film production + social action

Get Edutainted: On Edutainment and the Diffusion of new Ideas

Edutainment (yes, it’s a real word): “A form of entertainment designed to educate as well as amuse.” As a child I relied on Nick News with Linda Ellerbee to introduce me to the pressing issues of our time. An 8-year old suburbanite, I took a stand against homelessness and global warming by parading around the house espousing the cause of the day.

Over a decade later this affinity for Nick News, and edutainment more generally, has developed into a life-long love of documentary films. I am drawn to the artistry and creativity of filmmaking to convey meaningful information. Although I don’t always agree with the message, I appreciate the art of storytelling.

But whether leaving the cinema or sitting through the credits of a BBC America doc, a question arises- what now? What would bring a viewer to act after viewing a film? Righteous Pictures solves this problem by combining film production with social action. Being the nerd that I am, I set out to uncover the processes that lead to the diffusion of new ideas.Innovative ideas are anything perceived to be new and Everett Rogers is the godfather of the diffusion of innovations theory. In 1962, Rogers concluded that individuals move through five stages when presented with a new concept: Knowledge, Persuasion, Decision, Implementation, and Confirmation. A key element in diffusion is the communication channel, or the means through which messages are transferred from one individual to another. RP’s blend of filmmaking, new media, and social action is the ideal mechanism to facilitate the diffusion of ideas. Documentary films provide knowledge and persuasion, digital media offers a wealth of new communication channels, and social action programs lead to implementation and confirmation.

The diffusion of innovation follows an S-curve, where ideas take time to gain momentum before reaching a tipping point (see chart). So get on the logistic function: Watch a documentary, contribute to WEB,  attend an event, buy a bracelet, tweet, join a Facebook group… and embrace edutainment. Hopefully the world will be a little better off because of it.

As an internetologist and cinephile, Lauren is thrilled to be part of the RP team. Whether working as a professional dancer or developing programs at New York Presbyterian Hospital to improve health care delivery, Lauren has always been passionate about the arts and social causes. She graduated with two degrees from Cornell University, then journeyed across the pond to study at Oxford University and explore how digital communication impacts society. Her research analyzes the effects of Internet use on wellbeing and she has been invited to present at numerous conferences. As a member of the Oxford Rifle Club, it is unclear whether or not Lauren has become an international spy. However, she continues to explore how ICTs and media can be used to facilitate social change.