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FringeStream - Off The Grid


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Welcome to our Fringestream series, our monthly magazine exploring how the fringes of culture are shaping mass behaviors. What happens when fragmentation, diversity and the choice to live differently becomes the new normal?

This month we explore Off the Grid, where more and more of us are making the conscious choice to free ourselves from the Social, Technological and Economic systems and structures of today.

Published in: Marketing

FringeStream - Off The Grid

  1. 1. BREAKING CHAINS: STEPPING OFF THE GRID Understanding  the   new  mainstream
  2. 2. BREAKING CHAINS: STEPPING OFF THE GRID Welcome  to  our  Fringestream  series,  our  monthly   magazine  exploring  how  the  fringes  of  culture  are   shaping  mass  behaviors.  What  happens  when   fragmentation,  diversity  and  the  choice  to  live   differently  becomes  the  new  normal? This  month  we  explore  Off  the  Grid,  where  more   and  more  of  us  are  making  the  conscious  choice  to   free  ourselves  from  the  Social,  Technological  and   Economic  systems  and  structures  of  today.
  3. 3. “OFF THE GRID”What is it? Why is it? Where is it? So What?
  4. 4. THE GRID = WHAT IS IT? THE ESTABLISHED. The  familiar.    The  way  things  are  done.    Grids  are   any  systems  or  structures  Girmly  entrenched,   widely  participated  in,  and  with  a  real   opportunity  cost  to  step  away  from. We  participate  in  dozens  of  grids  each  day.    Every   time  we  send  a  text,  ride  a  train  or  buy  a  piece  of   fruit  we’re  giving  up  a  bit  of  autonomy  to  take   part  in  a  system  much  larger  than  ourselves. STEPPING OFF = “OPTING OUT” Grids  are  not  new.    They’re  as  old  as  we  are.    What   is  new  is  our  ability  to  see  them,  to  analyze  the   real  cost  of  participation  and  make  a  choice   whether  or  not  to  buy  in.     We’re  watching  as  more  and  more  of  us  take  a   closer  look  at  these  previously  unquestioned   systems,  and  it  seems  the  more  we  see,  the  more   we’re  will  to  take  the  Girst  step  off  the  grid.
  6. 6. WHAT IS IT? civilized  adj. [siv-­‐uh-­‐layzd] 1.  having  an  advanced  or  human  culture,  society 2.  easy  to  manage  or  control;  well  ordered STRUCTURED l SPECIALIZED l STABLE COMPLICATED l CROWDED l CLUNKY BUILDING GRIDS IS HUMAN NATURE... We  love  grids.    We  can’t  stay  away  from  them.     They’re  our  go-­‐to  solution  to  an  ever  present   problem  -­‐  how  to  make  sense  of  the  chaos  around   us. Grids  exist  because  they  serve  a  genuine  purpose.     They  help  us  organize,  socialize,  allow  us  to  share   info  and  resources  efGiciently  and  predictably.     Ideally,  our  grids  exist  solely  to  make  our  lives   better,  safer,  easier,  and  a  bit  more  civilized. ...BUT OUR GRIDS ARE OUT OF DATE The  problem  is  not  that  these  systems  exist,  but   that  over  time  they’ve  become  mismatched  with   the  people  they  were  built  to  serve. As  we’ve  built  larger,  more  complex  grids  they’ve   become  cumbersome  and  resistant  to  change.     Ironically,  structures  built  for  efGiciency  and   organization  are  now  clearly  broken  and  unable   to  adapt.    It  seems  we’re  evolving  at  a  pace  the   traditional  systems  cannot  match.
  7. 7. THIS WASN’T AN OVERNIGHT EVENT. It  was  slow  and  stealthy.    Born  of  thousands  of   small  tweaks,  upgrades,  and  shifts  each   individually  benign  but  adding  up  until  their   cumulative  impact  is  difGicult  to  ignore... HOW DID WE GET HERE?
  8. 8. For the first time in history, FACE TO FACE INTERACTION HAS DROPPED TO THIRD BEHIND TEXTING, IM & FACEBOOK messaging for those those born from IN 5 YEARS 141.94 DAYS OF YOUR LIFE WILL BE SPENT ON THE SMARTPHONE WE’RE EXPOSED TO AT LEAST 250 IMAGES PER DAY ON AVERAGE We’ve created more information in the last 10 years than in all of human history before that i In the US, Public trust in the government remains near historic lows. In February 2014, 75% said they trust the government in Washington only some of the time or never. September 2014 - Americans' confidence in the media's ability to report "the news fully, accurately, and fairly" has returned to its previous all-time low of 40% Experts report that the typical American spends up to 25% LESS TIME IN NATURE THAN IN 1987, and time spent in nature dropped by about 1% annually since then PLAYING OUTSIDE DECLINED BY 50% BETWEEN 1997 AND 2003 THE PROPORTION OF 9-12 YEAR OLDS WHO SPENT TIME In 2014, 54% of the world’s population reside in urban areas. BY 2050, 66 PER CENT OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION IS PROJECTED TO BE URBAN. WE SPEND 90% of our lives within buildings OFF THE GRID 1990-1999 84% of people can’t go a single day without their mobile device in hand 1 IN 5 CHECK THEIR PHONES EVERY 10MINS
  9. 9. GRIDS ARE HURTING NOT HELPING WHY IS IT? BUILT WITH THE BEST OF INTENTIONS  (more  choices,  more  power,  more  convenience,  more  everything!)   it  seems  our  grids  are  actually  quite  unhealthy.  They’re  restrictive,  overwhelming,  stiGling.   Opting  out  is  costly  and  difGicult,  but  we’re  starting  to  see  the  true  cost  of  participation  might  be  even  higher... STRESSFUL Worn  out  by  navigating  increasingly   large  and  complex  grids STERILE Unful8illed  by  our  new  synthetic   environments  and  interactions SHADY Fed  up  with  hidden  systems   operating  outside  our  best  interest
  10. 10. The  effects  of  national  economic   disparities  and  turmoil  have  trickled   down  to  our  schools  and  learning   institutions,  resulting  in  uncertain   stability.    For  Gen  Edge,  not  knowing  if  a   local  school  will  remain  open  next   semester  or  if  teachers  will  be  present   to  teach  a  lesson  has  become  an  all  to   typical  dinnertime  conversation.     Furthermore,  conventional    basics  can   no  longer  be  taken  for  granted  -­‐  i.e.   supplies,  resources,  and  extended   school  hours  for  additional  help.   UNRELIABLE CONTEXTUAL FACTORS We  have  never  lived  in  a  time  with  this   level  of  connection.    We  have  been   gifted  nearly  unlimited  access  to  the   world  around  us  at  any  given  time  from   any  given  place.    The  distance  between   us  and  information,  entertainment,  or   socialization  has  never  been  so  thin,  but   it  would  seem  this  gap  has  not  only   closed  for  the  better. Unlimited  access  does  not  Gilter  itself,   and  we’re  Glooded  with  misinformation,   constant  comparison,  and  are   overstimulated  from  Girst  moment  we   wake  up  until  our  heads  hit  the  pillow.     It  would  seem  we  have  yet  to  perfect   how  to  wield  this  new  power,  and  the   impact  of  its  misuse  is  more  and  more   evident.    We’re  suffocated  by  it,   addicted  to  it,  distracted  by  it,  and   desperately  in  need  of  a  better  way  to   manage  it. STRESSFUL "As our need for instant gratification increases, we are becoming more impatient and addicted to the constant stimulation. The more "sped up" we are, we develop a lower threshold for tolerating discomfort. In those moments of poor discomfort management, we activate the fight or flight response. Instead of saving our lives, it can contribute to insomnia, depression, panic attacks, and a host of other health concerns." Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, Huffington Post ‣ Connection Fatigue - There are no lack of studies telling us the “always on” lifestyle is mentally, spiritually, & physically draining. ‣ Paradox of Choice - An abundance of options in every aspect of our lives requires enormous energy to navigate, and we’re trained to fear making the wrong choice. ‣ Constant Change - The rules have yet to be written on how to handle many of our new tech and social realities, but by the time we catch up they’ll have evolved again.
  11. 11. CONTEXTUAL FACTORS STERILE Not  only  is  the  sheer  size  and  reach  of   our  current  grids  overwhelming,  the   nature  of  our  interaction  within  is   lacking.    We’re  spending  far  less  time   with  the  tangible,  the  real,  the  random.     Less  time  out  in  “the  wild”,  wandering   through  nature  or  learning  the     intricacies  of  navigating  a  face-­‐to-­‐face   conversation.    Less  time  with  things  we   can  touch,  that  make  us  move,  that   move  us. What’s  being  lost  are  not  trivial   experiences.    They’re  critical  in  our   social  development,  our  physical  health,   and  ultimately  our  ability  to  achieve  a   sense  of  humanity.    If  our  focus  and   energy  is  a  limited  resource,  we’re  far   overspending  in  areas  that  oppose  our   natural  wiring  leaving  us  feeling  a  bit   empty. ‣ Living Indoors - In a relatively short period of time, we’ve built a dramatically indoor- centric society, with startling low time spent experiencing nature and our planet. ‣ Alone Together - Not only are we distracted, but we’re losing our ability to improv, read social cues, and make meaningful connections with each other. ‣ Feeling Lost - The self-improvement market is $10 billion industry in the US, showing no sign of slowing down and fueled by repeat purchases. “The magnitude of these modern changes should not be underestimated. For instance, for 350,000 generations humans lived close to the land as hunter–gatherers, and for that we had a sense of belonging, place, and feeling embedded within the broader natural world that is an integral characteristic of those cultures.” - Chris Walker, Ecopsychologist
  12. 12. CONTEXTUAL FACTORS SHADY ‣ Demand for Transparency - Nicknamed the “Unreasonable Consumer”, a better- informed public wants to see behind the curtain before choosing to sign up. ‣ Demand for Privacy - Edward Snowden started a public dialogue about our right to privacy that is still unfolding. ‣ Demand for Quality - Be it the ingredients on the label, respect on the phone, or how a company treats its workers, the bar is being raised for what “good” means. “There’s some serious shit about to go down in D.C., and if you are one of the 180 million Americans out there using a smartphone, and you are not pissed off right now, then you are not paying attention, but you need to. They don’t give a damn about you, or about making this industry better. They just want to jack up your bill and line their pockets. It is the same old crap, on a different day.” John Legere, CEO T-Mobile, June 2015 Over  the  last  few  years  we’ve  watched   as  the  demand  for  open  information  has   been  met,  and  the  stories  that  emerged   were  repeatedly  unsettling.    It  seems   the  more  questions  are  asked,  the  more   the  answers  erode  the  view  of   traditional  systems  and  structures. We’re  in  the  the  midst  of  an  endless   Glow  of  headlines,  documentaries,  TED   talks,  investigations  and  interviews   digging  into  the  way  grids  work  behind   the  scenes,  and  there  are  serious  trust   issues  with  all  things  big.   The  beneGit  of  the  doubt  is  long  gone,   and  in  its  place  is  a  growing  group  of   skeptics  demanding  truth.  Where  does   this  come  from?  What  went  into  it?   How  safe  is  my  info?     Right  or  wrong,  the  conversation  has   turned  personal,  tension  is  high  and  the   burden  of  proof  is  on  the  established.
  13. 13. We  grew  up  with  digital  technology  and  so  we   see  it  as  all  grown  up.  But  it's  not,  it's  early  days.   There's  plenty  of  time  for  us  to  reconsider  how   we  use  it,  how  we  build  it.  I'm  not  suggesting   that  we  turn  away  from  our  devices,  just  that  we   develop  a  more  self-­‐aware  relationship  with   them,  with  each  other  and  with  ourselves Sherry Turkle, TED Talk - Connected, but alone?
  14. 14. In  it’s  most  extreme  sense,  being  off  the  grid  can  mean  completely  detaching  from  the  structures  of  society. However,  living  FringeStream  is  not  about  abandoning  the  big  pillars  of  life  as  we  know  it.    Rather  it’s  about   taking  these  fringe  values  and  adapting  them  to  our  everyday. It’s  about  looking  at  stressful,  sterile,  and  shady  grids  and  making  a  choice... The choice to cut out the unnecessary... The choice to reconnect with what’s real... The choice to make something your own... And ultimately find a new sense of freedom. FREEDOM to... WHERE IS IT? FILTER BE REAL BE IN CHARGE OFF THE GRID DOES NOT MEAN LIVING ON AN ISLAND... IT’S AS MUCH ABOUT THE SMALLER EVERYDAY CHOICES
  15. 15. SIMPLER GRID FREEDOM TO FILTER In  a  world  where  it  is  commonly   assumed  that  more  information,   faster  must  be  better,  and  constant   connectivity  is  the  norm,  people  are   realizing  that  reducing  connectivity   and  consumption  means  reducing   stress  and  gaining  freedom... 1.  Freedom  from  the  addiction  of   technology   2.  Freedom  from  the  distraction   of  beeps  and  rings 3.  Freedom  to  be  totally   immersed  in  one  activity 4.  Freedom  to  be  more  creative By  Giltering  out  what’s  unnecessary   we  are  free  to  live  simpler,  slower,   more  substantial,  stress-­‐free  lives.   Lite phone The anti-smart phone. It is thin, light, lasts 20 days on a charge, and literally does nothing but make and answer calls. Unplugged San Francisco A digital detox and device free party that requires attendees to hand in their devices at the door. Moment iOS app Automatically tracks how much you use your iPhone and iPad each day, and set limits. Camp Grounded: A Summer Camp for Adults - where you’re required to trade in your digital devices, schedules, and work lives for an off-the-grid weekend in the woods.
  16. 16. AUTHENTIC GRID FREEDOM TO BE REAL Aside  from  the  information  overload  and   complexity  that  the  online  world  brings,   an  increasing  number  of  our  interactions   today  occur  between  screens,  placing  a   barrier  between  ourselves  and  the   physical  world  around  us.   This  expansion  of  digital  everything  has   resulted  in  a  desire  to  step  away  from  the   virtual,  and  make  efforts  to  be  present   with  ones  surroundings  and  have  tactile   experiences.  We  see  this,  for  example  in   the  resurgence  of  analog  systems  such  as   vinyl  records,  physical  books  and  book-­‐ stores,  and  hand-­‐written  notebooks. By  being  free  from  the  virtual  world,  we   are  able  to  refresh  and  reconnect  with   nature  and  8ind  ful8illment  in  tangible,   sensory  experiences.   Soulcycle Offers an immersive experience, that engages all of the senses. Dim lighting, candles and custom music set the ambience. DUST store, Melbourne A “multi-sensory concept label”, that stocks products that appeal to each of the five senses E.g.printed shirts, imported records, a fragrance and more. Moleskin Livescribe Write on a real page with a real pen, but easily store and recall notes and sketches later through a paired app. “  Tens  is  a  “Real life photo filter" that "lend[s] an uplifting tint to the world beyond the lens....  The  lens  de.ines  the  ethos  of  our  brand,  summer,  outdoors  and   adventure.”  -­‐  Tom Welsh, Tens Lens
  17. 17. ‘MY’ GRID FREEDOM TO BE IN CHARGE Growing  awareness  as  well  as  choice  in   todays  society  means  that  within  all   facets  of  their  lives,  people  not  only  want   but  expect  higher  levels  of  customization   and  control.   Food  corporations  are  having  to  become   more  transparent  about  where  their  food   comes  from,  utility  providers  are  having   to  become  more  Glexible  with  their   contracts,  and  media  companies  are   having  to  become  more  personalized  in   their  offerings.   By  creating  their  own  more  nimble,   personalized  systems  people  are  free   to  regain  independence,  cut  out   inef8iciency,  and  have  more   assurance  in  the  end  product. Urban Agriculture + Farming Urban Garden NYC uses environmentally responsible methods and strives to keep locally grown and organic plants and garden supplies. Practical Home Solar Power Time magazine states residential solar power has hit a tipping point where it’s now an affordable, reliable clean energy source. Virgin Group Rewriting the Workplace Richard Branson places vacation time in the hands of his employees, free to take as much as they’d like if the job is getting done. goTenna - A Brooklyn based start-up that allows your phone to work off the grid, communicating with other connected devices without the need of a carrier service.
  18. 18. “OFF THE GRID” REALLY MEANS REDEFINE THE GRID... SIMPLER AUTHENTIC MY-OWN The  access  to  information,  technology  and  Glexibility   of  our  world  today  means  that  reconGiguring  or   redesigning  an  existing  system  is  now  easier  than   ever.   With  the  ease  of  discovering  new  ideas  and   alternatives  comes  the  desire  to  redeGine  or  build  a   new  grid  if  it  will  ultimately  improve  upon  the   current  solution. This  is  an  optimistic  movement.    It’s  about  looking   at  something  broken  and  taking  ownership  of  the   solution.    It’s  making  the  choice  to  update  the   structures  of  society  to  match  the  evolution  of  its   people. SMARTER GRIDS
  19. 19. We  look  at  our  business  and  say,   ‘How  can  we  remake  ourselves?’ Richard Smucker, CEO Smuckers, May 2015
  20. 20. WHY DOES THIS MATTER? BECAUSE YOU’RE PART OF A GRID. As consumers continue to redefine their relationship with larger systems and structures, their view and usage of the brands within will inevitably follow suit.... SO WHAT?
  21. 21. NATURE VALLEY - shows us a chilling picture of tech addiction by asking 3 generations - “When you were a kid, what did you do for fun?”, then encourages us to find a park and get back outdoors. BE AWARE, BE EMPATHETIC BRAND IMPLICATIONS Stepping  off  the  grid  is  uncomfortable.     Whether  a  giant  leap  or  a  set  of  smaller   everyday  shifts,  breaking  away  from   long  established  systems  requires  the   commitment  of  time,  effort,  and  a  fair   amount  of  guts. But  they  are  willing  to  give  up  plenty  of   ease  and  familiarity  for  the  hope  of   reconnecting  with  something  better,   richer,  more  fulGilling. There  is  plenty  of  room  on  the  new   grids  for  brands,  as  long  as  they   are  willing  to  be  8lexible  to  new   ideas  and  help  work  towards  the   solution  not  add  to  the  problem.     Tell  them  which  side  you’re  on. Tell  them  they’re  not  crazy  for  doing   so. Most  of  their  friends  and  family  are  on   the  grid,  and  any  small  head  nod  of   encouragement  would  be  welcomed.     Show  them  you  “get  it.”    Show  them   you  see  the  stressful,  sterile,  and  shady   side  of  the  grids  they  see,  and   empathize  with  their  choice  to  break   away.
  22. 22. USE THEIR MOTIVATION AS INSPIRATION BRAND IMPLICATIONS This  is  not  (only)  a  tech  story.    It’s  a   movement  of  people  seeking  more   freedom  in  the  way  they  spend  their   time,  energy,  and  money  -­‐  whatever   and  wherever  that  may  look  like  to   them. Luckily  there’s  a  simple  way  to  think   about  this  -­‐  the  fundamental  drivers   behind  the  decision  to  step  off  grid   make  for  easy  innovation  inspiration: Consider  ways  to  encourage  and   enable  the  step  off  grid  in  the  little,   everyday  choices  they  make. ‣ Help  them  FILTER  -­‐  Are  you  just  adding   to  the  mountain  of  overstimulation,  or  can   you  play  a  role  in  simplifying  the  noise? ‣ Make  them  GET  REAL  -­‐  How  can  you   nudge  them  into  something  tangible?  Pull   them  off  a  screen  and  into  somewhere  real. ‣ Put  them  IN  CHARGE  -­‐  Give  them  a   platform,  not  a  product.  Put  the  tools  and   trust  in  their  hands  to  own  the  end  result. IKEA - With placemats designed to hide cell phones during meals, a home furniture line inspired by bringing the outdoors in, and kitchen pieces specifically to shelve homegrown vegetables and herbs, IKEA has embraced each element of the off the grid story.
  23. 23. SHOW THEM YOUR GRID BRAND IMPLICATIONS Over  time  large  systems  have  become   synonymous  with  overly  complex,   inefGicient,  and  untrustworthy.    Newer   entrants  are  showing  that  this  doesn’t   have  to  be  the  case.     By  pulling  back  the  curtain  and   demystifying  the  process,  brands  are   rebuilding  conGidence  through   legitimate  transparency. Shrink  the  perceived  size  of  your   grid  by  openly  displaying  and   breaking  down  the  pieces  in  a   straightforward  manner. Everlane - Full Disclosure Fashion With a mission of ‘Radical Transparency’, this retailer displays production costs alongside prices, openly discusses factory conditions, and encourages customers to ask more questions. No  one  said  “big”  has  to  be  bad.     Specialization  helps  everyone  when   done  right,  with  integrity,  and  without   the  need  for  cover. Figure  out  what  pieces  of  your  grid   tend  to  be  tucked  and  way  and  show   them  proudly.    You’ll  be  thanked  for   the  honesty.
  25. 25. SLIDE SITE 6 11 12 13 16 17 0.4413793103448276xh;*,*&resize=1200:* 18 22 24 IMAGE REFERENCES