By Bryan Kramer | Commentary

Bringing Shared Experiences Out of the Virtual World

As humans, we have things that resonate differently based on how we define what a positive experience for each of us. I define a positive experience as being surrounded by the things that make me feel comfortable; case in point, I’m writing this while on a Virgin America flight on a cross country trip with internet, electricity at my seat and an on-demand food service system (not too mention the cool ambiance). When experiences are above expectation, we want to share them. But that means first, companies need to think through and create world class shareable experiences.

Shareable Experiences

I had the honor of attending the 3DEXPERIENCE FORUM, a conference held by Dassault Systemes in Las Vegas, which was fascinating to see all the magic behind how virtual reality could help plan and build toward greater human experiences. Quite frankly, I thought I was attending a conference about technology. I was wrong, very wrong.

Several keynotes stuck out, including one from Honda on how they test in virtual systems showing us every possible car crash scenario, giving a true perspective of how to build cars with the right parts taking both safety and design into account. We also saw a virtual re-creation of a beating heart (which looked so real you couldn’t tell the difference). Using 3D glasses, they demonstrated spinning, dissecting and exploring different scenarios, giving doctors a new way to perform surgery before they ever operate. More on the Living Heart Project here.

Discussions evolved into how customers are demanding something different than ever before. “Loyalty and its definition has changed over night. Customers have gone in a direction for reasons we didn’t understand. And now, the experience has to speak through our products. Customers expect and deserve a personal experience” said Ken Clayton, VP of Dassault Systemes.

The real “AHA” moment for me was in a discussion on collaboration on top of computation. Imagine a group of people building three dimensional products while on video together, and overlaying their independent work to look for inconsistencies. I was blown away to witness thousands of computations involving a deep level of math running scenario planning building every outcome, being considered in a truly collaborative human experience.

The most common question still prevailed: How do we innovate? Bill Taylor, Founder of Fast Company, said in his keynote that we need to “change the conversation with the customer, if we want to see true innovation.”

You can imagine most products or services have many touch points throughout the organization as the experience is being created. Collaboration will play a big role in building the experiences of the future. “A Complete Software Experience must include HR + Sales + Marketing + 3D application in order to be successful” said Monica Menghini, EVP of Dassault. Each touch point has an engaged process that can make or break the end result or customer experience. And it was clear that we can now do this through a collaborative social process using their virtual technology.

I also talked with author, analyst and social anthropologist Brian Solis on creating experiences in the future. “People are going to have experiences one way or the other. Today, marketers leave those experiences to chance because they compete for the moment and not for the outcome. Experience architecture is the future, and it starts with a simple question,” Solis said. “What is the experience I want my customer to have, not just now, but in every stage of the lifecycle? That means we have to design experiences for every moment of truth…what they look and feel like, outcomes, and how they align with customer goals and aspirations. We can no longer talk about delivering “delightful and remarkable” experiences. That means nothing. The future of marketing is complete experience architecture where everything we do reinforces or brings to life our experience style guide. It’s more than creativity and design. This is about people. And that means we have to know who they are and what they want. Let that inspire us to deliver something that gives them what they didn’t even know they wanted, but now can’t live without. This is why marketing is no longer just a department. It’s part of something bigger.” 

KEY TAKEAWAY: Virtual technology has and will continue to evolve making it limitless in what we can all create in our own experiences. We’ve entered into a social and global collaborative era, enabling us to build complex virtual experiences into real world shareable moments. Building it has always been the challenge. Our limitation is no longer the technology, it’s us and our capacity to dream.

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