What this means: It is like doing a master plan for a city. We would design the integrated systems – the roads, sewers, buildings etc. – and put them all together. You then end up with a complex system of interconnected elements. Experiences are no different from such a complex system consisting of the environment, behaviour, communications, products and services.
Think of the Apple stores, the people working there, the products and the way they communicate. Those four things help you understand the values that Apple stands for. The better you are able to communicate the things you stand for to other people that you want to connect with, the better the chance you have of creating value.
Our two tools: One is differentiation, the other is emotional connection. By emulating someone, you are creating parity within the industry and starting to make others the leader. Why would you do that? From a strategic standpoint, look at opportunities to stand out with what you are doing, rather than make it just like the other 20 that preceded it. Retail malls are a prime example of lack of differentiation – they all offer the same experience. Retail isn't dead, bad retail is.
Emotional connection is about making people feel something. You should be building relationships that will create multiple opportunities for interaction. Relationships are built on shared values. Communicating them is one of the best ways to start to create emotional connections. For example, we did a project with JR East Water Business in Japan to sell their products vending machines on the train station platforms. One of the things we recognised was when there is an earthquake in Japan, trains stop running and people get stranded on the platforms. In response, we installed a battery pack in them and when there is an earthquake, it invites people to take the drinks. That built emotional connection, which built word of mouth, which created advocacy and brand awareness. We did it through a tactic that was just looking at the human outcome.
Don’t neglect creativity: This unleashes things that have not been seen or heard before. It opens up an enormous world of possibilities, provided you are looking at it through the lens of creating positive human outcome. People love to see interesting new things. Those who can create those things, especially if they add value to people's lives, will have passion, loyalty and all the things you want associated with your company.
Experience Design in Singapore: We are in the middle of a conversation, that doesn't end. We have to progress from looking at things as form gestures, and start to appreciate design as something that contributes to human outcomes. The fact that the conversation is being had in Singapore is already remarkable. I've been involved with the committee on helping to integrate design into the Singapore education system and that has been incredible.