Next stop Adobe. And their box fresh, no expense spared experience centre. In the end this turned into the most fascinating of the visits. Unexpectedly. Although I am not 100% certain all of the IPA delegates would agree with me on this. And here is the reason. Adobe is an old world company. Its heritage is in professional software. Or software for professionals It's traditional business model is boxed product sold through retail or reseller partners. The products go through extended upgrade cycles and attract licencing fees. In many ways they are the Microsoft Windows of the Design community. And designers have the same love / hate relationship to Flash, Creative Suite, Photoshop as suits do to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. And clients have same grumble about being obliged to shell out for ever more arcane upgrades.
Then the world changed. As it did for Microsoft; so it did for Adobe. The world got faster. The world got Agile. The world got simple as opposed to complicated
And as a consequence, Adobe faces a huge reinvention issue to remain relevant. To avoid being bypassed. Ultimate to escape becoming extinct. Well maybe the last is a bit dramatic but the view of 'The Street' is that if you're not growing, you're dying.
And you can see and feel the tension of transition all about Adobe. The old world of Adobe lifers mixing uneasily with the new world of Adobe which often means acquired companies, people, philosophies and technology.
But you know they might just be figuring their way through all this. Once the corporate ppt was religiously walked through we got to play with product. And as it always does the show transformed the tell.
What Adobe has figured out is that in the new world the key to success is to democratise creativity. And they are doing this through a concept of the Creative Cloud. http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud.html. Underselling it hugely the Creative Cloud is a suite of affordable touch based apps that facilitates fast creativity. Fast concepting, fast photo shopping, fast prototyping. There is for example a cool app that allows folk to create clickable wireframes in seconds.
Technology gets out of the way. Which is of course what technology should do every time.
So two things. One interesting: one dangerous. First the interesting one. This democratisation piece means a transformation of Adobe business model (at least in part.) No longer are they an enterprise software business but a consumer retail brand. I'm not sure they've quite got their head around the that one. And now the dangerous one. What the Creative Cloud does is transform a legion of ipad totting account peeps into wanna be creatives. It may be unfashionable given the year we have but I might here some protesting that after all
democracy might be a bad thing.
Here what other IPA delgates think about the Interactive Mission at