A Literacy of the Imagination

a deeper look at innovation through the lenses of media, technology, venture investment and hyperculture

My Keynote on Transmedia & Storytelling in the New World Economy #Gulltaggen 2010

It’s a long speech (about an hour) and a bit tangential at times, but I hope you can take something from it, and my own story, that is unique to you.

“Gunther Sommerfeld” is now my stage name in Norway – hilarious to see the Norwegian version of your name 40 feet high and up in lights. Also, don't worry, I'm not talking about the "New World Order" as Helge describes in his intro. No need to get Orwellian on anybody.

The Gulltaggen event was an unbelievable experience, and is the premiere digital conference in Scandinavia. You should’ve seen the awards show... at one point, I thought I was at the Grammys! (Not my kind of music, but hey...)

I also had the fortunate pleasure of getting to know the other speakers such as Sir Richard Branson, Guy Kawasaki, Mitch Joel, Mike Walsh, Gary Vaynerchuck, Jonathan Harris and a host of other influential folks.

Great people, with great visions of the future. Just recently, Mitch was kind enough to include me in one of his podcasts, and I’m sure we will be friends for a very long time.

Funny short story: my wife and I had sushi dinner with Guy the night before my keynote and we were eating whale (Beluga, I believe), which is a delicacy in Norway. Guy, of course, took a twitpic of the feast and tweeted it out. Within minutes – maybe even seconds – Guy was hit with a flood of angry tweets from environmentalists and animal rights activists. Well... We all know the power of social media, and Guy had a tough time digging himself out of that situation, despite the fact that he is one of the nicest, earnest and most humble people you’ll ever meet.

Speaking of being humbled, I have been touched by the generosity and support of many “transmedialists” in the storytelling space, including Jeff Gomez (BTW, my apologies on the error in the speech, Jeff grew up on the lower east side of Manhattan, not Brooklyn), Stephen Dinehart, Ivan Askwith, Mike Monello, Robert Pratten and Scott Walker, just to name a few.

Storytelling, or storymaking, is a discipline that is adaptive, constantly emerging and should be embraced by all of us. It saddens me, at times, to see different camps bicker over the meaning of transmedia or crossmedia or intermedia... We should focus our efforts on changing the world by using stories to expose cultural mores and in inspiring people to redefine their roles in society.

Keep up the good fight – it has only just begun.