A while back, I posted an item on “identity” as a new paradigm that could replace “experience” in our business culture. Academia, especially linguistics, has been talking about the shift from experience to identity for some time. The idea is that the concept of “experience” is passive. Currently we say you experience something, as in having a great consumer experience or a great hospital experience or a great gambling experience.
But life really isn’t like that. People are not passive—they make their own lives. People interract with their environments to create their distinct identities. Let me repeat that—people interract with their environments to create their own identities. This amounts to co-creating your own products and services.
So the concept of co-creation (thanks C.K. Prahalad) works with the idea of creating your own identity. It’s cool.
At Davos (I’ll stop in a few days when I exhaust the ideas coming out of that meeting, I promise), there was a lot of talk about identity. In YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, Second Life and in the gaming world, you create an identity. Yes, there are avatars and they are the purest form of identity. But for me, it is the identity you build in the real world working with tools provided by companies that is the most interesting. How you configure you iPod or how you organize your cell phone defines you and reflects who you are. TiVo, Nikes, the sessions and workshops you chose and listed at the World Economic Forum, etc. That’s your identity. None of that is passive.
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