Personalized Innovation in a Workless Future

Innovation is a Workless FutureOn average someone works about 200 days a year. As more and more of our workload becomes automated, made redundant by new technology, the number of work days will fall, basic necessities like food and health care provided as a human right. What will we do with all this free time? What will replace labor as that which adds value and hence profit in a business transaction? In the case of the latter the unit of currency and value will be the click or likes button.

Personalized Innovation

This is already happening. Chris Hadfield was the first Canadian to walk in space, known mostly to the avid followers of the scientific study of space and sci-fi enthusiasts. That changed when he decided to make a short video of an old David Bowie song from over 40 years ago, Space Oddity. The video went viral on YouTube with over 22 million views,  Hadfield went from being a relativity unknown astronaut to an international icon, the face of space. He appeared on television shows, live events and has a book on the New York Times best seller lists. He is sought by journalists, advertising agencies, universities, corporate events, clicks and likes are his value proposition, he has become a brand, not for his bravery or brains or as the first Canadian to walk in space but for singing a song. I call this personalized innovation.

The seminal figure for personalized innovation, one destined to be studied by future students in business schools is Kim Kardashian. In mid June 2014, she was pictured smartly dressed and bra-less pushing her new born in a stroller. She looked and dressed beautifully, the picture appeared in Time magazine and on their website, in short order, it went viral. A picture and audience response any product manager in the new- born market or post-maternity beauty and fashion markets only dreams of.

Kim Kardashian has no outstanding abilities but one, she parlayed herself into a brand, as did Chris Hadfield. What they and others who have made themselves into brands understand is that narcissism is not a vice, but a necessary virtue to excel, along with the imagination, street savvy and creativity to implement.

Fame is the New Currency

Fame is the new currency, it trumps wealth, power or brains. Consider, you are opening a new restaurant or rolling out a new product, you  want to create a buzz,  you have a choice of Mitt Romney  former presidential candidate,  Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, Tim Berners-Lee inventor the World Wide Web or  Kim Kardashian. Which one will bring out the cameras, create a buzz, get the clicks and likes, go viral, Kim Kardashian. In one sense this is nothing new. It was Nelson Mandela’s fame that brought down the apartheid government in South Africa, Gandhi’s fame that won independence for India, fame applied in a connected work-less world can neutralize weapons, wealth, and power.

So in the coming work-less world the most important innovation is the one you see reflected in the mirror.

Editor’s note: See companion article The Coming Workless Future

image credits: Sky News;

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Peter DoylePeter Doyle is an award winning media marketing, news and documentary producer using rich media to accelerate innovation and commercialization. Check me out at

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