So often when we think about innovation, we instantly jump to the notion that everything needs to be high tech. Consumers today are looking for rich content and experiences that take their interactions with brands to the next level. Life is no longer about 3D. Now, weâ€™re talking about 5D. At the same time, one growing trend weâ€™ve seen more of lately, is a return to humble materials, a resurgence of real-life experiences, a focus on physicality, and a â€śback to basicsâ€ť movement of sorts.
We often work with our clients to think about the impact that technology and the notion of â€ś5Dâ€ť has on their worlds and their consumers. But it can be just as interesting to look through the lens of the low tech in creating really impactful experiences for audiences. Here are a few examples of ultra-rich â€ślow techâ€ť experiences, recently dug up by Kalyn Ryan, who keeps me honest when it comes to being hip and in the know, here in the Innovation group:
- Plus One Berlin â€“ A new service where guests can book a stand-alone room in Berlinâ€™s KreuzkĂ¶lln neighborhood, but also can connect with a local resident for advice and personalized experiences. When you book your room, you choose from 28 locals who you can hang out with while in Berlin for a non-touristy view of the city. Forget spending hours on websites and mobile apps trying to plan your tripâ€”instead, talk directly to a person who knows the city inside and out for a completely unique experience.
(Image from Fodors.com)
- Pop-up Libraries Take Manhattan â€“ This is a fun, new phenomenon that has hit Manhattan, compliments of architect John Locke. Locke took note of all of the unused payphones around the city and started turning them into pop-up libraries complete with shelves of books for New Yorkers to read. It definitely makes an interesting statement about the speed with which technology takes over our world and how quickly a medium can become obsolete. I guess it was too expensive to line those shelves with E-Readers?
(Image from travelettes.net)
- FabCafe â€“ I love Shibuya in Tokyo and hereâ€™s just another reason why. FabCafe is a new cafĂ© that is keeping its patrons occupied while they wait for their food by letting them use a laser-cutting machine. Itâ€™s so completely random but also pretty genius, and really takes the notion of the â€ścoffee shop as the third spaceâ€ť to the next level. Walk in for a coffee. Walk out with a full stomach and a 3-D object youâ€™ve made yourself. Definitely an experience that a consumer will remember, and one that is very targeted towards a specific type of person.
All of these examples have some very strong commonalities. They create powerful experiences for those involved. They are completely unexpected and cause people to view their worlds differently. By all senses of the word, Iâ€™d describe all of these examples as very innovative, and yet they donâ€™t rely on technology (for the most part!).Â As innovators, I think we can borrow from these examples as we think about what truly creates breakthrough change. I think technology is a huge piece of innovation and progress, but I also think there is a time and a place to remove it from the equation. For this is when we sometimes stretch our thinking, and our experiences, the most, and can really change the game.
Amy Meyer, Sterling Inovation