market it, stop.

Source: Stop wasting money on digital projects if you aren’t prepared to promote them properly

Awesomeness vs. suckiness

I started off reading this essay a bit curious about what it could actually *be* about. With a subtitle like ‘Why, in the entire history of human life, did awesomeness become the great virtue of our age (and suckiness its vice)?‘ you can’t blame me. And then it was on Aeon, an otherwise fairly staid, philosophical, rational magazine. Sort of like an Onion article but in a publication like the Economist, if you know what you mean. I was intrigued.

Suffice to say it’s an awesome piece. Read the article to know how that’s actually the biggest compliment anyone can give it.

In particular, I liked the way Nick Riggle positions suckiness:

The deepest suckiness comes from a kind of bad faith, from a false sense of culture and community as a static or grey thing, simply there whenever you need it, your bottomless source of connection. The sucky person doesn’t understand that social bonds need light and water and nutrients. They aren’t something you can just pay for and find waiting on Netflix. This kind of existential disposition to suck is the kind that can do more than cast a pall over a party or add a sour note to an otherwise beautiful connection. It can actually make others feel that the spirit of awesomeness is not worth tapping into, that being game is not essential, or that you can just let others bring everyone together. It can make one cynical and unenthusiastic. It’s the black hole of the suckiverse.

All in all, the piece captures not only a bit of modern language but the behaviour that makes its usage so much a part of modern fabric: the universal human need to celebrate the positive, and the reason why we want to do it: because we all have an ‘existential disposition to suck’. The Netflix analogy of suckiness is excellent – very ‘instant gratification’, which despite awesomeness being a modern thing, it isn’t – its impact is something that’s much longer lasting. Is the need for instant gratification sucky? Yes, in a way, I suppose – and I’m often guilty of it.

Made me think of the tools and services we use to try and be more awesome, and less sucky. That’s one of the simplest ways of explaining the success of many apps, I’ll wager!

‘Oculus Rift on a morphine drip’

There’s a really interesting interview that KPCB’s John Doerr does with Netflix’ Reed Hastings up as a Product Hunt podcast. Here are some quotable quotes:

On advice for people working in startups or big companies:

You’ve got to be authentic. You have no hope if you pretend to be Reed Hastings or Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. You’ve really got to get comfortable with yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. People are inspired by authenticity – I’m surprised by how many people feel like they’re acting, or try to act. You may be quiet and that’s fine. But if you have that fierce will for the institution to be great and your own role is secondary, and you authentically accept that in whatever you do, then you will be greatly accepted.

On what Reed Hastings thinks is in store for the future of Netflix:

When we think about what’s going to be disrupt Netflix: probably internet streaming is like electricity, where it’s got a couple of 100 years’ run. It’s unlikely (to disappear) as it’s a substrate foundation on which things are built on top. The likely case is that some new form of entertainment that’s so compelling – (people will) come to look at in the same way (as they do) movies & TV shows, to be like a novel. But what everyone is doing – is like an Oculus Rift with a morphine drip. So you compare that experience against watching a good TV show – it’s uneven odds. But eventually there’ll be some tech-based entertainment forms that supplant movies and TV shows.

This is the interesting thing about Netflix (I’m currently finishing Jessica Jones, having just finished The Good Wife and just started Master of None) – they’re riding each wave of consumer consumption so pragmatically, rooted no doubt in this belief that the internet is going to be like air if it isn’t already (i.e for most countries where broadband is not a luxury). I find it fascinating he mentioned the Rift, and won’t be surprised if we see a Rift-enabled series at some point in the future.

I remember the days I used to post Netflix DVDs back and forth to their warehouse to get my next movie fix in New York, and now I sit and binge-watch TV shows at home straight from a smart TV. The times, they sure are a-changin’.

You can listen to the podcast here.

10 random things I learnt in 2015

I’ve been meaning to do a list like this for a few years, and thought it was high time I started. It’s obviously not ALL I’ve learnt (or at least I hope not!) but it was actually HARD to put down in writing what exactly I could recall in terms of trivia gleaned from the year. In no particular order, here is a random list. Maybe there are things in there you weren’t aware of either?

I’ve decided to present them as Jeopardy-style questions.

  1. What are Fostat fragmentsHow did I come across this? The Fabric of India exhibition at the V&A Museum, London (on till January 10th, 2016)
  1. What is a cinquainHow did I come across this? While watching The West Wing, Season 4, Episode 14 (The Inauguration – Part 1). There are tons of things I learnt from this show – just didn’t note them all down, unfortunately!
  1. Why do most people suffer from the Barry Manilow effectHow did I come across this? While reading ‘Why we can’t get over ourselves’ in Nautilus.
  1. What is an infinite procedurally generated galaxy and how would it work? How did I come across this? At the Designs of the Year exhibition 2015, which featured the game No Man’s Sky developed by Hello Games, the most evolved example of this technology in action.
  1. What is zemblanity in the context of technology? How did I come across this? This is a HUGE one. I saw Venkatesh Rao speak about his work and theses Breaking Smart this year, where he explained it a bit (I haven’t even finished reading all of it, so this post serves as a useful reminder to myself to do that). Essentially zemblanity is the antonym of serendipity, if such a thing exists. His point was that we need to get to the best of technology by trying different things – if done right, we chance upon amazing things serendipitously, if we’re unlucky we find things that are not so great in an episode of zemblanity – which is when we should change course and use the technology for something else altogether. He created this useful list of links if you want to explore zemblanity and serendipity some more.
  1. What is sisuHow did I come across this? The aforementioned talk by Venkatesh Rao.
  1. Who created sanisettes, or superloos, on the streets of Paris and London? How did I come across this? A presentation by Mr. Jean-Charles Decaux, Co-CEO and part of the J.C. Decaux family, at a glitzy event earlier this year.
  1. What is Martian poetryHow did I come across this? While reading this interview with Martin Amis in the Paris Review.
  1. What is chaos defrostHow did I come across this? In this Guardian piece about microwaves.
  1. What is a Cadillac insurance planHow did I come across this? There was a lot of discussion this year about Obamacare, and it cropped up in many of the online reports, such as this one. And no, I hadn’t heard the term used before.

Self-exuberance vs. bragging in the age of social media

One of my colleagues at work recently pointed me to this music video by CharliXCX from earlier in the year. There are some interesting graphics, which really adds to the point of the video (whether it’s sarcastic or serious is up to the viewer!): that selfie culture is going overboard.

On a related note, I read this psychology paper recently (thank you Ged) where Irene Scopelliti (Cass Business School, City University London), George Loewenstein (Department of Social & Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University), and Joachim Vosgerau (Department of Marketing, Bocconi University) describe a series of experiments they did looking at the gap between what *people think* others think of them when they share positive news on social media, and what others *actually think*.

I was unsurprised by the results. To clarify, I’m not a big user of Facebook socially (I use it for work a bit). I do use Twitter a lot though, and I’m starting to feel uneasy about the self-promotional activity that I do on Twitter myself (yes, I do do it, because I like hiding behind the screen instead of doing it in person and Twitter feels less of an imposition on people than Facebook because my connections on Facebook are people I know in real life, versus Twitter where connections are more anonymous – think of that what you will).

Anyway, the research finds that:

self-promoters overestimate the extent to which their self-promotion elicits positive emotions and underestimate the extent to which it elicits negative emotions. As a consequence, when seeking to maximize the favorability of the opinion others have of them, people engage in excessive self-promotion that has the opposite of its intended effects, decreasing liking with no positive offsetting effect on perceived competence.

There are influencing factors: how well you know the person who is sharing this information and cross-cultural influences in how a braggart is perceived, for example. The solution, according to the research? Get others to brag on your behalf, which is another often-observed behaviour on social media, from my experience.

That’s not going to sort selfie culture though. That’s just narcissism, which social media fuels, in my opinion! ‘Contrived perfection made to get attention’, as Essena O’Neill, the teen Instagram star who quit the social platform a few months ago, declared. She got hate for it, of course, and definitely still uses some social media to further her much more purposeful new project Lets Be Game Changers, so take it with a pinch of salt.

You can snap that selfie now – share it with people you know, but think twice about posting it on Facebook if you have a large extended circle of friends! Maybe your mum will share it for you on Facebook, though – the ideal outcome.

Salman Rushdie and the sea of ideas


It was a pleasure listening to Salman Rushdie earlier this week in London, on his latest book Two years, eight months and twenty-eight days. Some things he said that I noted down (I am paraphrasing most of it):

On there being a lot of pop culture in the book: ‘I wanted to write a contemporary book. You then need to know what people are thinking about, and talking about, and what they like.’

On the advice he gives to students of writing: ‘One thing I tell students is to try and get into as many different kinds of rooms to hear as many different kinds of conversations as possible. Because otherwise how will you find things to put in your books?’

On New York: ‘One of the great things about the literature of New York is that it’s the literature of arrival. There aren’t a lot of people in New York who have been born and brought up there’ – the point being the richness of stories, and kinds of people, that such a landscape offers to the writer.

These are all beautiful points for anyone working on building a brand to think about: what matters to your audience in the here and now (not according to research done last year)? What kinds of new experiences can you give them – and how will you arrive at these ideas if you are chained to your desk most of the time? And finally, how are you catering to the variety of personalities you might want to talk to?

Think about it.

Labs: to be or not to be

The latest issue of NESTA’s The Long & Short has a really interesting read on innovation labs in the social and political arena through the years. Specifically, this stood out:

Type the term “social lab” into Google’s N-Gram and you will see two spikes in its usage in the 20th century: the Depression, and the oil crisis of the 70s. It’s not difficult to see the attraction that labs promising to prototype the future hold when current institutions are failing – and whose very failure generates for labs (like their close relatives, the thinktank and the startup) a vast gene pool of talent in today’s reserve army of the underemployed. Here at the fag-end of our own lost decade it’s perhaps wise to ask whether we are poised on the cusp of a new golden age of experimentalism, or rapidly approaching Peak Lab?

There are lessons for marketing labs no doubt. The article indicates that social labs came up at a time when underemployment was rampant. I plotted the growth of ‘innovation labs’, ‘advertising labs’ and ‘marketing labs’ from 2005-2015 on Google Trends. The results for ‘advertising labs’ were too small to be of significance compared to the other two. I excluded ‘media labs’ because the results were too many (prompted by searches of institutions like MIT Media Lab, I’d assume).


Anyhow, ‘marketing labs’ peaked as a search term around mid-2009 when the economic recession was in full flow (meaning one of the article’s theses makes sense). ‘Innovation labs’ peaked in June this year. Doesn’t indicate good news on the global economy front.

I think we’re hitting Peak Lab indeed, and that innovation needs to be folded into the larger business as a core objective if it is to make any difference. Otherwise it’s all an exercise in vanity – and besides, I’d say the economy needs innovation to work and not stay an experiment.