Creating Magical Experiences
Design Researcher at KD, Hannah Sage, reflects on her learnings from the recent MRS event ‘&more: AI and future tech’, and how technology can help create virtual worlds and workspaces to drive more creative thinking...
As technology develops, we are given the chance to create and be part of experiences that seem to belong more to a storybook than the real world. For Design Researchers, that opens a whole new spectrum of possibilities to get creative and play with the way we approach our work, to deliver more innovative results for our clients.
These technological possibilities were explored at the recent MRS event ‘&more: AI and future tech’ in London, presented by the BBC’s LJ Rich. To whet our appetite, LJ told us stories of some of the unique experiences she’d had with technology:
Following a lively discussion of these examples, three new types of consumer experience enabled by technology were highlighted:
These are truly deep and immersive experiences that totally captivate; where tech is virtually invisible.
Imagine a cinema where the storyline changes based on the audience’s engagement. With algorithms and a few heart rate and blood pressure monitors, viewers in this cinema could unconsciously interact with the storyline so no viewing of the film would ever be the same. Instead the beginning, middle and end would change depending on the collective experiential response.
Using technology innovatively can bring life back to something that’s otherwise lost its shine. One theme park discovered that a simple way to upgrade one of their more classic rides was to give each rider a VR headset. The physical movement of the rollercoaster is then matched to the VR creating something entirely new without making any real-world changes. This partnership gives every rider a totally unique experience as each VR headset could show a totally different story. The opportunities are endless. There is a great example video of this in action by the Economist, to watch click here .
Integrated Life Experiences
Technology should be the background enabler in your story – the supporting actor, not the main character. After a long day at work, whilst you might not want to go to the gym to hit those 10,000 steps, that handy little activity tracker on your wrist is only too happy to remind you to go. Soon, that tracker is going to become truly integrated into your lifestyle and start talking to other devices; so perhaps your fridge will respond by locking out those indulgent treats and only giving you access to something a little healthier.
But in this ever-changing world, what does this new tech mean for us in Design Research? The virtual world is starting to bring us something new – a magic that can’t be replicated by the real world.
VR will allow us to guide consumers into a simulated world and let them interact with ideas that aren’t quite ready to be made physical, or belong 10 years in the future.
Furthermore, this opens a new realm of possibilities in play and creativity in everything we do: with our consumers, our clients and our internal team. Gone will be the days of traditional focus groups discussing the merits of one concept or the other. Here comes a more engaging and dynamic future, with the virtual workspace a creative playground for innovation.
The virtual world is starting to bring us something new – a magic that can’t be replicated by the real world.
To sum this up, there’s a quote from Plato that seems so relevant to my role as a Design Researcher: “you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”.