theorycast.65 :: Why organizations need their Chief Culture Officer

In this episode of theorycast, I interview anthropologist Grant McCracken (@grant27) on his recent book, Chief Culture Officer.

This interview took place at the Futures of Entertainment 4 conference at MIT, on November 21st, 2009. The video I captured from his book talk within the ROI of ROFL session panel is also included. From the video, you will see examples of cultural mistakes that major corporations have made, the penalties they face, and how they could have done better if someone within the company were responsible for providing cultural foresight.

Having studied American culture and business for 25 years, McCracken’s previous work included Transformations (2008), Flock and Flow (2006), Culture and Consumption II (2005), Big Hair (1996), and Culture and Consumption (1988).

In Chief Culture Officer (CCO), McCracken argues that culture now creates so much opportunity and danger for the corporation that we need senior managers who can devote time to focus on culture. In effect, these CCO become the early-warning system for companies to help navigate their relevant cultural landscape, as well as provide to more intimate cultural acuity into the way companies craft their brands.

In effect, McCracken is hoping to create a new occupational destination for people who can understand their organization’s cultural locatedness (e.g. social science grads), but are not presently channeled to draw upon their insight for the organization. It sounds to me that whoever fits the role of the CCO would also be similar to what Seth Gordin dubs as the Linchpin (2010), that is, someone indispensable to the organization.

The idea of of the Chief Cultural Officer is to…
Make commerce that inhales and exhales culture,
Make culture that inhales and exhales commerce,
Make a living, breathing corporation.

Download theorycast.65 :: Why Organizations need their Chief Culture Officer (.mp4 / 122mb), or watch this on Blip.tv. Feel free to subscribe to theorycast on iTunes.