Thayer Long PhotographYou may be hearing a lot about “convergence” these days. To converge means to arrive at the same point from different directions. It’s a theory being bandied about by certain people in the print industry who are not sure how to remain in the print industry. So, they’ve resorted to a herd mentality.

Maybe it’s just natural. Conformity is human instinct. Friedrich Nietzsche lamented that while Darwin’s Theory of Evolution idealizes biological and social “advancement” through competition (i.e. natural selection), that same competition can also produce a mediocre majority. And it was Darwin’s cousin, Francis Dalton, that founded the “regression to the mean” theory. In other words, competition also breeds conformity.  

Businesses are no different. Convergence uses its seductive ability to calm those who are anxious and fearful in times of uncertainty. If we all approach the future with the same ideas, the same technology, and the same offerings, maybe we can continue along the same path we’re all currently clinging to - and maybe we can all somehow survive. Sure, companies want to do things faster, better, cheaper, than their competitors - but they’re all doing fundamentally the SAME thing.

Ironically, print’s future value in today’s world lies in recognizing that the world is becoming more personalized and our offerings need to cater to this rampant individualization. It’s not a time to converge. On the contrary, it’s a time to give everyone their own personal, tactile experience.

Our industry deserves better than a place to just converge. We need a place to diverge. Our industry needs a place to learn from the immense diversity of technology, ideas, and possibilities. Innovation and new ideas are bred from an insatiable curiosity which leads to business success and a unique value proposition.

APTech, PRINT 19, and future events we conduct will be forums on this brave new world. A chance to refocus on the hard work that lies ahead and the extraordinary opportunities that await those of us willing to change. It gives those who are willing to break away from the herd a place to discover.

Converge at your own peril. Divergent thinking wins the day.