The Dx3 2016 Conference Correspondent Whitepaper Presented by Sysomos summarizes some of the top speakers from Dx3 who inspired attendees to take action in their digital strategies.
The first keynote of Dx3 was delivered by Neil Stevenson, Executive Portfolio Director at Palo Alto-based design and innovation consulting firm IDEO. A man fascinated by creativity, his role at IDEO indulges him in that fascination.
Although not simple, creativity, said Stevenson, is analogous to breathing; you take it in and give it out. As one might hack their own personal mechanisms through controlled breathing, like square breathing—breathe in, pause, breathe out, pause, and repeat—they can do the same with creativity—inspiration (breathe in), incubation (pause), expression (breathe out), reflection (pause).
According to Stevenson:
Inspiration: The easiest way to become inspired is by shifting your point of view. This can be done physically or mentally, and it doesn’t always have to be a happy occurancet. “We are routine machines and anything that can jog you out of routine is going to give you a feeling of inspiration,” said Stevenson.
Incubation: This is when you make sense of inspiration by asking questions like ‘why?’ You need to learn to pay attention to the quiet voice that bubbles up. As Stevenson said, “if you can stop and think about the why behind things, it takes you somewhere different.”
Expression: How you express ideas is the way in which you bring them to life. Getting ideas out into the world so people can work with them is the really interesting part. “Having super sh*t ideas is really important,” explained Stevenson. “Geniuses not only had more good ideas than everyone, they had more sh*t ideas than everyone too.”
Reflection: When you put an idea out, you need to pause and ask yourself how it’s landing with people. Focus groups are artificial and unnatural. “It’s about the realization that when you reflect on what you’ve created that’s when you gain the impetus to move onto the next thing.”
Creative people and organizations are always working to regulate that flow and no one stays in perfect balance for long. There’s always a need to pay attention to that balance.
Keynote Recap: The Store is Media
According to the Retail Prophet, it’s the most inspired time in retail. That was the message delivered by Doug Stephens during the second keynote at Dx3 2016.
Some people think retail is dead, falling victim to software. The truth is: e-commerce growth is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, we are only at the end of the beginning of e-commerce.
“Going forward, thanks to technologies like augmented and virtual reality and the Internet of things, I believe we’ll see the online experience become more immersive, sensory and connected,” said Stephens. “This will drive even more astonishing levels of e-commerce growth.”
The Internet is becoming more physical. There are more connected devices than ever, and we’re not far off from a time where we’ll be able to download IPs and 3D print Nike shoes from the comfort of our own home. And sure, we’re seeing old traditional brands like Walmart increasingly downsize and close their stores. But that doesn’t mean e-commerce killed retail. If retail’s dead, why did Amazon recently open a bookstore? Because we don’t shop just to acquire stuff. We do it because it’s fun.
“In a world where anything I want can be on my doorstep with three taps of a smartphone, the shopping experience is the only remaining differentiator,” said Stephens.
And that calls into question the purpose of the conventional store. It’s not as simple as when e-commerce grows, bricks and mortar die. It’s that now with unlimited online inventory readily available to consumers at any time, the responsibility of the store is being taken over by media. The old rules are out the window. Before, advertising and media required stores to have products ready to go, to facilitate the transaction. Now, media is the store because you can buy directly from YouTube videos, sound clips and digital magazines.
“Stores must now become powerful media channels to drive brand awareness and product desire,” said Stephens. “Instead of the store being the end point in the journey, it’s now the starting point.”
Retail is now less about product and more about production value, less about clerks and more about AI and robotics like Pepper the robot. Set design, product and people, retail’s more immersive, and it needs to be more ephemeral, more moving, more fluid and things should always be changing. It’s the most inspired time in retail. And every single brand has the opportunity to be remarkable.