Corsets come off in Downton Abbey. Time they come off for us as well


Copyright is a corset. Time for collaboration

by Peter Watts

Poor Lord Grantham. He has no idea what’s coming. Corsets are about to start coming off all over the place.

World War 1 has changed the Downton landscape of Season Three socially, morally, and economically. Old certainties no longer count. When individuals both upstairs and downstairs within the Abbey try to use those old certainties to exert control over others, the consequences are seldom what they intend.

As presenters we too live in a changed world; one changed by mobile technology.

When audiences can simply film or photo their way through a presentation, it is no longer realistic to pull up an intellectual drawbridge and attempt to hide behind a © copyright symbol. While we may have been born into a world of Intellectual Property fiefdom, the walls that held that fiefdom together crumble a little more each time somebody lifts a smartphone.

Of course one way to handle this might be to ban the use of mobile phones within the audience. If you have ever tried this then you will already know how unsuccessful the approach is.

The corset of “please turn off your mobile phones” no longer works. It’s time for collaboration, not corsets.

When we ring-fence our IP it is because scarcity mentality tells us that if we release this precious idea, we’ll never get another one. Better to lock it away.

Abundance mentality however would tell us that where that idea came from, there are plenty more waiting to be born. Your idea might trigger thoughts in somebody else, and yet another person’s ideas might trigger thoughts in you.

This only happens though, if we let go of © for corset and for copyright, and instead embrace © for collaboration.

Will Lord Grantham learn his lesson by the end of Season Three, because even the Dowager is loosening up her laces.

No longer able to protect the crown jewels from the cameras? Time to embrace them

Prince Harry’s Vegas party proves that cameras are everywhere

by Peter Watts

When delivering presentations, our every glance, gesture, and utterance now has the capacity to be filmed. As Prince Harry has discovered, where there’s a person there’s a phone, where there’s a phone there’s a camera, and where there’s a camera there’s the World Wide Web.

Should we therefore ban phones and their little cameras from the theatre?  No we shouldn’t.  As Joe Waters demonstrates in his piece “10 Ways to Use Smartphones in Presentations”, there are great ways to get all those little toys working in your favor.

It’s a new world. Mobile devices in presentations are here to stay.

We can choose to ignore this fact, but if we do then we’ll simply be burying our little ostrich heads into the sand and with all those phones in the room someone is only going to photograph our bottoms and stick them on the web!

I think the interesting question is not the challenge presented by the audience member who uses a phone to distract themselves. The challenge is presented instead by the audience member who uses their phone to pay the closest attention possible and videos all the key bits of our presentation.

In the past that would have made us unhappy about the potential for loss of Intellectual Property. I’ve certainly worked with organizations for whom this would have given their Legal Departments apoplexy.

That however, was in the days when cameras were large beasties mounted on tripods. While today it might still be just about possible to know when someone is taping, tomorrow, it’s going to be almost impossible to detect.

The days of attempting to protect our crown jewels from the camera are just about over.

We need to work under the assumption that our utterances are heading for the internet and our much prized Intellectual Property along with them. Attempts to make it otherwise will be as futile as Royal attempts to ban the Las Vegas pictures from appearing in the UK when they are already all over the net.

In their 2010 book Macrowikinomics, Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams argue the advantages of open collaboration in a highly connected world. Whether we like it or not, that openness is now upon us.

Let’s embrace it, let’s collaborate, and by doing so let’s dream up ideas and inspirations that have never been dreamt before.

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