2020 Media Futures is an ambitious, multi-industry strategic foresight project designed to understand and envision what media may look like in the year 2020; what kind of cross-platform Internet environment may shape our media and entertainment in the coming decade; and how our firms and organizations can take action today toward capturing and maintaining positions of national and international leadership.
Welcome to the futures of media. The project that you are about to click, tap, download, thumb through, swipe, print, purchase, or otherwise activate is the result of extensive collaboration among Ontario’s creative media cluster, Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab at OCAD University, project funder Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), and our corporate sponsors.
The purpose of 2020 Media Futures is to use open-source strategic foresight for the benefit of the creative cluster — the book, magazine, music, film, television and interactive digital media industries – to help organizations and individuals “future-proof” themselves and their creative livelihoods. These creative professionals include writers, filmmakers, producers, music label executives, game developers, programmers, and other media franchise specialists. To help them prepare for the future, we employed strategic foresight research methods and practices. You can learn about our strategic foresight research methodology and project structure. But before recounting that material, we present the heart of the project, the narrative and contextual scenarios developed through this consultative, participatory process.
These scenarios are the result of analytical and synthetic work described in the pages that follow: horizon scanning for signals and trends in consumer behaviour and the media industries; collaborative workshops with industry experts and professionals; and sense-making exercises led by sLab team members to understand the data that we gathered.
In many ways, the scenarios were the ultimate goal of the project: four unique visions of possible futures that members of the creative cluster could read, critique and engage with. But as we discovered, the research process that led to their writing was its own reward. Ontario’s creative community is diverse, highly opinionated and innovative.
Through our interactions together we gained experiential learning about the needs of these industries, but also a rich understanding of their hopes and fears for the future. Our participants in turn clearly took advantage of opportunities to establish new network connections with one another at our events. We are grateful for the honesty and energy of their contributions to this project.
–Greg Van Alstyne and Madeline Ashby for the Organizers
We wish to acknowledge our network of accomplished partner firms and organizations. Their knowledge, experience, generosity, and brand-name recognition are a source of pride in this endeavor, and without their contribution we could not hope to accomplish our goals.