Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Outside In

In a post about the value of bringing an outsider's perspective to your business, the Fast Company blog offers this quote by a dead media critic: "'I don't know who discovered water, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't a fish.'" Pithy. But isn't there a more timely illustration of this point? Why yes there is. And it happens to be discussed at length in today's New York Sun: "The idea of Pajamas Media is to use an extensive network of globally affiliated blogs to provide first-person, in-depth coverage of most major news events." People outside the news media are spearheading an exciting new approach to news media because so few people in news media saw a need. And what's truly amazing is that, as far as I know, none of the people behind Pajamas Media is a McKinsey consultant.

Well, people outside advertising sometimes create the most talked-about ads. And people outside the music industry can still break through. So if you're in these industries -- if this is what you've spent years training for -- are you hosed?

Maybe not. When Jennifer Rice talks about "co-creation," it's easy to think her advice is just for brands. But it's for everyone in the communication, entertainment and service fields. When she writes "a basic human need -- belonging -- is no longer being met. And over the years, consumers stopped having a voice and companies stopped listening," it blends nicely with this point by Newsosaur: "[today's journalists] have lost the common touch that once connected us viscerally with our readers." So yes, bring in the outsider. Preferably before they overtake you. Because when your training or work routine or world view start to isolate or insulate you, others now have the tools to work around you. Sing it with me children, "Reach out and touch somebody's hand. Make your world a better place, if you can."

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