I’ve just watched a fascinating new documentary and, apart from recommending every one of its 160 minutes, I want to share tangential thoughts prompted by the film.


Screened on BBC iPlayer, HyperNormalisation by Adam Curtis brings together puzzle pieces of the modern era into a jigsaw big picture to explain how bitter seeds sown 40 years ago are now being harvested by Putin, Trump, Farage and Co.

At its heart, Curtis’ story is about communication. It’s about the ability of social media, such as Facebook, to engage and mobilise popular opinion – most notably through the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring of five years ago. And how all that engagement and mobilisation collapsed back in on itself because protestors knew what they didn’t want but had no vision of the future.

This struck me as a fascinating example of how communication without direction can build community without effecting change.

In a world so complex and dangerous that only mega-computers can begin to properly understand its risks, people are becoming increasingly haunted by the past with no vision of the future.

People faced with complexity crave simple solutions – just look at the success of the simplistic, and horribly distorted, version of Islam being pedalled by radical clerics.

So what’s my communication ‘take’ on all of this? Keep it simple, stupid (KISS)!

The compelling message is always the simple one. The right message can make sense of people’s everyday lives while giving them direction and belief in a better future.  Communicators can help leaders make that happen at a corporate level. 

Meanwhile the world waits for leaders capable of addressing the big global questions raised by Curtis’ documentary.