White Space – David Paul Mavia – Brief notes from the loft – a day with Jesse Soliel

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Three weeks ago some very creative brains in Nairobi and I, met Jesse Soliel Founder of Multiverse and former ‘Chief Involved’ with Scholastic, an organization that was instrumental during the production of Harry Porter US. Jesse from a young age was destined to be a person who would play an important role in the vital media space of kids. By fourth grade he was already on television and by extension exposed to the film world (the creation side). He attended a school that was amongst the first in America to use computers. Jesse delved into Logic and Philosophy in university with special interest in Artificial Intelligence. Take most points from this colorful background and throw in Computer Gaming for Kids and you have Jesse at 42 still watching cartoons and ‘growing’.

Intervention Products – these are supplemental materials that are supplied outside of regular education textbooks. Jesse is a big believer in education as fun and therefore games can play a vital role in education. Children are often subjected to the cruelty of non-fun-cold exam passing machine like system. A smart child is one considered to have passed exams with ‘flying colours’. Most of them fail due to the stringent legalistic echo that is attached to exam passing and cleverness. Intervention products have the capacity of making learning informal and fun (check Read About a Scholastic education online program – http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/readabout/) these products make it possible for learning to take place without teachers. In order to exploit the learning curves of childrenit is important for them to be gotten early.

Interface Linking– this is the method or philosophy behind continuity. To the kids continuity is King. You have to have two things in mind.

1. The Story – what is the story? The story is ‘the main reason to get involved’. Without a story the child will not get involved.

2. Interface linking – which is what connects the online experience to the offline experience. It can be done by something as simple as trading cards, to create an engagement ecosystem.

Narrative Modes – these are expressions, which act as the vehicle of both the story and interface linking. They produce different Narrative Perspectives because the story is told in different modes – that is, it could be the book, the web, the game (play) or watching (TV, Film). It is these modes and perspectives that determine from a business perspective which Business Model to use, what forms or platforms of distribution and what expected disruptions are likely to be anticipated.

White Space – in the practice of most forms of design, or when you are reading a book, what enables an individual to concentrate on the content at the center is the white space at the margins. In business terms white space is a method of focusing and identifying forms of business that can spin off from the core business, or those that are linked but a far off from the core business.

Some people call it white space mapping. This is where a mechanism is designed to exploit external un-served markets. It can also be a tool that can lend new lenses to the landscape of the core business. If we view the children’s’ learning world from a business perspective, creative disruption can come from observing and locating these white spaces. In fact in children story telling ‘the narrative must be designed as much as it must be narrated’. (Check diagrambelow).

The story begins from the book, moves to the web, then to play (games), then to watching – television or film. Each medium should be exploited and each has its own capacity to drive elements of the story. It is possible that at the web or game, or film level, attention by the market could be drawn to a character or phenomenon in the story. When this occurs the narration is adjusted at story level by designing it in the story body in the next edition of the book – ‘the narrative must be designed as much as it must be narrated’. What is told in the story should be like an iceberg. Ten percent is narrated and the kids through interaction and engagement should discover ninety percent. That is what makes them involved. In many cases a book starts the story because parents need to be involved. They (parents) are traditional text people and trust the ‘purity’ of the written word. But beyond that they are also the ones that are paying for the different experiences on the web, games and watching for their children. They are the vital financial decision makers in the process. To get them to be involved, a book will most likely be a sure way.

Last modified: November 15, 2019

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