Asymmetrical thinking teaches us that the seeds of the future are contained in the present. We just have to train ourselves to see them and have the imagination to believe that they will grow into forces and trends fully capable of reshaping our world.
Storytelling, as much as any other activity, is subject to asymmetric disruption and growth. The small‐scale, low‐status content of the past inevitably rises to prominence in the future.
Before becoming court entertainment for English royalty, Shakespeare's plays were seen as sensational, corrupting content fit only for the lowest status members of society. As a form, novels began their cultural life as a guilty pleasure, printed by the chapter in the back pages of newspapers. In the 1940s and 1950s, comic books had a status little higher than pornography in the U.S. media landscape, and were attacked as a corrupting influence on the children who read them. Yet in the second decade of the twenty‐first century, Marvel's Avengers franchise, based on classic comic book characters, has produced some of the highest‐grossing films of all time and has been purchased by the ultimate mainstream global media company, Walt Disney.
If we look at today's media landscape, there are a number of trends and innovations which, though seen as edge cases today, will likely grow or rise in status in the future, ...