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Finding Insights in an Unpredictable World

Oscar Assumptions – A Thought Exercise

Oscar Assumptions – A Thought Exercise

This Sunday (February 24) marks the 85th annual Academy Awards. Despite being America’s largest entertainment event the Awards have hemorrhaged nearly 20 million viewers since 1998. In an attempt to reverse the trend, and draw in youth viewers, the Academy chose Seth MacFarlane to host this year’s event.

For the record I like Seth MacFarlane. Family Guy is one of the most successful television shows currently on TV. His first movie-Ted- was pretty funny, and he did a great job as the host of SNL last year, but I’m highly skeptical that he can impact the ratings in anyway. Why? Because choosing a new host is nothing more than directional innovation. It’s predictable and safe.

Let’s imagine that the Oscars decided to pursue intersectional innovation instead. This means that they need to be willing to rid their brain of associative barriers. One way to accomplish this is to reverse the idea’s underlying assumptions. The following instructions are paraphrased from The Medici Effect:

  1. Think of a situation you are faced with, and think about the assumptions associated with it.
  2. Write those assumptions down and reverse them
  3. Find a way to make them meaningful.

Here are a few common assumptions (with their reversals) for the Academy Awards:

The voting process is secret: The Voting process is transparent

The ceremony is televised for one night: The ceremony is televised over multiple nights

There are commercial breaks: There show has zero commercial breaks

Now let’s make them meaningful.

The Voting process is transparent: The Academy would reveal a list of members and their corresponding votes. That would give plenty of fodder for bloggers and analysts, while viewers a sense of how close the race really was.

The ceremony is televised over multiple nights: This could go in multiple directions. They could turn it into a multinight broadcast, giving out one major award a night. Or they could have a build up, with a multi=week behind the scenes show prior to the big night.

The show has no commercial breaks: The show uses live reads, ticket sales, and product placement.

Got an idea for a reverse asummption? Tweet us using the hashtag #OscarAssumptions. or submit them below. We will highlight the best ideas over the next month

Image via Flickr

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