“Experience Thinking” is a social approach to design

By Anne Asensio, Vice President, Design, Dassault Systèmes

Experience Thinking relies on collective imagination and a common vision.

For the designer, the world is seen as a project, not a mere object as it is in science, allowing the designer to place people at the center. This is why, innovation brought by design exceeds the capacity brought solely through technology because it integrates the social and cultural.

Faced with the acceleration and continuous emergence of technologies, the main question is no longer the quantity or quality of innovation, but how technologies are adopted. Especially with the fluidity of usage, immediacy and availability, we see the emergence of what is called the collaborative economy, collaborative consumption, and the sharing economy. This economy will require more intelligence to be incorporated into the conceptualization of experience. Design ultimately gives meaning to the innovation at hand, beginning with a quasi-systematic questioning of the WHY?  and WHY NOT?, before the HOW? of the design project’s aim.

Experience Thinking will manifest with individuals, humans, and a social approach to design.

Designers are no longer designing objects or products, but experiences. The relevant ecosystem of actors in conceptualization has suddenly become considerably larger, more open and complex. The porosity of the borders between the roles of the creator and consumer, or designers and users, is questioned. Becoming more and more social, design is connecting both with the user and all stakeholders of the experience across the different disciplines.The classic archetypal figure of the designer who designs everyday objects, in his or her personal way, is disappearing. In the Age of Experience, the designer is plural. He or she works as a team, ; they are one of several actors of the concept; with engineers, scientists, experts of all stripes. Their role is to socialize industry’s products, which are made of everyday objects, their services, and more importantly, profound and lasting experiences. Design sets a social conscience context.

The multiplicity of Experience Thinking

Design in the Age of Experience is intensely co-creative and participative, enabling ideas, talents and intelligence to come from all the members across a multi-disciplinary ecosystem. All these elements come together in the paradigm of community based design. These new communities or ecosystems foster freedom and contribution from all individual members. In this modern form of tribalism, members identify through emotion, shared interests and common objectives.

These communities of the Age of Experience are open, welcoming new ideas and influences; interlink, exposing members to multiples groups and ideas; create strategies and make progress collectively; have members from across the ecosystem, so collaboration is genuine; are voluntary; bind around a common interest, with contribution dictated by our individual points of view, but looking to benefit the overall community…

The challenge for Design is to connect all the individual concepts, concerns and insights that come forth through these social communities and ecosystems to craft relevant, meaningful, personalized experiences. The technologies exist to capture and gather massive amounts of individual data, often in real time, from a multiplicity of users and contributors. For the designer, the task is less about presenting a single individual’s vision and more about capturing the relationship among all the data, express the meaning, and then crafting a beautiful emotional experience, . Design encourages all of us to think how all the conditions of the experiment integrate and adapt to the lifestyle of today and tomorrow. This is systemic and holistic.

In the Age of Experience, creating consumer engagement and loyalty are the most important attributes for sustainable innovation. And while it fulfills consumer, user needs, it presents businesses with monumental opportunities. This “hyper-proximity” through meaningful connection allows continuously growing the interaction with these communities and can lead to unforeseen advances, identifying hidden patterns, solving social challenges and unlocking solutions.

Such is the promise in the Age of Experience.

I will be at Dassault Systèmes’ Design in the Age of Experience on April 4-5 during Milan Design Week. Over 400 designers, engineers, users and industry leaders are expected to join us from around the world. I would love to meet you there and share ideas for the Age of Experience.

See the event website for details.

Anne Asensio

Anne Asensio

VP Design Experience at Dassault Systemes
Over the past 30 years I have enjoyed conducting innovative and holistic global projects with talented people from all horizons and cultures. My experience in design innovation, advanced design, design research, and brand building has allowed me to help design and business leaders establish the right environment for innovation, successfully running systemic and complex initiatives to design the future. I strongly believe in 3D and virtual universes as a new language for human creativity and innovativeness. It’s the driving force behind the choice I made to work at Dassault Systèmes and the foundation of our vision.
Anne Asensio