January 25, 2009

It was Imagined

The in-class presentations of our pseudo-Imagine It presentations were presented earlier this week (Thursday). The quality of the talks surprised me, and I enjoyed hearing the other ideas for adding value.

My four man team was given pencils as our basic object for the exercise. Since the exercise spanned the 2009 Presidential Inauguration and the pencil is a writing utensil, (not as popular as the Pen) we solicited opinions from our friends and professors to see what they thought of the Inauguration. The opinions varied from "I don't give a shit" to "One of the best days in American History." Everyone's opinions were interesting to me because I don't really hear many different opinions about anything.

Getting back to the whole point of the exercise, which was creating value from something as benign as a pencil. We didn't sell the opinions for a profit - so where was the value that we created?

We created social value. Something that cannot directly sold but still improves lives. I say directly because with some work (much work in our case) we could spin the idea into a marketable, profitable piece of intellectual property. Take the example of the "picture a day for a year" meme, and the different ways it has been adapted for more value than social value. Granted that time-lapse commercials have been around for a while, but the picture a day Youtube videos resurrected time-lapse ads.

So we can morph social value into monetary value by getting people to pay to see it or by putting it in a box for people to take home (commercialization). But what if something of purely monetary value is created and social value is drawn from it (decommercialization). This process is a bit trickier.

Take compound interest, something Einstien thought quite highly of, and try to draw social value from it. We can teach people math using it as an example or donate the money to someone in need, but that's stretching.

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