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Iteration vs Disruption: Designing for a Great Customer Experience

For Comcast Studio Xfinity's new flagship in Washington, D.C., Gensler created an engaging experiential brand program that informed the store's interior design and created a warm, social, and inviting environment. Image © Chris Leonard.

What does innovation even mean anymore? For the past decade, at least, innovation has been a catch-all for that ‘special sauce’ that gets companies to act first on the newest technologies or the newest market opportunities. When most retailers are talking about innovation, they are typically just talking about iteration. For retailers, iteration translates to arming employees with iPads, relocating the cash wrap, updating spaces with new paint—in other words, refreshing an experience that from the consumer’s perspective is essentially the same. This is a reactive response for how to solve for today, not a proactive solution for how to solve for the future. To be truly innovative, retailers should be talking about disruption, not iteration.

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How Authenticity and Locality Shaped The Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya 

The Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya. Image © Hufton and Crow.

With a design concept developed around a regional architectural tradition, the Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya brings a new level of luxury to Kuwait City’s skyline for one of the world’s most renowned hospitality brands, yet it has a distinctly Kuwaiti feel. The new hotel, which recently was named the 2018 MEED Hotel of the Year and one of Wallpaper*magazine’s striking structures around the globe for 2018, not only highlights the importance of authenticity in hospitality design, but also design’s power to shape and enhance the human experience.

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But First, Let Me Take a Selfie: Designing Sharable Moments

Environmental graphics at LinkedIn’s Silicon Valley headquarters are not just adding to the visuals within the space, they are positively cultivating an employee experience. Photo by Jasper Sanidad Photography.

Selfies. Photo-ops. Instagram walls. We’ve all heard of these moments and have been on the lookout for opportunities in our everyday experiences. As our lives become more digitally connected with social media apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, there is not a moment we spend uninterrupted by the desire to post something unique or exciting. This leads to an ever-growing demand for photo opportunities to share. The concept of “selfie walls” has been around for years, but with their growing popularity they have begun to evolve and take on a life of their own.

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Is There a Future in Retail Banking? Part II

BankUnited defines itself as a Network Bank by creating a cohesive multifunctional environment that integrates meeting and event space with traditional banking functions. Photo © Christopher Payne.

The bank should be about human interactions, not transactions. When talking about shopping and brand loyalty, Gen Z is looking for real, authentic experiences… and these can’t happen online without forging relationships. With the greatest intergenerational transition of wealth in U.S. history anticipated, your bank brand needs to focus on connecting with these young generations. And it better respond quickly if you want to be on the forefront consumers’ minds.

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Is There a Future in Retail Banking? Part I

In this retail bank, concierge style service desks allow service professionals to have a one-on-one meeting with clients that feels personalized to their needs, rather than a long, transaction-oriented teller line. Photo (C)Tim Griffith.

When I tell my friends that I’m a retail designer they get excited… assuming I’m working on an exciting NYC flagship store or a top name clothing brand. When I say I focus on retail banking I’m greeted with a raised eyebrow. The most common phrase I hear is, “Who even goes to the bank anymore?”

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