The Dream Society: The Coming Shift from Information to Imagination Hardcover – 1 May 1999
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Once upon a time planning for the future was a "staff" function. Over at Global HQ there would be a group of inky-fingered boffs beavering away at a series of "what if?" problems. What if there is a revolution in country X? What if our product turns out to be fatal to our customers? What if our new wonder-technology turns out to be an evolutionary cul-de-sac?
The future was something you could possibly see coming, but the present was where all the action was. Now that's all changed. The future comes at us so fast these days and from so many different directions that it is no longer sufficient for a company just to rely on a look-out with a telescope perched atop the corporate planning function. The whole crew needs to be armed with binoculars, constantly scanning the horizon for brave new worlds of opportunity and hidden threats that can sink an enterprise--no matter how large--in a matter of years or even months.
In short, the future is now a line issue. This and the Millennium explain the extraordinary rise of the futurist industry and the plethora of books dealing with the future.
The Dream Society is the latest and one of the wisest of these tomes. Its thesis is that human society has evolved from the hunter-gatherer era through agricultural and then industrial societies to most recently the information society; but shortly we are to enter the dream society. Its distinguishing characteristic is that in a world of material affluence in which much of current work is rendered obsolete by technology companies will compete through their myths. The product will be secondary and instead the company with the best story will win.
Written by Rolf Jensen, Director of the highly respected academic think-tank The Copenhagen Institute, the book tracks the implications of this observation on corporate and consumer behaviour in the industrialised countries. Companies will become tribes and work will become "hard fun". He writes: "The market for dreams would soon eclipse the market for information-based reality. The market for feelings would eclipse the market for tangible products".
It would be easy to dismiss this as a load of touchy-feely Scandinavian fantasy were it not for its academic rigour and honesty. "The Dream Society is a theory about the future; therefore it cannot be verified", admits Jensen. This book is not a prediction of what will be but a fascinating, thought-provoking discussion of what may be. --Alex Benady
From the Back Cover
How Market Leaders from Disney to Nike Successfully Target Human Emotionsand How Other Companies Can Join Them
The Dream Society reveals the future of business after the Information Age, a future in which the story behind the product will provide the competitive edge. It provides insights into the six major markets that target our basic emotional needs, and discusses how organizations from Disney and Nike to Rolex are supplying information to help consumers satisfy those needs. Thought-provoking and timely, it details the ways in which today's dream society trades on the exciting world of human potential and dreamsand what organizations must do to keep from being left behind.
Praise for The Dream Society:
"A riveting essay on the demands for goods and services ... Well presented and organized, this is highly recommended for academic and corporate libraries."
"The Dream Society is a fresh new way to look at the future and at how businesses need to transform themselves in order to prosper in the 21st century."
Arnold Brown, Noted futurist, Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc.
"Stories have always been the key motivation in making a purchase, fixing a deal, and raising one's level of effectiveness in the world. In the future, leaders will have to become storytellers first and managers second. Rolf Jensen is pointing the way to the future."
Harriet Rubin, Author, The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women
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still the book really mirrors the situation nowadays - 15 years before its time at least - so good you keep on realizing that so
on 19 April 2017
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Despite most of examples being about grand brands and companies that have proven to me irresponsible, and it sometimes could make it very uncomfortable reading this, still the book really mirrors the situation nowadays - 15 years before its time at least - so good you keep on realizing that something should be done, because all this empty emotions, experience, legends, "i don't care about the context", and also lack of strong values and, most important, intelligence will really end up badly very soon. At some point he predicts today perfectly also from his consuming loving old man point of view, it does make it hard to read, sometimes it it terrible how much he likes top brands, but hey - isn't it today?
on 22 July 2000
Having ideas as to what the world will be like twenty years from now requires a special talent. The author has this talent and has made it his profession to sell scenarios for the future to companies. Most people will find new ideas in this book. The main theme is that affluent people will buy products with a "dream" attached to it and not so much based on value for money. This is in itself nothing new. People buy a Rolex not because they want to know the time but because Rolex tells other people something about the wearer. This is true for all branded goods. The new point is that the importance of the story will escalate very rapidly. When the Danes read about the terrible conditions in which chickens laid eggs the effect was that the market share for free-range eggs became 50% even though they cost more. An interesting finding is that around 80% of affluent persons will switch brands or supplier if they do not like the supplier's moral behaviour. Shell experienced this very dramatically when it wanted to sink the Brent Spar platform in the sea. As a consequence companies have to take "political/moral" positions, something which many companies find uncomfortable. The author also suggests that people will invest in stocks of companies with a reputation or "story" they like. This does not mean that profit-performance no longer matters. It does but it is not sufficient. Another interesting observation is that Karl Marx prediction of the capital belonging to the people is starting to become true though not in the way Marx predicted. The capital increasingly consists of knowledge and competence of the employees and not of the investment in hardware and other capital employed. He sees companies becoming tribes with shared values and fun. People having fun when working contribute far more than those working because they have to. He refers to "hard fun". It will be hard work that is fun. Lord Simon recently retired chairman of BP AMOCO says "part of the leadership role is generating excitement for other people". "You should know how to give the buzz to other people". The hard part, " I am a strong advocate of hard targeting, benchmarking and competition " (The New Global Leaders) The book is not particularly systematic. There are overlaps between chapters. Also the subjects in a chapter can be a bit of a jumble. This did not disturb me because this book is great for getting ideas.
on 15 April 2000
I stumbled onto this book at work - the idea of storytelling was becoming increasingly. We had already started using scenarios to express sometimes difficult and complex concepts to a multitude of audience types and this is so much better. Rolf Jensen's original article written back in '96 - is like a blinding flash of light - no doubt then too far ahead of its time like the internet fridge was back in '94! The book may get oversentimental in its tone towards the end but I urge you very strongly to read it. Then you can see where Nordstrom and Riddestrale got their ideas.....and the rest.
on 9 June 1999
Why do some people buy a watch at $ 10.000, when you can get a much more precise one at $ 10? Because time is not the essential thing - it's about dreams, lifestyles and adventure. Why is the automobile the "New Beetle" such a big success? Because it looks almost like the old one (apart from new technology). Why is the movie "Titanic" the greatest blockbuster of our time? Because it's a story about a ship, a journey into nostalgia, feelings and lifestyles of persons 87 years ago. Dreams, stories, lifestyles, feelings, adventure, nostalgia, care - you'll get all the questions and answers in this well-written and provocative book about the next 25 years in the affluent societies. It's difficult to find arguments against the many examples and facts in this amazing book. Just to mention two examples: according to the author, doctors will gradually be replaced by automation within the health care sector, but nurses will get their golden age because of the explosive need to provide for care in the coming years. And: "The story can be told with a whole range of products, the product themselves being secondary". This is the reason why people buy Marlboro, Nike, BMW, Rolex and other brands at a price many times the price for other more unknown products. There is always a story behind: adventure(Marlboro-man), lifestyle (Nike) or nostalgia (BMW-oldtimers). This well-structured book is not about utopia, it's about the changing patterns of our daily lives, and it's already happening...
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