Last week I was talking at CBS to a bunch of students about authenticity and the model I’ve developed. One of the (good) questions is why the notion of authenticity has become so important and wether it’s a new thing or just a phenomenon that has gotten new interest in the light of how society has developed. On friday the International Documentary Filmfestival in Copenhagen opens. The theme is “Return of the Real”, a theme that seems to be more and more visible in the media and in business (or is it just me who’s going slightly mad anbd seeing it everywhere?). Maybe some of the documentaries in the festival has alternative answers to why we seem to feel that authenticity is more important now than before. The trailer for the festival goes something like this:
One of the great documentaries opening this week is “Mechanical Love” by documentarist Phie Ambro which I was lucky to see saturday with production manager Tine Knudsen who has produced a number of the small films we’ve done at STAGIS. Mechanical Love gives a peek into the developing world of androids and geminoids, the main story in the film is Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro at ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories near Kyoto and his work trying to understand how “Sunzai-kan”, presence, can be understood and what makes us feel the presence of another being. As geminoids, copies of people, are developed to be caregivers and represent meaning and constitute human relationships and presence in different situations it becomes important to understand what makes us feel the presence of another being. I find it disturbing and at the same time fascinating but I can certainly see the need as we are entering a historic high of elders who needs more people to take care of them (us, some time in a near future) than what exists.
What I take from it is ofcourse the study of presence which I transfer to organizational identity. How is it that we can feel presence or nearness when we deal with – or even just think of – some companies but not others? Why is it that I feel presence when I think of Apple (who is certainly not more present in my office than the keyboard I am typing on) but don’t feel presence when I think of the company that delivers the electricity that my Mac runs on? Or from the company who delivers the milk i put in my coffee? Yet I feel presence when I think of Elektra who is the company that produced our espresso machine? I am pondering about how we can become better at managing nearness, how we can deliver what feels Real?