My latest interactions column (written with Stokes Jones, Principal of Lodestar) On Authenticity has just been published.
While in Las Vegas for the first time a number of years ago, we had occasion to visit the Las Vegas Hilton where “Star Trek: The Experience” was operating. The immersive “themed attraction” spilled over into a cafe (Quark’s Bar and Restaurant) and shopping area both modeled after the TV show “Star Trek: Deep Space 9.” This led to slightly dissonant sights, such as an Andorian sitting at a table hawking credit card offers, where the free gift was a plastic sports bottle topped with an Andorian head. As we strolled through the Deep Space 9 Promenade, we came upon two Klingons. Of course, it was two actors portraying Klingons, but let’s set that important difference aside for a moment. They were chatting with tourists and posing for pictures. Eagerly waiting for his moment was a young boy with Down’s Syndrome, wearing a James T. Kirk T-shirt. (Some quick backstory: In the lore of “Star Trek,” Kirk and the Klingons were enemies.) As these two Klingons chatted with the boy and posed for a picture with him, the actors delivered a magical experience as they maintained character and gruffly acknowledged (just gruffly enough) the boy’s T-shirt and what it represented to them. They found a way to be kind to a vulnerable person while not destroying what he was there to appreciate: the essence of their Klingon-ness, their “Star Trek”-ness. Given that we were in Vegas, where a veneer of grandiosity often stands in for authenticity, this was a touching and impressive moment.
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Last spring I spoke about authenticity with the University of Oregon’s Contemporary Design class. I’d like to find other groups who would be interested in this presentation. To give you a little taste, we put together this quickie highlight from the talk:
Please get in touch if your organization would be interested in our interactive presentation on Creating Authentic Product Experiences.
Previous articles also available upon request:
- Persona Non Grata
- Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me
- The Journey Is The Reward
- Hold Your Horses
- Living In The Overlap
- Some Different Approaches to Making Stuff
- Poets, Priests, and Politicians
- Interacting with Advertising
- Ships in the Night (Part I): Design Without Research?
- Ships in the Night (Part II): Research Without Design?
- We Are Living in a Sci-Fi World
- The Hard Work Lies Ahead (If You Want It)
- What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting It
- Elevator Pitch
- Kilroy Was Here
- Never Eat Anything Raw
- Content, the Once and Future King