After a glamorous evening at the New York Public Library, the first full day of the Design Leadership Summit (DLS) kicked off at the Frank Gehry designed headquarters of internet company IAC with a dense program focused on technology and design. Speakers included Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Ron Croen, Mikko Martikainen, Jean-Francois Chianetta, Alexander Gorlin, and Jay Walker.
Josh Liberson, VP, Creative at One Kings Lane, introduced the first topic, which covered the future of technology in design, how technology is acting as a bridge between the designer and consumer and how all of it helps people to “connect” with one another.
Liverson introduced Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, CEO and founder of Joyus, who discussed ecommerce and how the online shopping experience is changing.
She said a successful commerce model covers three key areas: trust and curation, value and ease, and entertainment and experience. She also outlined major trends making an impact in the world of ecommerce:
Sukhinder Singh Cassidy
• Online videos make an emotional connection with the consumer and create a sense of trust. Story telling becomes story selling.
• Lean back commerce allows customers to sit back, relax and let you serve them. They want to be taken care of while shopping.
• Pure play brands tell it like it is. A good company with a good story resonates with people.
• Consumers want to see everything that's available to them in once place at one time and have it be accessible anywhere.
• ‘Showrooming’ is happening both ways: Customers see something in a showroom and purchase it online at a lower price, but the reverse is also happening. Opacity will completely go away because the customer is so savvy.
• Retailers and showroom owners can no longer think of the showroom consumer and the online consumer as two different people. Keeping them in separate lanes is a generation old way of thinking of retail. They are one and the same. Therefore, it’s important for a brand to be present across multiple platforms, giving the consumer multiple places to reach you.
• Consumers like to see personalization and “recommended for you” while they are shopping. It creates a sense of surprise, delight and serendipity.
Cassidy also explained the necessity of “fremium” in the marketplace. Consumers expect to see something for free, and if they like it they will be enticed to buy.
“Know your customer” was a key point Cassidy stressed. Use Google Analytics to track who is coming to your site, when, where, why and how. “It’s a must-have,” she said. “The consumer knows so much about you already, and this will tell you about her.”
The next speaker was Ron Croen, CEO and founder of interactive video company Vilio. He started off by asking the audience: “The technology is there, how are you going to use it?”
Croen said creating a video experience for your client may not be enough; consumers want to feel even more connected. He gave examples such as Siri and “Talk to Esquire,” where men can ask questions to style gurus and have them return answers to them in real time. “It’s immersive and it’s human,” he explained. “It creates a relationship and that is important.”
Continuing with the idea of creating an augmented reality for clients, young entrepreneur Mikko Martikainen who created Sayduck, introduced the app, which bridges the gap between online and offline.
With the Sayduck app a designer can scan a photo tracker that represents a piece of furniture, for example, and it will place the virtual item in the room in 3D allowing the consumer to move it around and try different colors and styles.
According to a survey, 50% of Sayduck users said they would feel confident buying the product having seen it on the app and not in stores.
With a similar vision, Jean-Francois Chianetta presented his Augment app, which allows users to upload an architectural models, for example, and view it in full-scale as though they were actually walking throughout the structure.
Next, attendees enjoyed a “moment of inspiration” from architect and designer Alexander Gorlin who took the audience through his inspiration for his recently published book Kabbalah in Art and Architecture, published by the Pointed Leaf Press. He shared images of synagogues he designed as well as art pieces that showcased light and the void of light.
To close out the technology lectures of the day, chairman of TEDMED Jay Walker discussed the future of technology and design with one word: Data.
“Over the past 50 years, everyone was concerned with electricity, oil, keeping warm and keeping the lights on. But in the next 50 years where are we going to be?” he challenged.
Control and manipulation of data is the future, he projected. “But not data to control the outside world, but rather the biological world. The big news is that soon we will be able to control the black box that is ourselves. It turns out we are all just fancy data machines.”
“Things” coming out of factories and anything that looks like a factory setting will be obsolete, Walker projected. “People don’t want things anymore, they want connectivity and to be social,” he said. “If you give the younger generation a computer, an Internet connection and a few things, they will be happy.”
Walker explained that good health requires lymph to be actively circulating in the body, and that lymph is frozen when humans are sitting. As such, he believes sitting will be considered the new smoking. “Chairs are one of the most important and iconic furniture pieces in design, but soon enough they won’t be in existence, and designers will need to design according to the physical needs of the human race.”
Each table was asked to chat about the impact technology is having currently on their company. Some key points from these discussions included:
• Being able to send and receive information more quickly frees up a lot of personal time, and designers are able to take on more work.
• Technology allows designers to be more efficient by breaking the traditional boundaries of space and time. Designers don’t always need to physically meet with a client, but they are always accessible.
• The client is becoming an expert and is extremely savvy, so the designer must keep up.
• No matter what products a client can source online, he or she doesn’t have access to your brain… yet. Find ways to show people the value of your knowledge.
Continue to check back for more coverage of the DLN Summit coming each day this week. Related articles: DLS Recap: Sir Norman Foster and Paul Goldberger