Culturematic – Grant McCracken


Cover art for CulturematicWelcome to Culturematic. A Culturematic is a little machine for making culture. It’s an ingenuity engine. Once wound up and released, the Culturematic acts as a probe into the often-alien world of contemporary culture, to test the atmosphere, to see what life it can sustain, to see who responds and how. Culturematics start small but can scale up ferociously, bootstrapping themselves as they go. Because they are so inexpensive, we can afford to fire off a multitude of Culturematics simultaneously. This is evolutionary strategy, iterative innovation, and rapid prototyping all at once. Culturematics are fast, cheap, and out of control. Perhaps as important, they fail early and often. They are the perfect antidote to a world where we cannot guess what’s coming next. In “Culturematic,” anthropologist Grant McCracken describes these little machines and helps the reader master them. Examples are drawn from NFL Films, Twitter, the Apple Genius Bar, Starbucks, Ford, SNL Digital Shorts, Restoration Hardware, UNICEF, J. Crew, Pie Lab, USA Network, and the GEICO gecko. For the traditional producers of culture–the creators of movies, design, advertising, publishing, magazines, newspapers, and corporate R&D–this book will inspire new innovation and creativity. For the emerging producers of culture–the digital players–this book will serve as a practical handbook. “Culturematic”: our app for creating the world anew.

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