Being in the events industry, I constantly ponder about the relationship between innovation and experience. At events, we create experiences for guests, for speakers, and for our clients - but how innovative we can be is always tied to the needs of our clients, the objectives of the event, and of course, budget.
A while back, I was invited by the PIXEL team to moderate an innovation track panel at SG:D Industry Day and I said yes, count me in! It was a great opportunity to sit with some of the coolest people in the industry, namely the brain behind Bus Uncle Company, Abhilash Murthy (“Bus Uncle” himself), the super down-to-earth Khai Seng of Foolproof, a leading UX/UI agency, and cool Althea Lim from Gushcloud, our social media influencer guru, and the creative VR expert Ashima Thomas of Warrior9 VR.
These leaders, I won’t call them “thought-leaders” because they’re not just spouting ideas and philosophies, they’re actually on the ground, doing the work, making magic happen It was inspiring and exciting to hear the things they thought, and the things they do.
Here are some of the takeaways I had on this panel, where we discussed the relationship between customer-centricity and innovation, and how the tech industry is maneuvering this:
- This first thing in being “customer centric” is doing research, a lot a lot of research - collect data and analyse it - only when we know what’s going on out there, we can create something for that in here;
- Next, understand and truly embrace that what you do or sell is not central to your customers’ lives (they have a lot of other things going on okay?);
- Technology is a tool, not the focus - tech such as AI and VR are only complementary to the service you provide, the experience you’re creating, the story you’re telling - use it to do all these;
- So much content is available in the digital space, to truly stand out, you have to keep experimenting and adapting;
- Having a personality matters - Gushcloud’s influencers carve out a niche for themselves to further connect with their audiences and followers, and Bus Uncle’s AI personality developed over time to become the uncle you tell your problems to, to engage with, not just an uncle who tells you when the next bus is arriving;
- Thus, user experience is a two-way street: value is created on both ends when the user brings their needs and desire and you bring fulfillment;
- And finally, stay humble. Humility goes a long way to continuously improving the experience you’re providing.
At the end of day, if we’re innovating but not listening and adapting, engaging or understanding, then your innovation is not going to reach the right people.
It also takes collective effort to innovate meaningfully, and together we can do a lot more great work. I hope to continue working with such interesting action leaders, to innovate in a humble, customer-centric way, using our events as a platform for experiences.
Visit the PIXEL innovation space at OneNorth to check out their media, tech, and design capabilities, and how they engage startups in collaborative creations.