Devdutt PattanaikGuest Author

Experiences – Not Products

By | Devdutt Pattanaik |Mythologist, Author, Illustrator, Speaker
Future-ExperienceI am at the Adobe Summit 2018 and there is only one phrase I keep hearing from everyone. The future is all about experiences. Shantanu Narayen, CEO of the company says, “People buy experiences – not products”. What are companies doing to create a great experience for their customers?

Designing experiences

Experiences matter

I have traveled for 22 hours from India to US only to discover that my suitcase is missing in action. The airlines staff suggests that I buy the bare minimum stuff to get by for a day and then check. I am told what Delta Air Lines does. They message you as soon as your suitcase is loaded on to the flight. In retrospect, isn’t that what every airline should be doing for every passenger? Delta passengers can track their checked bags on the Fly Delta mobile app, which in addition to helping passengers book and check in for flights, now has a tool to monitor the location of and even get GPS updates from checked bags.

When a candidate applies for a role in the company, could the potential employer treat every application the way Delta treats every piece of the customer’s baggage? leverage technology to give a daily status update. To the hiring team, that is one of the many roles they are working on. But for the candidate it is all about their career.


Step into the consumers shoes

Start with design

Design is not how it looks. It is how it functions and the feeling it generates in the user. When creativity is combined with purpose and empathy, the result is magical. In case of Airbnb, having a CEO who is a trained designer is a great advantage. Design is a way of going from the current state to the future state. To do that spend the time and the effort to understand the needs of the person you’re designing for.

When the employer decides on the benefits policies, the starting point must be to understand what matters the most to the individual employee. Knowing that several of the employees are dog lovers can be a great trigger to create a policy of allowing employees to bring their dog to work. That policy can stop the flight risk of a talented employee because your competitor does not have such a policy.

Reimagine the organization

future-experienceDigital tech allows the organization to hyper-personalize the experience of its consumers. Marriott became the first hotel company to offer Mobile Check-in/Checkout and Mobile Room Ready Alerts worldwide in 2014. Guests can use the mobile app to open their rooms, request upgrades or late-checkouts. Imagine the possibilities of rethinking the employee experience in tech enabled world.

Most organizations have been created to operate and shine in the analogue world. They often treat digital transformation like a IT systems upgrade. That is why they focus on the return on investment on technology rather than on investing in their human capital.

It is sobering to note that companies go from being leaders (Motorola or Nokia or Blackberry) to being forgotten in 2-3 years. The challenge is not in the technology. It is in the mindset.


Disclosure: I am attending The Adobe Summit 2018 as a guest of Adobe. Views are my own.

Join me on Twitter @AbhijitBhaduri or on LinkedIn


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