We live with the need for everything to be better, faster and easier. Current disasters do not change this, they simply increase the demand. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology has committed itself to making the technology for a German quantum computer available by 2025. The economic stimulus package is worth 2 billion euros, reported the Handelsblatt on 24.08.2020. Few people believed that the Internet could change our lives and consequently our companies to such an extent. “Sex sells!” is a common phrase used by advertisers and became the driving force (sorry, for the pun) for the Internet long before we talked about digital transformation in companies. If the digital transformation retains this social logic and the evolution of companies inevitably follows the needs in the home, then what is needed now is an assessment of the situation that formulates in a well-founded and forward-looking manner what the change means for the printing industry.
“I write to you a long letter, because I do not have the time to write a short one.” This sentence is attributed not only to Charlotte von Stein but also to Voltaire, Goethe, Churchill, Marx and many others – always without a precise indication of the source. In none of her writings, however, is this quotation to be found. The sentence is taken from the postscript of a letter written by the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal in 1656, though because nobody knows it – I only came across it by chance. Other publicists have assigned the quote to the more well-known protagonists (fake news is not a new invention). Nevertheless, the quote inspired me when I was thinking about how I should convey the answer to perhaps the most important question in our industry. How do I convince, in a short and concise way, which is comprehensible and accessible to everyone, that print has and will retain its place in society’s media arsenal?
“A well-founded and precise text can only be produced if you think about it in advance. What does it have to contain, in what order do I report, and which medium do I use for publication? This work takes time. The longer and more complex the content is, the more time is needed to simplify it.” – Bernd Zipper
For a message to arrive, the “delivery method ” is crucial. On stage I design lectures in such a way that they have a lasting effect through words, pictures, music and animation. Via our sensory systems, we absorb information that is processed and stored in the brain. Depending on the quality of the information, we store it in short, ultra-short or long-term memory. How long we store information depends not only on its importance for us, but also on how the information reached the brain. My goal is long-term memory. Psychology gives the probability of retention as 20 percent in the case of hearing only, 50 percent in the case of hearing and seeing, and 70 percent in the case of retelling.
The idea for the video was born and the storyboard grew and grew. So, we took our time. Not because the pandemic forced us into the home office, but because we’re really at a turning point in our journey. The angular hook with the movable letters now only plays a role in the museum. Just as Alexander von Humboldt once discovered “The Web of Life” as a truth just below the summit of Chimborazo, digitization is also a reality that the online community uses. After all, everything that can be digitized is in fact digitized. There is a broad consensus on this. The digital transformation is a fact, and all who use it are the winners.
(War or crisis) Winners are those who speak out in the debate of envy. I have made sure that people are working in the decision rooms of online printing houses. Working hard, with empathy, solidarity, attentiveness, consistency and reliability. The people who have not learned to use the new technology are afraid. They hear AI and understand control through an emotionless intelligence. It is the task of humanity to keep the multi-optional power of action. It is about making the best use of new developments and putting proven human values into practice. We need a new virtual ethics, digital mindfulness, knowledge and education. This is where the success story of printed media continues to write itself. Print is the only true manifestation of knowledge in the online age. Books and magazines function offline and without electricity. Invitation cards transmit appreciation and packaging and labels are the only way to sell products. Personalized printing creates an emotional connection and significantly increases the value of a product.
Knowledge eliminates fear, mindfulness generates empathy. Both prevent unwise actions. This means that print plays a key role in pacifying the world. Together, we must all have this self-confidence. In 1998 Gutenberg was voted “Man of the Millennium” by Time Life magazine. It was not about technology, but about finding a way to make curated knowledge accessible and disseminate it. We have always had to deal with new techniques. The printing industry can do this. We have proven it over generations. Together we are even stronger, and we need collaboration and complicity. It’s time to put aside our selfishness and participate in shaping our new digital world. In harmony with other media, print can be a key to a better future for the next generations. Let us work towards this. Watch the ThinkPrintMovie. We were able to fit elementary statements into six minutes without any loss of quality (this would not have been possible in the usual three and a half minutes). Share it with others and share it as much as you can. Take action! And thank you very much.