LIMBIK proudly presents:
Our 3′rd FUTURESPEAK topic
Brought to you by our resident Digital Sociologist, Lisa Talia Moretti
FUTURESPEAK topic for the month of July: The Future of Experience
I was recently asked to take the lead on a research project that wanted to study the intersections of brands, technology and people in order to understand how emerging technology will impact upon experiences – both online and offline.
“This research project, The Future of Experience, was different.”
Normally, when I start a research project I have some kind of vague idea about what I’m expecting to find. This research project, The Future of Experience, was different. The project felt so enormous that I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to find or quite how we were going to get at ‘it’. On my first day, in the section that was meant to be for stating our assumptions up front, I wrote down ‘Technology will have a transformative (emotional, physical, mental) impact upon human states of being’. Even after having the time to think about it more, I doubt I could produce a more generic, more blanket-type statement today. But upon reflection, it’s also closer to the truth than I expected.
With Trump expected to be the next President of the US (Dear Mother of Zeus… America, how have you allowed for this to happen!), the UK wanting to do the slow fade on their European friends and people around the world blowing themselves and each other up in the name of a movement who doesn’t actually care two hoots about them, you’d be forgiven for thinking that mankind has entered into a time where extreme selfishness and no hope reign.
Our research paints a different picture.
“People want technology to help them become better people.”
The Future of Experience identified that the majority of participants and survey respondents have a deep hope that technology will be used to amplify and support the best qualities of humanity. People want technology to help them become better people.
I for one, was totally blown away by this. I was also totally in love with this.
“Empathy, Privacy, Adaptability, Serendipity, and Reciprocity.”
Our research also identified five key dimensions that will influence how brands and businesses frame their understanding of what it means to create and manage experiences of the future: Empathy, Privacy, Adaptability, Serendipity, and Reciprocity. While discussed separately, empathy, privacy, adaptability, serendipity and reciprocity are all connected. They lean into one another and happily overlap in a number of ways.
Empathy is all about brands being hyper-aware of the tremendous impact technology has on our bodies, minds and emotions. Brands need to ensure they are changing bodies, influencing perspectives and manipulating feelings for the greater good.
Our notions of privacy and how we define it is changing too. In fact, we identified in our research that privacy is moving down two separate but parallel paths: first, using technology as a filter to protect your offline world from online noise in order to have a more focused and attentive offline experience. And second, using technology in an immersive way to remove you from both your online and offline worlds to experience a meditative state.
As new content-creating tools emerge, brands must adapt. Fast. The future of consumer experience must and will involve new technologies like VR and AR, AI, wearables and the Iot. Co-operation between products, services, hardware and software is essential for providing an I-don’t-want-to-pull-my-hair-out experience.
But let me be very clear; the kind of co-operation I’m describing requires partnerships and collaborative offerings at a level that is mostly uncommon amongst businesses of today. This isn’t simply about strengthening ties with partners who share similar brand values or customers. This is about integrating the products and services of one company in a strategic and seamless way with the products and services of another. If done right, this kind of partnership will take many businesses into industries they don’t operate in or know anything about. Sterkte!
Serendipity is essential to discovery, but it’s also a crucial element towards building trust and authenticity. Overly tailored and hyper-personal experiences lead to a reduction of possibilities. The result is an experience that feels a bit empty and inauthentic. Remember, human needs change all the time and it’s important to recognize and respond to this. Emerging technologies should be used to create experiences that act as a catalyst for imaginative thought and ignite the feeling of possibility within people.
The very last dimension is reciprocity. Unique to the technologies that incorporate machine learning is the need for a deeper level of customer engagement with the service. Customers must want to teach the machine so that it can better serve their needs. Emerging technology needs to focus on providing helpful, practical, personal and progressive experiences in order to encourage repeat engagement. These four factors bring us full circle back to the very first dimension and the cornerstone of this research, empathy.
“The key to a strong emotional connection is empathy.”
People want technology to make them better versions of themselves. If you’re a brand who has uttered the words, “I want you to create an emotional connection with my audience” to your agency, then you need to read that line again. The key to a strong emotional connection is empathy. Empathy. Empathy. I cannot say it enough.
In order to make people feel more emotionally connected to you, you need to become more human. That’s your strategy.
The Future of Experience is a research collaboration between Adobe and researchers in the Institute of Management Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. The research was directed by Dr Chris Brauer and led by digital sociologist Lisa Talia Moretti with contributions from research assistant James Bird, research associate at Holition and University College London Ana Javornik, anthropologists Ricardo Leizaola and Louise Boer and Dr. Jennifer Barth.
29 July 2016