Leo Burnett's Szewczyk Offers Advice Coping with Technological Change
Picture this: You’re sitting in your kitchen with your spouse, reminiscing about a trip to Italy. Internet-enabled sensors around you are listening to your conversation, automatically and predictively making reservations and other arrangements.
In the future, we may not even need to type; we will send messages back and forth using brainwaves. “We won’t need technology because we will be technology,” said VP, Director of Emerging Technology & Innovation, at the inaugural Distinguished Leader Session, “The Future of People, Technology, and Advertising,” held Monday morning.
Szewczyk looked at how much people, technology, and communication have changed in the 10 years since the iPhone was launched in 2007, and then looked ahead at coming changes in connectivity (“Li-Fi” is visible light-based networking that is 100 times faster than Wi-Fi), advances in artificial intelligence that may allow phones to understand what they are looking at, the growing predictive nature of commerce, and the next generation of the Internet of Things.
What is the role of print in this future? “Print becomes relevant by being a bridge between offline and online,” said Szewczyk. Think augmented reality (AR). He cited the recent partnership between Google Home and Condé Nast and the voice-activated printed links in the September issue of Vogue, where readers can “talk to the magazine.”
How to prepare for technological change? A strategy that Leo Burnett uses is “scenario planning,” or “exploring and engaging with an uncertain future,” said Szewczyk. “What if everything is listening to me?” “Horizon scanning” is always keeping an eye on what is out there and always experimenting. “If you’re a brand, allocate 10% of your budget to test how consumers respond to different types of technology,” he advised. Advice we should all heed.