by Grant McCracken Non-fiction

  • US & Canada Harvard Business School Press (May 2012, Ed. Tim Sullivan, 288 pages)

How Reality TV, John Cheever, a Pie Lab, Julia Child, Fantasy Football... Will Help You Create and Execute Breakthrough Ideas

A Culturematic is a little machine for making culture.

Once wound up and released, the Culturematic acts as a probe into the often-alien world of contemporary culture, to test for atmosphere, to see what life it can sustain, to see who responds and how. Culturematics start small but can scale up ferociously, bootstrapping as they go.

Because they are so inexpensive, we can afford to fire off a variety and number of Culturematics. 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 glean what’s coming next.

In Culturematic, Grant McCracken describes these little machines and helps the reader master them. For the traditional producers of culture, the creators of movies, design, advertising, publishing, magazine, newspapers, and corporate R&D, this book will produce 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 making the world anew.

Examples are drawn from NFL Films, Twitter, the Apple Genius Bar, Starbucks, Ford, SNL Digital Shorts, Restoration Hardware, UNICEF, J. Crew, Pie Lab, USA Networks, and the GEICO gecko.
Culturematic US cover