By Andreas Weber, Head of Value, initiator of #Think!Paper | German Version
#Think!Paper Edition 1, Volume 8
If we are to overcome the paradox that has plagued the print media industry worldwide since the ’90s – having the best technologies but being confounded by frustration, stagnation and dwindling sales and suffering bankruptcies, misfortune and glitches – we need to stop believing that technology is the panacea.
“Buy my new technology and everything will be fine” – sounds great, but really it’s terrible advice. Think back to the brightest and best in the history of printing – such as the inventor Alois Senefelder, the typesetting technician Ottmar Mergenthaler, the grandfather of type and calligraphy Prof. Hermann Zapf (who is said to have inspired Steve Jobs), not to mention John Warnock and Charles Geschke who invented PostScript and founded Adobe. Three things stand out:
- Technology is ‘only’ ever a means to an end, serving to realize the higher ideal of enhancing our ability to communicate with one another.
- Technological innovation is important if we are to drive progress. However, changes for the better can only be achieved if new technological opportunities are utilized in an appropriate and creative way.
- Whether new ‘printing technology’ can evolve into beneficial and effective ‘printing art’ depends primarily on adopting a creative approach to shaping media-based communication and business scenarios.
Anyone who fails to take this on board as the ticket to escaping the dictatorship of technocracy is sure to fall into a nasty trap. They will be doing themselves more harm than good by pursuing completely nonsensical ideas. After all, messages like “the best of both worlds – digital printing is as good as offset” or “our new inkjet printer gives you a new business model at the same time” are no use to anybody – neither the customers ordering print products, nor the companies that produce them.
“Let’s put an end to technocracy. Let’s go back to treating print with the respect it deserves, as the most beneficial form of communication in human history!” – Indeed, the end of technocracy heralds the start of success!
My call and the basic premise of #Think!Paper — The Beauty of Print&Transformation: We have to start using technoLOGY technoLOGICALLY again.